Chicks drowning in the egg

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by BarnGoddess01, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. BarnGoddess01

    BarnGoddess01 I [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]

    I'm not exactly sure how to compose the question I'm trying to ask but can someone explain what has actually happened when a chick "drowns in the egg"? I guess what I'm trying to figure out is, how do they drown in there?
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011
  2. gogoalie

    gogoalie Songster

    May 15, 2010
    I'm gunna go out on a limb here, as I'm fairly new to chickens, & that it has to do with the fact that the chick is too weak to break through the membrane of the egg, to get air to the lungs, as the egg is full of fluid, & if the chick doesn't break through the membrane, to get to the air, it'll drown. Another postulate I see, is that it's too humid in an incubator...
  3. Chic-n-farmer

    Chic-n-farmer Showers of Blessings

    It comes from the humidity being too high during incubation. From what I understand, the excess fluid, in the egg, causes the chick to drown once it pips. The fluid enters the beak and nostrils of the chick and it dies.

    I never really understood it until it happened to eggs I hatched. I have been doing staggered hatches for 5 months, but I have had an increase in problems since the weather has changed outside.

    I usually reduce humidity between hatch dates, but I have lost several chicks, in the recent hatches, due to drowning.
  4. Chic-n-farmer

    Chic-n-farmer Showers of Blessings

    If the chick pips through the egg and then it is surrounded by the excess fluid, it is like holding it's beak under water. Seriously, if you ever see it happen, it will be perfectly clear.

    I have managed to save some, by frequent checking, but some I have not got to in time and you can see where fluid has poured down the side of the egg, below the pip. After opening the egg you can see how wet it was inside.

    I've hatched 300+ chicks this spring, and lost maybe 10 this way. And those have been recently, since outdoor humidity has increased. I just need to be more vigilant in controlling my humidity.
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    I drowned most of my first hatch because I used the old school recommended high humidity, 60% to day 18 then 80% (don't do this, it's far too high). The egg shell is porous so water will develop inside the air sac. Chicks pip internally into that sac prior to pipping the shell. The water there drowns them.
  6. BarnGoddess01

    BarnGoddess01 I [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]

    The chicks I'm wondering about did not pip. I had 4 different types of eggs in the incubator; dark brown BCMs, Ameraucanas, Easter Eggers and light brown (sex link hen/EE roo). Humidity was on the high side throughout (45 to 50% until day 18 - 70% plus for lockdown but the top never fogged up). I followed manufacturer instructions on a Hovabator Genesis. Everything hatched brilliantly except the light brown eggs which only hatched 2 out of 9. Fully formed chicks were inside all of the eggs but they hadn't pipped. Heads were still tucked down. I don't know if they drowned but I'm wondering which is why I'm trying to understand what happens when they drown. I had them in cardboard egg cartons for hatching. The carton these particular eggs were in somehow managed to make contact with the water underneath and drew it up. This happened on day 18 to the point of soaking the carton as I was setting things up for lockdown. I noticed immediately and changed the carton. It didn't happen again. But I'm wondering if these chicks actually drowned at that point. 4 eggs did hatch from the carton that got wet (2 EEs and the 2 light brown eggs) but I obviously had a MUCH better hatch rate out of the cartons take didn't take up any water.
  7. ReikiStar

    ReikiStar Songster

    What do you guys do during this time of year when the ambient humidity is higher and it effects the incubator's humidity?

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