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helped a chick and now she's fading

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I need advice.  I just did my very first incubation with 11 live chicks, and following the directions in the Learning Center article on careful helping, which I studied carefully before proceeding, I helped 2 chicks emerge that were shrinkwrapping (more than 24 hours after external pip and fading activity, no zip, membrane discoloring) by carefully pricking off the top of the shell and pushing back the membrane per the instructions, allowing the chick to emerge from that point back in the incubator.  At 36 hours of age, the first one is thriving and a member of the group. The second one, however, had to absorb the last bit of yolk after she pushed herself free from the shell.  She isn't doing well and I currently have her inside my bra where she acts very happy to be.  I did place her back inside the MamaHeatingPad for a few hours while I slept (brooder is still indoors).  The temp in there measures 100 degrees.


I was taught as a child that when a baby bird's legs are contracting into their body and are weak and they can't stand, and their eyes are staying shut, that they are fading and on their way out.  That is what is happening with her.  She pecked at a few grains of feed a couple times, and has drunk water (using the homemade electrolyte recipe from the article) or has tried to, but is now too weak to succeed.  I have tried giving drops through an eyedropper but I think she aspirated-- I held her upside down momentarily to help her lungs clear and she seems to have recovered but I don't know.  She is currently chirping occasionally, she prefers it when I cup her from the outside of my clothing with my hand and will chirp when I stay away too long, like for typing.  


I guess I'm writing to ask if I should just let her expire on her own, or if she's suffering and I should make some effort for euthanasia, or if there really might be something I could do to help her at this point.


I feel very responsible because I helped her emerge.  This incubating thing is tricky and pretty awful. Not that I don't always feel responsible for any animal charges, but I feel extra responsible.


Any thoughts?

Edited by Victoria-nola - 5/18/16 at 9:12am
post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 

Just to let folks know, she did pass on, cuddled against my chest with lots of warmth and affection.  She did not struggle so I have to believe she did not suffer overmuch, and I believe she knows I loved her and was glad I was there for her-- before she faded so heavily she was a lovebug snuggler.  If there is a good death of a chick, I guess this could be close.



post #3 of 4
I'm sorry for your loss of chick, but well done on all of the others! I helped one of my chicks because she pipped through and was looking like she gave up so I helped her break out and she was very weak and couldn't move. But after a few days she's very healthy and doing well. Have fun with raising your chicks! 😊
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thank you.  Yes, the other chick I helped is doing great, although she spends more time in the cave under the heat (I use the MamaHeatingPad method) than the rest of the group.  Still, the whole experience has really sobered me up about incubating. I really wasn't prepared for the carnage it entails.  I know that in nature there are many eggs that don't hatch and early deaths, I know that is actually normal and natural. It's just that when you take it on yourself, there is a very real way in which you are playing "g*d" and it's a pretty terrible responsibility.  I will get over it, I have to-- I have 30 guinea eggs arriving in early June.  But I followed a BYC incubation Learning Center article to the T and wound up having a major problem in my incubator as a result so now I'm baffled.  Will query at the incubation forum.  Again, thank you for your thoughts.  I love the chicks so much.

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