Embryonic development of quail eggs (Coturnix coturnix japonica) in a homemade incubator


morphology, embryo, incubation, Brazilian Amazon region.

How to Cite

Morini, A. C., dos Santos, G. C., de Oliveira, R. T., Farias, T. S., Batista, A. A. L., & da Silva, A. do S. L. (2023). Embryonic development of quail eggs (Coturnix coturnix japonica) in a homemade incubator. Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Medicine, 45, e004322. https://doi.org/10.29374/2527-2179.bjvm004322


Knowledge of the embryonic development of species such as quail is important for our understanding of its production and reproduction. Quail provides a practical solution to the animal protein shortage problem in developing countries and is an excellent alternative to chicken (Shanaway, 1994). This study evaluated quail embryonic viability by comparing the main morphological changes that occur over the development in a homemade incubator with previous data; the incubator was built using easily accessible and low-cost materials, which allows small producers and communities to develop quail farms as an activity to increase income or even produce a source of animal protein for the community in the Brazilian Amazon region. The homemade incubator measured 40 cm × 42 cm × 32 cm and was constructed with wooden boards, a digital thermostat, and an incandescent lamp. A total of 24 fertile eggs were incubated at a temperature of 37.5 °C and 60% relative humidity; age “0” was set at the start of incubation. Two eggs were opened on each day of development, starting from day 5 to day 16 of incubation. After gently opening the eggs, the embryos were removed, separated from the placenta and amniotic fluid, washed with running water, and weighed on a digital scale (SHIMADZU AUY 220 brand and UNI BLOC model). Crown-rump length and other measurements were performed with a digital caliper and the morphological structures were observed using a stereomicroscope (NOVA brand and NOVA ZTX-E model). All eggs opened contained live embryos, indicating that the homemade incubator temperature, relative humidity, and manual turning were adequate to maintain the quail's viability. The morphometric data of the embryos at different developmental time points were similar to those described in the literature. Embryos weighed 0.0069 g at day 5 and 4.7863 g at day 16, and the crown-rump length (CRL) means were 0.368 cm and 3.657 cm, respectively. Weight and CRL increased by 0.434 g and 2.593 cm per day of incubation, respectively. In conclusion, after 16 days of incubation in a homemade incubator, the embryos presented all phases of the development cycle, with appropriate development of weight and height based on the days of incubation without anomaly or external interference. These findings demonstrate that the homemade incubator does not alter the embryonic development of quail embryos in the Brazilian Amazon region.



Ainsworth, S. J., Stanley, R. L., & Evans, D. J. R. (2010). Developmental stages of the Japanese quail. Journal of Anatomy, 216(1), 3-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7580.2009.01173.x. PMid:19929907.

Almeida, H. M., Sousa, R. P., Bezerra, D. O., Olivindo, R. F. G., Diniz, A. N., Oliveira, S. C., Feitosa, M. L., Moura Fortes, E. A., Ferraz, M. S., Carvalho, Y. K., Menezes, D. J., & Carvalho, M. A. (2015). Greater rhea (Rhea americana) external morphology at different stages of embryonic and fetal development. Animal Reproduction Science, 162, 43-51. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anireprosci.2015.09.007. PMid:26432389.

Araújo, I. C. S., Mesquita, M. A., Andrade, M. A., Castejon, F., Café, M. B., Arnhold, E., & Leandro, N. S. M. (2015). Efeito do período e temperatura de armazenamento de ovos férteis sobre o rendimento de incubação e características de qualidade de codornas neonatas. Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, 67(6), 1693-1702. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1678-4162-8012.

Dias, P. F., & Müller, Y. M. R. (1998). Características do desenvolvimento embrionário de Gallus gallus domesticus, em temperaturas e períodos diferentes de incubação. Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Research and Animal Science, 35(5), 233-235. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-95961998000500010.

Elibol, O., Peak, S. D., & Brake, J. (2002). Effect of flock age, length of egg storage, and frequency of turning during storage on matchability of broiler hatching eggs. Poultry Science, 81(7), 945-950. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ps/81.7.945. PMid:12162354.

Fasenko, G. M. (2007). Egg storage and the embryo. Poultry Science, 86(5), 1020-1024. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ps/86.5.1020. PMid:17435042.

Gefen, E., & Ar, A. (2001). Morphological description of the developing ostrichembryo: A tool for embryonic age estimation. Israel Journal of Zoology, 47(1), 87-97. http://dx.doi.org/10.1560/H2T8-1H2U-81H1-P5XY.

Hamburger, V., & Hamilton, H. L. (1992). A series of normal stages in the development of the chick embryo. Developmental Dynamics, 195(4), 231-272. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aja.1001950404. PMid:1304821.

Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. (2020). Pecuária. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. https://cidades.ibge.gov.br/brasil/pesquisa/18/16538.

Magnoli, A. P., Chiacchiera, S. M., Rosa, C. A. R., Dalcero, A. M., & Marin, R. H. (2013). Aflatoxin B1 residues in liver of Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) exposed to contaminated feed and exogenous corticosterone. Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Medicine, 35(4), 378-384.

Mahmud, A., Khan, M. Z. U., Saima, & Javed, M. A. (2011). Effect of different storage periods and temperatures on the hatchability of broiler breeder eggs. Pakistan Veterinary Journal, 31(1), 78-80.

Menezes, R. D., Oelke, C. A., Fraga, B. N., Rossi, P., Rossetto, J., Alonso, P. M., & Quevedo, L. W. G. (2020). Influência do período de estocagem dos ovos de galinhas caipiras sobre as variáveis de incubação. Research, Society and Development, 9(8), e742986487. http://dx.doi.org/10.33448/rsd-v9i8.6487.

Pedroso, A. A., Café, M. B., Leandro, N. S. M., Stringhini, J. H., & Chaves, L. S. (2006). Desenvolvimento embrionário e eclodibilidade de ovos de codornas armazenados por diferentes períodos e incubados em umidades e temperaturas distintas. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia, 35(6), 2344-2349. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/ S1516-35982006000800021.

Ramteke, J., Charde, P., Zade, S., & Gabhane, R. (2013). Comprehensive study of organogenesis during embryonic development of Japanese quail, Coturnix coturnix japonica. International Journal of Life Sciences, 1(3), 193-197.

Rodrigues, J. S., Meireles, G. S., Flausino, W., & Lopes, C. W. G. (2012). The Japanense quail (Corturnix japonica): A new intermediated host for Cystoisospora felis (Wenyon, 1923) Frenkel, 1977 (Apicomplexa: Cystoisosporinae). Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Medicine, 34(1), 14-18.

Shanaway, M. M. (1994). Quail production systems: A review. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Thierry, A. M., Brajon, S., Massemin, S., Handrich, Y., Chastel, O., & Raclot, T. (2013). Decreased prolactin levels reduce parental commitment, egg temperatures, and breeding success of incubating male Adélie penguins. Hormones and Behavior, 64(4), 737-747. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yhbeh.2013.06.003. PMid:23770271.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2023 Adriana Caroprezo Morini, Graciene Conceição dos Santos, Rosana Tapajos de Oliveira, Thaiza Santos Farias, Angelo Abaal Lisboa Batista, Alanna do Socorro Lima da Silva