How to float test quail eggs

Well it’s been 21 days and any chicks that should have hatched should be out by now. Before we start the scrambled eggs, I wanted to make sure that we are right to give up on the eggs left.

The best way, at this point in time, to see if the eggs are still viable/alive, is to float them in water. The water must be exactly the same temperature as the air in your incubator otherwise you will chill and kill any unhatched chicks. Each egg is carefully lowered into the water. The results are as follows:

  1. If it sinks, it never had a chance.
  2. If it floats high in the water, it is mainly air and not viable.
  3. If it floats low, viable egg.
  4. If it floats and moves, viable egg with a chick wondering who threw it overboard.

Of the 19 remaining quail eggs, one floated high and the rest floated low. So as it stands 18 are viable with a slim chance of hatching at this late a date. Each egg was patted dry and quickly placed back in the incubator. The final 18 have until tomorrow morning. After that the incubator goes cold and the necropsy will be completed in the evening. Don’t worry, I won’t post photos of that.

6 thoughts on “How to float test quail eggs

  1. Do you have to wait to do this after you think they should have hatched or can you do it to test if they are about ready/how old they are? I do not know how old my eggs are and need to find out.

    • Assuming you are incubating coturnix quail eggs, you should only do a float test as a last resort after day 21 to see if any eggs are still viable. Float testing as described here is to check for viability, not to estimate age of eggs. Best bet is to just keep incubating until day 24, then give up.

Thoughts?