Curious Facts: Can Chickens Hatch Quail Eggs?

can chickens hatch quail eggs

If you’re a poultry enthusiast, you may have wondered whether chickens can hatch quail eggs. It’s a curious question, and the answer isn’t as straightforward as you may think. In this section, we’ll explore the intricacies of chicken hatching behavior and discuss the possibility of using chickens as surrogate mothers for quail eggs.

Raising chickens to hatch quail eggs can be an exciting possibility, but it’s essential to understand the natural hatching process of chickens and the challenges of raising quails alongside chickens. Therefore, we’ll dive into the specific role chickens can play in hatching quail eggs and the key considerations for successful hatching.

Overall, this section will provide you with the knowledge to make informed decisions about whether chickens can successfully hatch quail eggs and explore the potential of using chickens as surrogate mothers for quail eggs.

The Natural Hatching Process of Chickens

Chickens have an innate hatching instinct, which can be observed during their brooding period, typically lasting around 21 days. During this time, the chicken will sit on her eggs, keeping them warm and turning them regularly to ensure even heat distribution. This behavior is vital for the development of the embryo inside the egg.

Most importantly, the chicken emits heat to keep the eggs at a consistent temperature of around 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps the embryo to develop correctly, and it’s this warmth that is so important in the hatching process.

But what about quail eggs? Can chickens successfully hatch them? Well, the concept of using a chicken as a surrogate mother for quail eggs is not a new one. Chickens can technically incubate quail eggs, but the process isn’t always straightforward, and there are a few things to consider before attempting it.

The Challenges

First and foremost, quail eggs are much smaller than chicken eggs. This size difference means that chickens may not be able to provide the necessary warmth and care required for successful hatching. Additionally, quail eggs have a slightly shorter incubation period compared to chicken eggs, meaning that the chicken may not sit on the eggs for long enough to ensure proper development.

Another challenge is the difference in ideal humidity levels for the two types of eggs. Quail eggs require higher humidity levels than chicken eggs, which may not be suitable for chickens.

Despite these challenges, many people have successfully hatched quail eggs using chickens as surrogate mothers. It’s essential to remember that each situation is unique, and it’s crucial to monitor the eggs closely and adjust the conditions accordingly.

So, Can Chickens Incubate Quail Eggs?

The short answer is yes; chickens can incubate quail eggs. However, the success of the hatching process is dependent on several factors, including temperature, humidity, and the chicken’s ability to provide the necessary care and warmth required for the eggs’ development.

If you’re considering hatching quail eggs with chickens, it’s essential to keep these challenges in mind and monitor the process closely. With the proper care and attention, you may be able to successfully hatch quail eggs using a chicken as a surrogate mother.

Raising Quails with Chickens: Potential Challenges

While it’s possible for chickens to serve as surrogate mothers to quail eggs, raising quails alongside chickens may present some challenges. Quails and chickens have different care requirements, and the two species may not always get along. Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking of raising quails with chickens:

Differences in Care Requirements

Quails and chickens have differences in their care requirements. For example, quail chicks require a higher protein diet than chicken chicks do. Additionally, quails need a different kind of bedding than chickens, as they tend to be more sensitive to humidity. It’s essential to keep these differences in mind and provide the necessary care for both species.

Compatibility between Quails and Chickens

Quails and chickens may not always get along. Chickens can be more aggressive than quails, and they may attack their smaller counterparts. It’s crucial to ensure that the living conditions are appropriate for both species, and that there is enough space for them to coexist peacefully.

Natural Hatching of Quail Eggs by Chickens

While it’s possible for chickens to hatch quail eggs, it’s not always a natural process. Chickens have evolved to incubate and hatch chicken eggs, and their instincts may not extend to quail eggs. Additionally, the size difference between chicken and quail eggs can make it challenging for chickens to provide the necessary warmth and care for quail eggs to hatch successfully.

Overall, raising quails with chickens is possible, but it requires careful consideration of the differences in care requirements and compatibility between the two species. If you’re planning to use chickens as surrogate mothers for quail eggs, it’s essential to understand the potential challenges and limitations of this process.

Mixed Breed Eggs and Hatching

If you’re a poultry enthusiast, you might be wondering about the potential outcomes of hatching mixed breed eggs. While the possibilities may seem exciting, it’s essential to understand the challenges that come with mixed breed hatching.

When it comes to chickens, hatching mixed breed eggs is commonly done. However, the process may not be as straightforward with quail eggs. It’s essential to understand the differences in the incubation requirements for quail and chickens before attempting to hatch mixed breed eggs.

While chickens can successfully hatch mixed breed eggs, it’s uncertain whether the same principles can be applied to quail eggs. Any attempt to hatch mixed breed quail and chicken eggs can be challenging, and without proper care and attention, the success rate can be low.

The Role of Chickens in Hatching Quail Eggs

Chickens have been known to exhibit unique maternal instincts and have been used to hatch eggs of various species, including quail eggs. The process of using chickens as surrogate mothers for quail eggs is known as cross-fostering, and it involves placing quail eggs under chickens for hatching.

While chickens are capable of hatching quail eggs, it’s important to note that not all chickens will be successful as surrogate mothers. Bantam breeds, for example, tend to be more nurturing and attentive to eggs and chicks, making them more suitable for hatching quail eggs.

When using chickens to hatch quail eggs, it’s essential to ensure that the eggs are positioned correctly. Quail eggs are much smaller than chicken eggs, and therefore, require special care to prevent them from rolling away or getting crushed under the chicken. The use of an incubator is recommended before transfer to the chicken mother for hatching.

Another key consideration when using chickens as surrogate mothers for quail eggs is the difference in care requirements between chickens and quails. Quail chicks, for example, require a higher protein diet than chicken chicks, and their water and food sources need to be of a different type than those of a chicken chick.


Chickens can successfully hatch quail eggs, provided they are of the right breed and are provided with the necessary care and attention required for hatching quail eggs. If you’re considering using chickens as surrogate mothers for quail eggs, it’s important to understand the unique aspects of this process and to ensure that all necessary care requirements are met.

Considerations for Successful Hatching

When attempting to hatch quail eggs with chickens, there are several key considerations to keep in mind to increase your chances of success.


Temperature is critical to the development of quail eggs, and maintaining a consistent temperature is essential to successful hatching. The optimal incubation temperature for quail eggs is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s crucial to maintain this temperature throughout the incubation period.


Humidity is another critical factor to keep in mind when incubating quail eggs. The ideal humidity for quail eggs is between 50 and 60 percent. It’s essential to monitor and maintain humidity levels throughout the incubation period to ensure proper egg development.

Proper Egg Handling

Egg handling is crucial to successful hatching. Carefully examine all quail eggs before placing them in the incubator, discarding any damaged or cracked eggs. Store the eggs in a cool, dry place before incubation and make sure to handle them gently to avoid damaging the shell. During incubation, be careful when turning the eggs and avoid jostling or disturbing them.


Cleanliness is critical when it comes to successful hatching. Make sure your incubator is clean and sterilized before use, and maintain a clean environment throughout the incubation period. This can help reduce the risk of bacterial infection and improve the chance of a healthy hatch.


Finally, patience is essential when incubating quail eggs. It takes around 16 to 18 days for quail eggs to hatch, so resist the temptation to check on the eggs too frequently. Allow the eggs to develop without disruption and avoid opening the incubator unnecessarily.

By keeping these considerations in mind, you can increase your chances of successful hatching when attempting to hatch quail eggs with the help of chickens.

Conclusion: Can Chickens Hatch Quail Eggs?

So, the big question remains: Can chickens hatch quail eggs? The answer is yes, chickens can potentially act as surrogate mothers for quail eggs. However, as discussed throughout this article, there are several factors to consider before attempting to hatch quail eggs using chickens.

The Role of Chickens

Chickens can provide the necessary warmth and incubation required for quail eggs to hatch successfully. As social animals, they also exhibit maternal instincts, making them suitable candidates for raising quail chicks alongside their own offspring.

Considerations for Success

To ensure success, maintaining proper temperature, humidity, and cleanliness is key. It’s essential to handle quail eggs carefully, as their shells are thinner and more delicate than chicken eggs. Additionally, it’s important to understand the differences in care required for quails and chickens and to take precautions to prevent disease transmission between the two species.


In conclusion, while chickens can act as surrogate mothers for quail eggs, it’s important to carefully consider the challenges and potential risks. However, if done correctly, hatching quail eggs with the help of chickens can be a rewarding and exciting endeavor.

So, if you’re interested in raising quails and considering using chickens as surrogate mothers, remember to do your research, take appropriate precautions, and enjoy the experience!

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