Chick problem- What to do?


10 Years
Oct 4, 2009
Most of my babies hatched right on time on Friday, starting early in the morning. Saturday we woke up around noon and one chick had pipped through and looked like it had been pipped already for quite a few hours. Around 10pm last night it had made no progress and was cheeping somewhat desperately. I took her out and gingerly, so gingerly, started helping her zip with a small pair of cosmetic scissors. I put her back in. Nothing happened, so an hour later I started taking more shell off. Put her back. Nothing. Finally I took almost the entire shell off, save the half underneath her. Thought for sure she would get out, but this morning she was still very much alive and chirping and stuck. By now the shell is stuck on her so I took a sponge and softly got the membrane wet and spent 20 minutes getting it off her, probably more. After all the shell is off I see that her head was stuck to her stomach by matted hair. That was gut wrenching, trying to seperate them without hurting her and not knowing if she was deformed or if it was just stuck there, thankfully it was just stuck there. I was finally able (after Q tipping with warm water) to cut the hair that was tying her head down. It was a very intense process. I could never be a surgeon! Her one leg is totally fine, her other foot is turned in a bit. She is getting around now and sitting on her butt. Her eyes are finally opening. She is chirping a LOT. She is the only one in the bator at this point, all the other chicks are in the brooder. I have been whistling and talking to her to keep her from feeling too lonely.

What should I do? I dont think she is in pain or has anything severely wrong. How long do you guys give it, anyone have anything they can recommend I do for her? Should I just leave her now and see what happens?

If she gets worse we will decapitate her. That is what we have decided to do if we get a sick chick. Quick and painless for them, traumatic for me. I really hope she pulls through, it was breaking my heart getting her out of the shell, thinking maybe I should just leave her since she wasnt strong enough to get out on her own... but I couldnt just stand by and not help as she chirped and chirped for help. I thought she would be deformed and unable to walk. She is currently hobbling around the bator and tipping over but she has only been out for an hour. Has anyone had chicks like this, and what did you do??? Are her chances good since she is walking around? IF she has a bum foot, can she grow up to be okay?? My worry is that she will not be able to support her own weight... how long do I wait?

ETA: Also- The incubator got accidentally unplugged last night around 6pm until 8pm and the temp dropped to 75, and the cord got unplugged AGAIN for I think 45 minutes right before this picture was taking and the temp dropped down to 90. Not good, we need a longer extension cord

***For anyone who ever has to get a chick out, I cannot stress enough how gingerly you must do this, you must constantly check you are not about to snip or remove anything that has a vein in it or anything delicate. It is a painstaking process to make sure you do it right. Be so careful!! I do the shell first and then carefully remove the membrane***
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It's not unusual to have a weak chick that is not able to break out of the egg. They usually die - but since you have brought her along - once she dry's out & gets mobile you should be able to put her with the rest in the brooder. You will need to keep an eye out though as they may sense she is weak & kill her.
Thanks- I am going to bandaid her leg once hubby gets home, I tried to do it on my own but it did not work, too awkward.

I feel like an idiot, I should have taken her 100% out of the egg last night, I dont know what I was thinking. THis is my second hatch, I guess you really do learn as you go with these things. She's having trouble walking, her left leg wont support her and the toes are curled in. I wonder if they will straighten up or might they be permanently damaged
Sound like a deformed hock joint. I had one that did that. The leg that was messed up and couldnt support her and they had crooked toes. I tried every thing!! Just DO NOT put her in the brooder with other chicks. They will constantly peck at her like mine did!! Mine ended up dieing
. Mine could barely walk and just kept falling over with her leg trying to keep her up. Really depressing. The other chicks will just step on her and make it worse.
I know someone that hatched a chick and she was unable to walk for a week or so (maybe longer not sure)...anyway, she scooted on her bum and the owner was thinking of just culling her but suddenly...she just developed the muscles needed and began walking properly! Her legs are still very far apart and wide but she gets around just fine now! Just give her time and you may need to keep her seperate for a while until she is strong enough to re-introduce to the other chicks. I've heard of people using a small mirror and a featherduster for the chick to snuggle with when you have to keep one seperated. Anyway, good luck and keep us posted...sounds like she's coming along. Animals are very adaptable so she just may figure out a way to utilize that bum leg even if she doesn't make a full recovery. Blessings, Keri
If she is better by tomorrow, I am going to separate a part of the brooder for her so she can be alone. I'm sorry to hear about your chick

Can they adapt well to having a leg problem? Will it get better with time? The foot is for sure deformed, but she is using the leg, its just that the foot cant hold her up. I can only give it time, but I am worried. I still dont know if shes okay, she seems stiff and I'm not sure she can hold her head back to drink, I am going to try to get her to drink some water.
Well I moved her into the brooder, she is separated by glass from the other chicks and seems a lot happier. She has eaten AND drank so my fears are subsiding and I think she is going to make it. She even made a poop so I think her bowels are all good, I was worried there was something wrong there because there was a lot of yolk and poop looking stuff stuck on her butt. It feels really good that I might have actually saved this little ladies life. This is one chicken that won't be going anywhere
I am going to put a piece of cardboard as a shoe for her and bandaid it on, like I saw on this website. I have a really good feeling she is going to be just fine.

you are an excellent nurse! It does sound like a case of sticky chick. As for the foot, I have fixed these several times and I bet if you make that chick shoe she'll be right as rain in 2 days. Well done!
She died in the night. I don't think I could have done anything else for her, I don't think she was meant to make it. I was a little too hopeful last night after seeing her eat, drink and poop.

This is my first chick death. I am thankful that she died peacefully in her sleep (she was in the same position as when I left her last night, cuddled up next to the glass separating her from the other chicks) I am thankful that we did not have to put her down. I am thankful that my other chicks are strong and healthy and their fluffy butts comforted me before I had to get to work.

R.I.P Little Lady.

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