Can I save this baby?


11 Years
Feb 19, 2008
I have a hen that just loves going broody. I gave her 7 eggs that were layed on two consecutive days. One hatched the other day and is fine. I checked back a day and a half later and 2 were partly hatched and covered in ants and dead. Another was hatched and had ants on it but was alive. One egg had piped and had ants at the hole. I cleaned ants off the one chick and the remaining eggs and moved them to another area of the coop. Mom brought her remaining baby to the new nest and was sitting on all.

I checked back later and the one chick was dead. Ants had found them. The piped egg had ants on it and I was pretty certain they were in it. The only thing I could think to do was get the chick out of the egg so the ants wouldn't eat it alive. I brought it in and put it under a heat lamp. It's still alive but not moving much. Is there anything I can do to save it?

There were two eggs left. Since Mom has the one healthy chick up and about, she's not sitting on the nest enough to hatch them. I could hear cheaping so brought them in this morning and put them under the heat lamp. One has pipped! Is there anything I should do? If it hasn't hatched by this evening, could I put them back under Mom and let it finish hatching there. Hopefully I can get another healthy chick or two.
You might want to check your temps to make sure it is 90-95 degrees under the heat lamp for the chick that is alive. You can make a sugar water solution (McMurray Hatchery has a chick care page with a recipe) when it is active and wanting to drink (dip its beak).

For the chick that is pipping, it is vital that you keep it moist. Take a wet paper towel and keep the egg "tented" with the wet towel so that the humidity in the air will be raised. I would try to wet the egg well with it before laying it down. Make SURE that you don't cover up the air hole so the chick doesn't suffocate. And make sure you don't pour water into the pip hole!

If the chick dries out inside the egg, the membrane will prevent him from escaping.

I would add that you must be careful to be around when you have towels near the egg. If you aren't watching- I would just put the wet towel next to the egg.

Moisture in the air should be around 65% or so when pipping and hatching I believe from what I have read. It would also help to take a huge wet towel and put nearby (or sponges) to increase the humidity in the air. This is important even before pipping to prevent shrinkwrapping the membrane.

Eggs can still hatch 3 days after the "due date."
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Thank you for your advice. I have used a wet paper towel to dampen the piped egg and then placed it at the end of the egg opposite of the hole. The other egg is also right by it. I'm not sure yet if there is a live chick in that one. I need to check it.

Going on the premise that chicks need to stuggle getting out of the shell to build strength, I was holding him with my hands cupped over him and he curled right up. Right now he is in a cup with a towel lining it under the heat lamp. I'm hoping that being in a small area where he has to struggle a little to move around, maybe he will get stronger. It doesn't appear so tight he can't breath. He does seem more content. I'll try dipping his beak in sugar water as well once he is a little more active.
Unfortunately, the one chick died yesterday afternoon.

I have kept a damp paper towel near the other two eggs. The one that piped yesterday finished hatching this morning. I couldn't stick around for her to dry but she seemed okay. The other egg has a crack and I can hear a chick peeping!

Since I am going to be away from home several hours today, I exchanged the paper towel for a damp sponge. I put it on the opposite side of where the freshly hatched chick is. I would be nice if I could slip two babies under their mama tonight.
The other egg hatched first thing this morning. Once again I was getting ready to leave so couldn't wait for her to dry. She is now dry and active and playing with her sibling. Tonight they will join their Mom and other sibling.

I will get pictures tomorrow with their Mom.
Here are pictures of the survivors. I took a pic in the box yesterday and then a couple today. Somehow one chick mananged to be out of each picture outside. Mom is nearby but isn't see in the pictures. I put them near her last night. They were cheeping and she went to clucking and gathered them under her.

The black one is the one that hatched first with no issues.



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