1st time classroom hatch

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by bisbeej, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. bisbeej

    bisbeej In the Brooder

    Jun 4, 2008
    Hi everyone,

    My classroom neighbor and I had our first ever classroom hatch this week. It was very exciting! We both teach first grade. We incubated 24 leghorn chick eggs. So far we have 14 chicks.

    We began with a dozen in each incubator. After candling at 8 days, we each removed two eggs that were either infertile or had blood rings, leaving us with 10 each.

    Unfortunately, my neighbor's incubator continually leaked water. We were able to keep the humidity up around 40%, but she was understandably concerned about keeping her humidity level up high enough during the last three days, so she moved all of her eggs to my incubator for the last three days, which fell over a weekend (I was out sick with pneumonia.) Over the weekend, I think the temperature may have been a bit too high - about 100 - and I know the humidity was too high.

    I came in Monday morning (day 21) to find 2 chicks already walking around! More continued to hatch throughout the day and that night. Most are healthy and peeping up a storm - the kids can't believe the racket they make! It seems like the chicks like the noise - when the kids are noisy, the chicks sleep. If the kids get really quiet, the chicks peep like mad!

    One of our chicks was born with his yolk not fully absorbed and an unhealed navel. We separated him from the others, putting him in the other incubator. He was moving around quite a bit at first, but he grew very weak very quickly. His little beak was very pale and he was barely moving, so we brought him to the vet in the afternoon and they put him to sleep.

    One of the chicks pipped on monday but was still stuck in the shell Tuesday afternoon. I could see him still peeping, so I decided to help him out around 3 pm. I removed his shell a tiny bit at a time - he was pretty stuck to it. Once I got a bit free, he tried like heck to get the rest off himself! It was amazing to see.

    He had luckily absorbed all of his yolk, but is navel had not yet healed either, so a little of his intestines were coming out (gross and horrible, I know.) He didn't appear to be in any pain, and he wasn't bleeding, so that's a good sign. Most everyone told me he had to be put down too, but there's no way I'm killing an animal that still stands a chance.

    I read as many sites as I could find about it and found the best advice here - to push them back in, wrap him up tight with wet gauze, and hope it heals! I was the surgeon and my friend played nurse - it was crazy. He didn't appear to be in any pain, so that was good. He hated being bound up, but it seemed the safest way to make sure he didn't hurt himself.

    When my husband picked me up around 4, we brought him to the vet. I told them I'd like to save him if I could - he cheeped the whole way there, so he's pretty strong, despite having his guts hanging out! She took a look at him, cleaned the area up for me and gave me some antiseptic cream to put on at least 3 times a day, more often if possible. She said it would hopefully dry up and heal if I could get him to not peck at it. All this, and no charge - I owe these people a serious thank you card!

    We went back to school, grabbed my friend's incubator (mine still had eggs and 5 drying chicks in it) and some food and brought him home. The little guy's currently cheeping up a storm in my basement! I have been checking on him pretty often and he's looking good. He can walk now, he's not bleeding at all and he will drink water if I dip his beak in it. He's still young, so no big deal if he doesn't eat for a while yet. He has had his first bowel movement - I've never been so excited for poop! [​IMG] This morning he is a lot drier and walking around a lot. He is one seriously loud little peeper.

    I won't give him a name until I'm more confident he'll survive, but so far so good. I'll keep him separated so he won't get pecked at until his skin closes over the opening, which it seems to be doing. As soon as I can, I'll get a second chick in with him so he can get socialized. I'm trying (and succeeding pretty well) to stay detached so I don't get too upset about it. I love animals a lot, so it's tough. It's nice to be able to be helping this one, though I don't know if it will work. Fingers crossed!

    Thank you all for your advice and for letting me share my story!

  2. MaryT

    MaryT Songster

    May 5, 2008
    Congrats on your hatch, I hope that little one makes it, sounds like a fighter! Would love to hear if the rest hatch.
  3. NoSpringChick

    NoSpringChick Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    SE PA
    Wow! What a successful hatch! That was great the vet didn't charge you ....Keep us posted and we all love pictures!
  4. Myst4

    Myst4 Songster

    Apr 1, 2008
    N.S., Canada
    Quote:Just curious...what will you do with the chicks after they hatch. I mean when they grow up a bit and are too big to keep in the classroom?
  5. wegotchickens

    wegotchickens DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies

    Jul 5, 2007
    Sevier County, TN
    By the way... [​IMG]
  6. bisbeej

    bisbeej In the Brooder

    Jun 4, 2008
    Wow! Man, you guys are the greatest. [​IMG] Thank you for the nice welcome! Let me see if I can answer all of your questions...

    The little guy is doing great! I put the cream on every few hours last night and today. He just drank water by himself for the first time and I got him eating, too. [​IMG] The kids are elated he is doing so well. I can't wait to tell them about him eating! (They were very sad when I explained that the other chick needed to be put to sleep, but I won't lie to them or hide the truth - just deliver it carefully and with respect.) The spot is still a big red bump, but it's drying out and looking good. My only fear is that he may puncture it on something, so I'm keeping him separated from all but one of the chicks for now. I've still got him in the incubator, but I'm going to move him to a brooder/box tomorrow. I guess it's also time to name him, though I've been calling him "cheep cheep" for so long, that may be his name! My husband thinks it's a riot that if I come into the room and start cheeping, he hears me in the incubator and responds.

    We have another chick that I am a bit concerned about. He has earned the temporary name "Pig-pen." He is very dirty with yolk and bits of blood from the birth. He is fluffing up in some spots, but he's pretty crusty in others. I am going to research now on how to handle this, though I'd love any suggestions you all may have as well! It seems like he needs a bath, but I don't want to traumatize the little guy. He's clearly not as strong as the others, though he has solid lungs - he peeps with the best of them! He has been keeping his eyes closed a lot and seems to like walking around like that, which worries me. For now I'm keeping him in the incubator with Cheep Cheep.

    I am planning to take a bunch of pictures with the kiddos tomorrow, so I will be sure to post a few here. I let them each take turns holding a chick today - they all informed me it was the best thing ever. One little girl wrote an amazing story in Writer's Workshop titled "Baby Chicks" telling the story of their arrival, from the kids learning we would be hatching, to incubation, to the hatching. It was the first time she ever independently decided to revise to her story - she asked to add two more pages so she could write about holding them.

    Of the 20 eggs in which we saw embryos, 8 hatched yesterday, 4 hatched a bit later, 1 was put to sleep, 1 was the now healing Cheep Cheep and 1 is Pig-pen. That makes 14 little peepers bopping around! The teachers across the hall also each have 5 or 7 chicks. One of our custodians raises egg laying chickens in his yard, so he will be taking half of them. The other half will be going to one of our teacher's fathers, who has a small farm. One of my conditions for being willing to do this project was that we had good homes lined up for the chickies. The other was that we would handle any unhealthy chicks humanely by bringing them to the vet. I am eternally grateful to the vets who have helped me - I will be making a nice card for them with the kids.

    Thanks again for your kind thoughts - I'm off to research chick bathing!
  7. bisbeej

    bisbeej In the Brooder

    Jun 4, 2008
    The little chick with the open navel is doing extremely well. Hooray, Cheep Cheep!

    Unfortunately, the dirty chick, Pig-Pen, is not doing well at all. I posted about it in the emergency forum: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=60803 Basically, he has a big swelling on the side of his neck and he keeps falling over as he walks and stands. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
  8. bisbeej

    bisbeej In the Brooder

    Jun 4, 2008
    Sadly, little Cheep Cheep just died.

    He was doing so well this morning and all day, but he began to go downhill quickly. This evening he looked very unwell, laying down a lot and not cheeping much. I left him for the night, separating him from the other two chicks in the box. A few minutes later, I could hear one of the other chicks chirping loudly so I went down to check on him. He was clearly dying, laying on his side and gasping. I ran upstairs to make a mixture of homepathic arsenicum (a remedy that helps to ease a dying patient) but he died before I could give it to him (a minute and a half later.)

    How heartbreaking.
  9. Karlachix

    Karlachix Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    What a great project! I'm sure the kids will remember it fondly. They must be so excited to come to school each day to see the chicks growing.

    I'm sorry to hear about your losses, though. [​IMG] I appreciate how hard you tried to save Cheep Cheep.

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