Hatching Your Own Quail With an At-Home-Kit

Photos by Anastasia Murphy

Setting up the hatching kit is fun, especially for kids.
Setting up the hatching kit is fun, especially for kids.

Quail breeder Linda Easton of GullyRumpus Farm in North Highlands and her partner, chicken expert Wendee Miller of Featherbaby Farm in Shingle Springs, have hatched a great idea for an interesting, educational activity for families. The duo’s new Hatching at Home program is a fun and innovative way for people of all ages to play mother hen.

Both women have backgrounds in early childhood education and know how egg incubation — and baby chicks — fascinate children. Easton’s itty-bitty quail eggs are a beautiful turquoise blue, but Miller also offers colorful eggs from nine different specialty chicken breeds.

“The quail grow so fast!” Easton says, while holding a chick. “This little guy is only four days old and already has its first wing feathers.”

Designed originally for the classroom, the four-week program allows participants to incubate eggs and watch them hatch. A dozen Japanese quail eggs or seven chicken eggs fit into the domed incubator, which is about the size of an inverted salad bowl.

Fertilized quail eggs inside the incubator.
Fertilized quail eggs inside the incubator.

With many parents schooling their children during the pandemic, the Hatching at Home program proved to work well in the home setting, too. It’s also a good summer activity for farm-curious kids.

“It’s very simple,” Easton explains. “The incubator is automatic; you just turn it on.”

The rental kit costs $200 and includes fertilized eggs; a digital incubator; an egg candle to see the developing chick inside the shell; an easy-clean brooder box with bedding to house the baby chicks; a heating plate to keep them warm; a waterer, feeder, and food; and a hatching guide. The guide includes step-by-step photos and a how-to video.

“The egg candle is like a little flashlight to see the developing chick,” Easton says. “It’s a really cool experience.”

Quail chick beginning to hatch.

The chicks hatch in about three weeks, Easton says. “After they hatch, you watch the chicks grow for about a week, then bring them back to the farm. Or you can keep them if you like,” she says.

If you’re interested in renting a kit, you can pick one up, along with the eggs, at GullyRumpus Farm or Featherbaby Farm by appointment. Email any questions about the program to Easton at Linda@hatchingathome.com. Miller can answer questions about current chicken breeds available from her flock; email Wendee@hatchingathome.com

For details, visit Hatchingathome.com.