Quail egg turner

by SnakeJayd Oct 8, 2017
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Hi, I printed your project and made the rest perfectly but I used the Arduino nano with a 328 processor, but I can't get it started.
can you give me some advice?

It was day 18 yesterday out for the 6 eggs from Chinese supermarket (I checked for the Bullseye in embryo first and I only pick the large and glowing ones under torch). 4 made it to the hatch day and all 4 hatched on day 18 (2 in the morning and 2 at night). So it was a success, thanks for sharing your design online, I wouldn't have even attempted my own design other wise.

Amazing! Congrats!
Do you know what type they are?

I think it is Coturnix Quail but there are so many sub breeds, I hoping it may be a jumbo so I can have bigger eggs.

Now looking back at the "Albert the Chick" video and people video making comment of it. its seem funny to watch, those guy really don't know what they are talking about lol. The best way to see if you can hatch an egg from the supermarket is to crack few open and see. Also the storage temperature of the egg in store and expiry date on it.

I imagine they will lay eggs the same size as the eggs they came in?

Actually I dont really know if they are already jumbo size egg in the shop or not. But as long there are some female in these 4 chick I should get some egg. These 6 eggs was only meant to be a test to see if my home build incubator can maintain temp and humidity all the way. It was down to 4 about day 5-7 and I have 100% hatch out of these 4. I think smaller incubator/hatch may be easier as bigger space more uneven condition. I am glad i didn't get a full set of eggs in. Although my incubator is more than ready, the cages and living area isn't yet. When these four are ready to settle outside I would breed more and keep all the female for eggs. I ended up buying a turkey starter which is non medicated from a local supplier.

Nice. That makes sense

Just wonder what was the breed in your picture they seem to be all yellow chick, which white breed was that?

They were Texas A & M Coturnix.

This breed is quite rare in UK isnt it? Were you still in UK at the time?

Yep, not as common as some breeds. I managed to find some eggs on eBay.
Yes, it was in the UK.

They ship quite well.
I have had quite good hatch ratios buying online and having them posted to me in the UK.

They are interesting breed, have a interesting history too, a bit pricey egg though. I just order a double rabbit hutch and incubated 12 more super market egg. The tray wobble a bit as its turn due to the weight hope they will be fine. I think the Texas A & M Coturnix was genetically selection/modified from English white breed which is smaller. Next time I might try English white first from a Essex seller about £7 included postage for 12. Trying to keep this hobbies cost low haha. Texas A & M Coturnix may be a good investment if I want to resell the bird or egg locally to pay for all the bird feeds. However all the conturnix breed are nice too keep, easy to handle and kids friendly. They do eat like a dog though really messy eater, but I made a non waste feeder and its works great. Seeing these bird from egg turn to bird does have a calming effect to you from witnessing life as its begin from single cell on yolk.

Update: Actually it is the other way around: English White– Developed out of the Texas A&M but can vary more in color. Larger bird for meat production.

Yes, we love having animals and breeding and watching lifecycles etc.
It is great for kids to watch too.

I have complete my design. Although it look totally different, it was base off your design and using your code so I have listed as a Remix of yours and credited the code to you also. ;-)

I just had a look.
Great job!
Your design is so much simpler and more elegant.
I love that you just use the egg carton.
That is sort of what I am doing in my current design.
I am building one out of wood because I don't have access to a 3D Printer at the moment.
I have already changed my design on the actual wooden one that I made and am waiting for a strong metal geared servo from bangood.
But this is the design I had for my second one.
Similar idea to yours, but I will probably staple the egg boxes to the wood or something.

Thanks haha, took 2 prints to correct must error and still testing. I cant imagine I make it with wood, its like 5 times more hard work and need access with power tools and skill, you are brave! 3d Printer is wonderful thing though, only a matter of time till you will get another ;-) The Creality3D CR-10S look so tempting and have come down in price so much. I think only a matter of time till I will upgrade from my geeetech's Prusa i3 clone to that to print larger project.

I just have to finish the light bulb incubator before hatching some eggs. I may do a trial run with supermarket egg just for fun of it before getting some from ebay. When you were in UK what did you give your chicks for starter feed?

I think I ordered feed from Amazon.
This is the one I used for the adults:https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01B4YTHSG

The local feed store had lots of chicken starter feed, but no game-bird.
For the chicks, I think I ordered through a local poultry place. I only ended up needing a single bag of the starter feed.

I have looked up the Heygates brand as well, there is a re-seller about 20 mins drive away from me but I haven't make my way down yet as I have no quails yet. What did you give for starter as I know it needs to be high in protein? I want to breed for quail eggs.

I think I used a game bird starter mash. I got it from a local poultry place.
I don't remember the exact brand or name.
The one I got was medicated against coccidiosis, so you have to swap them onto layer mash for a couple of weeks before eating the eggs from them.
I didn't like the fact that it was medicated.
So when I get some starter here in Canada, I will get unmedicated.

How much do they eat for starter stage? A 15-20kg game bird starter crumb seem like a lot when I dont know if I would breed more soon. Do you remember how much starter did you actually go through with your 10 quails? Thanks

I think you can buy a small pack on eBay then. I remember seeing some around 1kg or 2kg, but they were a similar price to the massive bag anyway.
I am not sure how much you would need.
A whole bag lasted about 6 months or so for me of hatching about 30 or 40 in total

You are right, might as well pay double and get 10 times the amount and get more bird out of it. Appreciate for you idea and advice.

I like your idea with the servo as I already have the parts laying around, I am trying to adopt your servo idea into a simple tray design. I try out the code of your tinker cad screen shot. I can't seem to find the full code from your blog. The problem I am having is the servo is moving too fast, I am worry it may damage the egg. Your video seem the servo are moving slowly. Thanks

You are right, I didn't update it with the code.

Here is what I used

The 2 hour time delay is commented out and it is set to 3 seconds for debugging

#include <Servo.h>

Servo myservo;  // create servo object to control a servo
// twelve servo objects can be created on most boards

//int delayTime = 1000 * 60 * 60 * 2; // 2 hour delay
int delayTime = 1000 * 5; // 3 second delay

int pos = 0;    // variable to store the servo position

int servoMin = 45;

int servoMax = 135;

void setup() {
  myservo.attach(2);  // attaches the servo on pin 9 to the servo object

void moveSlowly(int from, int to, Servo servo) {
  int increment = 1;
  int current = from;
  if (from > to) { 
    increment = -1;
  while (current != to) {
    current = current + increment;

void loop() {
  moveSlowly(servoMax, servoMin, myservo);
  delay(delayTime); // wait delayTime
  moveSlowly(servoMin, servoMax, myservo);
  delay(delayTime); // wait delayTime

I tried this code and come up this error, Sorry I am no good at programming, just learning basic.

"3:35: error: 'Servo' has not been declared"

The Servo library might not be importing properly.

I don't have any my Arduinos left to test it out, sorry.
I had to get rid of them all when I moved countries.

It works now, now its moves nicely. I think I must have missed a step before uploading it, thanks for uploading the code.

I have finished my incubator, now I am testing the whole thing with temperature and humidity. I found a problem with the code. Which may be not a problem you have experienced as I think you might used a 32-bit board like Arduino Due and SAMD based boards. For Arduino Uno "int" stores a 16-bit (2-byte) value in range of -32,768 to 32,767 ms which mean up to 32 seconds. I have to change "int" to "unsigned long" for it to go over 32 seconds. I have tested it past 2 hours, now its moves as it should.

Actually, that sounds familiar.
Thanks for noting it.

I am still waiting on my Arduino and servo.
When they arrive I will test your suggestion and update the snippet. Thanks

I have replace the delayTime line with following 2 lines and its working great now.

unsigned long second = 1000L; //Notice the L
unsigned long delayTime = second 3; // 3 seconds delay testing mode * 7200 seconds for 2 hours

I picked 6 quail eggs from Chinese supermarket which I have crack up a couple to check for bulleyes for fertility before going ahead. One dried up on day 3 due to cracks on its shell. Its day 4 today the other 5 are developing fine. Which is quite a surprising fertility rate. One is a little behind in development than the other. It may be because my incubator is too small being only 6L, both side heat are not even enough. I wanted a plant propagator box but they were out of stock at Wilko, so I found this cheap storage box at Home Bargain and designed around it.

I have seen a few design like your on youtube but all of them use a stepper motor instead on servo. I think for quail eggs servo is fine, but my worries is when first start up the reposition movement is so violence, I have to remove the whole tray if I need to disconnect and reconnect the Arduino power. I am thinking I may design a tray for the quail egg that can be stack so the design can do 24 eggs instead of 12.

Nice! Thanks.
My new servo for my wooden one arrived a few days ago from Banggood and I will give your code a try on it.

I agree about the resetting part being violent.
Maybe I should add a pause button which returns it to 50% when pushed and then changes a light to let you know it is paused and then if you push again, the light goes off and it continues to where it was. And it can start from paused on startup.

The trick is, you don't know where it is supposed to start. The servo doesn't know where it is, it just knows where you are telling it to be.

Let me know if you have any suggestions on how to overcome this.

I have chicken eggs in a normal egg incubator that I borrowed from a friend because mine wasn't ready. But when I get my duck eggs, I will give mine a try. I have a beefy metal geared servo, so I am hoping it will work for my much heavier wooden tray.

I have search around, I think the only real solution is to have a slower speed servo but I dont think its exist. SG90 servo speed is about 60 degree turning in 0.1 second.

I think as the button option is the only other safe option but instead of 50% its go back to the reset point. Mine seem to go toward clockwise limit first then turn back anti-clockwise limit. If it start off at the clockwise limit position and its restarted it doesn't move. Problem is you still need to remember to press this button before turning off the power or reset.

Comments deleted.

Does this link work?


Thank you very much I will try this.

my printer has issues with big prints and it didn't want to print the base, so i remixed this into a modular form. might be a good solution if you just need 2 more holders...

I just saw your remix now.
I am looking forward to seeing what it looks like when you print it.

Started making this, do you have any tips on making the actual incubator?
I was thinking of using a styrofoam box, an Arduino, a dht22 sensor and a ceramic 5v heater, but i suck at coding so it might take a while... Especially since i want an lcd to show temperature and humidity.

I thought about making my own thermostat a few times.
Most of the time I found a cheap rubbish one on eBay for cheap enough.

What you are saying should work.

I imagine if you can get your temperature sensor reading properly and calibrated it would be good.

Then you just call for heat or not.

But the heat would probably be AC and you would want to control it with relays or similar.

It would be a fun project, but I was never motivated enough to do it.

The styrofoam box idea sounds good.

The ceramic heaters i found were suitable for either AC or DC, i'm hoping to fit everything on 1 arduino, but i'll buy a second one if needed.

Nice! You would probably want something like a relay or H-bridge anyway so that all that current is not going directly through the Arduino.

i have been looking around for possibilities, i should safely be able to get up to 1000 milliampere from the 5 volt connector on the arduino, the heaters use 400 milliampere, so unless servo's use more than 500 milliampere at the same time the heater is on it should be fine. the heaters should be able to reach 70 degrees celsius, so they won't be on constantly.

I am scared of how much current heaters use, but your math makes sense. Let me know how it goes.

Can you control two of these trays with one arduino?

Yes. I would just split the signal out from the arduino to both servos or if you want to be fancy send each servo a different signal duplicate the servo object in arduino and do the same to both.

Link to your blog?