The reason the mother was not sitting on the eggs is that she does not begin to incubate the eggs until she has laid all the eggs. Normal clutch for Gambelís quail is 10 to 12 eggs. Then she will sit on them for 21 - 24 days until they hatch. They all hatch on the same day, and as soon as they dry off, the mother will lead them away from the nest. They will not return to the nest.