chick hatched and died at day 18 or 19

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickfan, May 24, 2010.

  1. chickfan

    chickfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 12, 2009
    Leander, TX
    I almost hate to ask this, but I would like to have some advice if possible. We have a chicken who has been sitting on eggs for 19 days. She is in a cage alone, with plenty of food and water. Tonight I was talking to her and noticed half an egg shell just outside her cage. I felt sure it had had a baby in it, so hubby came out and lifted her up....there was a dead baby off to the side of the nest. It looked mostly formed - was stretched out with some feathers on it, and there was a hole in the side of the head...as if it had been pecked.
    This is a first time mama who had been very broody for some time before I gave her some eggs to sit on. Is there any thought about what could have happened to this baby? I feel sure this must have happened today (or maybe yesterday, when the shell was out of sight to me). Do mama's kill their babies ever? I do know, or think I know, they can dispose of an egg that doesn't seem normal. I had two hens sitting last year...side by side in a good sized cage. Each one took one egg out from under her...moved it outside their boxes - one on the left side of her box and the other on the right side of her box..and obviously pecked a small hole in the egg. Nothing else..just two eggs sitting there, each with a little hole in it. I assumed they decided there was something wrong with these eggs.
    I'm a bit nervous now, for fear maybe this mama might do something to her chicks as they start to hatch. Does anyone have any idea about what is going on? I know this surely has happened to others before, but this is my first time with this. I guess I'll be sitting with her tomorrow and Wed., until I feel like things will be OK. She had too many eggs under her, I imagine. There were 10. But she seemed to cover them well so I just let it be.
    Thanks!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    If she is a full sized hen, 10 eggs should not be too many for her. I doubt that is the problem.

    Sometimes hens will kill their chicks as they hatch. It is rare and I have never seen it, but a few people have reported it on this forum. Sometimes, again very rarely, a hen will kill one or two of her chicks and be great with the rest, And sometimes chicks just die without it being the hen's fault.

    I don't know what happened. It could be something not the hen's fault or you may have a hen that does not have the right broody instincts. With it being only 19 days I'm not real quick to blaim the hen, though she certainly could be the problem. Since incubation temperature is the biggest thing that affects the eggs hatching early or late, I would not expect one egg to be that early or much earlier than all the others. Once one hatches, the others should follow pretty soon since the broody kept them all about the same temperature.

    All that being said, I think the best thing for you to do is keep checking on her and see if the same thing happens again. If it does, I'd put the eggs in an incubator if you have one and never let that hen hatch any chicks again, nor would I let any of her genetic children breed. if her broody instincts are really that far off, I would not want her genes in my flock.

    Good luck! This one can be rough.
     
  3. chickfan

    chickfan Chillin' With My Peeps

    273
    1
    119
    Oct 12, 2009
    Leander, TX
    Thanks for your reply. This chicken has never hatched babies before, so I have no idea what her instincts are. I was just surprised to see that one had hatched two days early. I'll watch her carefully and if she doesn't seem to be receptive to babies, I'll get the eggs out and put her under another broody hen I have, that is sitting on nothing! I loaned my incubator out, so another hen will have to do.
    It was a sad sight to see this little one. The egg shell (half) looked like it had been pipped....not actually broken (not crushed). making me think that the baby was alive when it hatched.
    Mama is sitting quietly (asleep) this morning so far, so I didn't disturb her to see if any more had hatched.
     

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