Breeding Cycles and Hatchlings

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The Quakers normal cycle (once they begin breeding) is for the hen to lay one egg every other day until she has laid anywhere from four to eight eggs. (How the number of eggs to be laid is determined, I have no idea, and the number changes seemingly at random!) One major complication at this stage can be egg binding in the female,. Chances of this can be greatly reduced if the hen is fed a proper calcium rich or pelleted diet.

If this does occur, calcium supplements such as Avimin or NeoCalGlucon can be placed directly in the beak of the hen. A more primitive solution consists of holding the female’s abdomen in lukewarm water for 5-10 minutes to relax the muscles allowing passage of the egg.

With the laying of the second or third egg, the pair begins incubation which lasts anywhere from 24 to 28 days, with the male sitting on the eggs and taking part in the process just as much as the female! Quakers sometimes know instinctively when an egg is bad and will push it out of the way, ignoring it. How they perceive this is unknown, but one way for breeders to determine if an egg is viable is to use a probe light, or Candler. This is an aviculturists tool used to check eggs to determine if they are fertile, infertile or even cracked and to check the development and age of the embryo.

The tool should have a narrow cool beam and be portable. Candling should be done in dim light or in the dark so that only the light passing through the shell is observed. The translucency of white shelled eggs allows candling, with smaller eggs being more translucent since they have thinner shells. Use of a chandler can find slightly damaged eggs that contain hairline cracks that cannot be seen by the naked eye.

If you notice eggs that have a hairline crack, you can repair them by applying a thin coat of Elmer’s or school Glue. A Larger crack can be repaired by placing a tiny piece of unscented tissue over it and then applying a couple coats of glue. Wait at least 1 hour between applications. Only spread the glue over the crack and not the whole egg so the shell can still breathe. I have heard of some people using nail polish as well.

You should wait at least 5 days after the last egg was laid before candling to determine whether they are fertile. If the egg is fertile and has been incubated for only about 5 days you will see definite opacities along with a web of red blood vessels. In a egg that has been incubated for a longer period, the inside will appear more completely filled. It will be dark and fairly hard to see through. At this stage, you will be able to see the air pocket as it becomes larger in the wide end of the egg., where the chick will pop and emerge.


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