Chick just hatched, seems to be under developed? I'm new at this, please help! Have had 5 deaths so

Meety Peety

6 Years
Sep 18, 2013
Hello all,

I'm not sure where to begin, so I'll just jump right in. One of out hens started laying on her eggs so we decided to let her hatch them. Everything went fine until around the time the chicks were supposed to start hatching. Every couple days I would find a dead baby that was partially out of the egg, like it tried to hatch but never made it. Then, one day while making my rounds, I found a new baby chick that had hatched sitting under the mother hen. She still had a few eggs so I decided to let her keep them and see what happens. It has been about a week and I was actually just thinking I should take the remaining eggs away from her when I found another new chick in her coop.

This chick was laying face down not moving and I actually thought it was another dead one until I notice it was breathing. The mother hen was not paying any attention to it at all, and actually may have stepped on it when I put fresh water in for her. It was as if she didn't even see it there. Worried, I decided that since the other hatched chick is much older and the mother hen was ignoring it, I should just separate this one and put it under the lamp. When I picked it up, I noticed it's feet were just curled under it's body and there was blood on it's underside. The bird is completely limp, it doesn't stand or even stretch out it's feet. It can't even hold it's head up. It does kick it's feet around occasionally like it's trying to get up or move, but doesn't get anywhere near being able to stand up.

This paired with the bloody underside have me kinda worried. I have hatched a total of 5 eggs now (3 the first time and 2 now), and each time I have come out to the coop to find a brand new baby chick sitting with it's mother hen.. except this one. So now I have a couple of questions:

Is this normal for a newly hatched chick? Is it possible that I just had bad timing and that this chick JUST hatched?

Also, in regards to the 5 babies that did not make it during this cycle, is this something that happens often? I never had this happen during the first batch of eggs that we hatched, and it seems kinda strange that we had 5 chicks die half way out of the egg, 1 live and 1 that can only barely breathe. Maybe the mother hen is doing something wrong? I'm so confused.

thanks in advance!
Lots of questions. I'll try to answer.

It sounds like you have a hen who doesn't have good instincts. The chicks developed so she is keeping the eggs at the proper temperature and turning the eggs but when hatching time comes something goes wrong.

Does the hen have a large enough broody box? One that she has plenty of room to stand up and walk to change position on the eggs? Too small a space could be a contributing factor.

The chicks might have a genetic/developmental disability. Something may not have developed correctly in order for them to survive. The mother might sense this and that could be why she wasn't paying attention to the chick.

This is all an educated guess. It is heartbreaking and I'm sorry.
Okay, With my hens when I find a brand new fresh from the egg chick it can look very unwell, for example yesterday i found one struggling to get out of its egg and so I helped it and the poor little thing was covered in blood which sounds similar to your story. I left it under the hen and came back to a cute fluffy chicken, most if not all baby chickens i have ever hatched have started off looking awful they are very wobbly and don't start moving for at least a day some times up to three, occasionally i do go out and find a chick that never made it out of its shell, id say loosing so many perhaps her shells are too hard, but i'm not sure if that actually happens, honestly though the mother dosen't really nurture the chicken, she just goes about her business and chick watches and learns. The chick should be fine, i'd suggest putting it back with it's mother and she should be able to keep it warm enough. When they dry off thats when they fluff up. :) hope this was helpful :)
Was the one with blood on it still wet? Can you tell if it has absorbed the yolk? If it is just hatched they do lay still for a few hrs to get their strength. It also could be the mother killing them. I had a broody hatch 6 last december and she had a few hatch out and do fine, but 2 or 3 of them she killed right after they hatched. Who knows why
I have also had some die on their own and that is very common. Sometimes they will pip externally and die in the shell and sometimes they will get all the way out of the shell and die after a day. I have never had all my babies live, I always lose a few.
I don't usually have too much trouble with hatching them, it's very rare i loose any. Perhaps it's something to do with what you feed the mothers? Forgive me if i sound like im acusing you of being a bad chicken owner, im not i think if you love your poultry and do the best job you can your a wonderful owner, im just putting forth suggestions.. maybe i can help?
Well my feed is layer pellets from the feed store so nothing out of the ordinary there. And I always leave my broodys alone, I never interfere so any lost chick is just nature taking it's course. All chicken people/things I have read say it is normal/ to be expected to loose some and to be prepared or it
Sorry if i was rude, it just sounded like you lose heaps...

Mine get poulett starter and layer mash/mix and like you i leave mine be.
No I didn't take it as rude :) And no I do not lose heaps, sorry if it sounded that way. If a broody hatches 9 or 10 i usually find 1 dead the next day(not always) I have also checked the eggs on the 21st day to find a seemingly healthy chick pip a good size hole and chirp like crazy, to find it a few hours later dead in its shell, who knows why but it happens

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