I've had quite a rollercoaster. Bought 16 fertilized eggs to put under my broody hen 3.5 weeks ago. Lost a few along the way, had ten for the last week and half or two weeks, as of day 21. There were no signs of pipping, no peeping, nothing. Day 22 came and went, nothing. Day 23, when the mama left for food, there were only 8 eggs left. Yikes, not looking good. Yesterday, day 24, I told her enough is enough and I was going to push her off and try again in the future. I inspected each egg and I felt two moving around inside the shells! Okay, I figured we keep letting her sit on them and maybe, maybe they'll still hatch.
This morning, I saw two dead babies on the outskirts of the nest, not under the mama. I don't know what happened, one looked pretty much perfect, the other looked smaller and less developed. I removed them and picked up the mama, only to find one live chick under her, along with the five unhatched eggs!! I moved the whole lot of them (mama, baby, unhatched eggs) to a better location where I can keep a closer watch on them. Chick seems very healthy, walking around, pecking at the ground, going back under mama for warmth.
After about an hour, I wanted to take a closer look at the dead ones, to see what went wrong. The less developed one had ants all over it, but, then I saw it move. And move again, and breathe. Oh no, it wasn't dead. I brushed all the ants off and picked it up and put it back under mom. After a little while, it crawled out from under her. Couldn't open its eyes, could barely move, but did crawl out.
Over the last two hours or so, it's gotten much stronger, can stand for short periods, it moves around a lot, and it can open its eyes for short periods. It still seems very weak, nothing like the other one which is already adventurous, walking all around mama, trying to crawl on her, pecking her. But, the weak one started peeping, which seems like a good sign.
So, can I do anything to help her thrive?? I tried to give water, she wasn't having it. I put some droplets on her beak and she opened her mouth to let them roll in. Should I give sugar water? What ratio & amount? I have a (needle-less) syringe from giving a sick bird meds, so I could force her to drink something if folks think it would help. This is my first time raising chicks after years of having chickens, any advice would be great.
(And, any thoughts on whether those last five eggs will hatch??)