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Chicks hatched too early! ****Pic UPDATE in Post 10****

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Jschaaff, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. Jschaaff

    Jschaaff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Long story made as short as I can (still quite long, I apologize):

    I had 20+ eggs in incubator... first night temp spiked and I woke to a 120 degree bator in the morning.

    Assumed eggs wouldn't make it (had been spiked for hours I'm sure) and we had JUST that day before given away our roosters...ie..soon, no more fertile eggs.

    Sooo..even though I don't like staggerd hatches... I added 8 more eggs over the next two days. = Day 1, 20 eggs. Day 2, 8 eggs. Day 3, 8 eggs, to ensure we had SOME chicks hatch.

    The first chicks were due to hatch yesterday.

    To my amazement (I've known for a bit from candeling)...16 of the orginial 20, 1st day eggs hatched and appear healthy as can be (3 eggs never developed, one is still in bator and just pipped).

    Here is my confusion:

    The Day 2 eggs ALSO hatched at the same time as my Day 1 eggs (one day early). Out of the 8 eggs/chicks, one little guy was covered in a much wetter membrane, and still attached to his egg. Lots of blood, curled in a fetal position...and died within hours, never peeped, never opened his eyes. He looked like a premature chick.

    AND

    Four of the Day 3 eggs ALSO hatched at the same time as Day 1 & 2 eggs (two days early). Same issue..they look like they were still cooking! Why would they have hatched so early if their bodies weren't ready!? How did they even have the strength?

    One never separated from the egg, and just like the Day 2 chick, was covered in a slippery membrane, tons of blood between the chicks legs. She lived about 6 hours, breathing, never opened her eyes, no peeping, curled into a fetal the entire time like she was still inside her egg, before she passed away.

    One, a little baby named "Viva", who pushed himself out, but remained attached to the egg, some blood, and eyes closed for about 4 hours. at that point things dried up/soaked in enough that I was able to separate him from the egg, and just let him sleep under a heat lamp. 16 hours later, he is peeping, eyes open, and in with his siblings, but he starting to hold his head up and support his body weight! I think this little guy will be okay, just a bit behind the others.

    One who was born 9 hours after all the others, named "Honor" is much smaller than Day 1 & 2 chicks, eyes finally open, starting to fluff, and I just moved her in with her siblings. Very alert, but doesn't appear strong enough to hold her head up, or her body up on her legs. She is fiesty as can be with that peeping and if she grows stronger, will definitely make it, but again, develop slower than the others.

    And lastly [​IMG] one gorgeous little baby, named "Trust", born yesterday at 3 pm. This baby like the others mentioned above, wasn't supposed to hatch til tomorrow...was covered in that wet slimy membrane, eyes closed etc...thickly attached to her egg between her legs. She stayed in a fetal for about 12 hours. She has been on her back now for about 4 hours, head close to her belly, still breathing, peeps quietly once in awhile, eyes still not opened. I picked her up and she is like a rag doll, no attempt to pick head up, and I don't think it's even possible that she could. I stroke her feet, she doesn't react or move. But she is still breathing just fine and peeping now and then.

    I don't understand why these babies hatched early??. The other 4 eggs that are due to hatch tomorrow are all pipped and will probably hatch today, but hopefully will be better developed.

    I have NO experience with premature chicks and have NO idea what their chances are and that is extremely upsetting.

    Is there a good chance that Viva's body will continue to "develop" and his neck and legs will strengthen and he'll be okay?

    And is it possible for the above mentioned baby Trust to make it? Can her bones get stronger? She has been asleep now for 16 hours, waking up for seconds to peep and then falling back to sleep. She makes no effort to move on her own, and obviously is not eating or drinking. [​IMG]


    I really don't know what to do. Any help from those with more experience than me would be so appreciated.

    Thank you.
    Jessa
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  2. nizar

    nizar Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 10, 2011
    too long massage, whenever there were a early hatch I think you should drop the temp a little bit.
     
  3. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think the post was too long. That's a lot of info you needed to get across.

    When I've done staggered hatches before, I've noticed that if there are a small number of eggs that are only one or two days behind, they often hatch early, at the same time as the first batch who are fully developed. I don't know why it happens. I think maybe all the peeping and tapping and rolling around from the other eggs, and then being kicked about the bator by the hatched chicks maybe stimulates the not-quite-ready eggs to begin hatching.

    I suspect chicks have an inbuilt mechanism where once one begins, they all get going. I mean, in nature, they would all be set at the same time and they would all hatch pretty much at the same time, and the sooner the better in terms of the mother being able to look after them all and not have to juggle sitting on unhatched eggs with looking after and feeding newly hatched chicks.

    But... Any early ones I've had have always been perfectly healthy and 'normal'. I'm not sure what's happened with yours. I have had chicks hatch out very weak before though. They usually catch up with the others after a day or so. They can survive a couple of days without food and water, but a good trick to give them a boost is to hand feed them a few drops of water with sugar or honey dissolved in it. The glucose perks them up. Also it'snot something available here in the UK, but I always see folk recommending PolyViSol infant vitamins, the one WITHOUT iron, as something else that can help weak chicks to get up on their feet.

    Good luck with them. Come back and let us know how they all get on...
     
  4. pete55

    pete55 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 19, 2011
    Suffolk, UK
    Im afraid you just have to wait and keep the early chicks warm. Try to offer drops of water from your finger tip delivered to the tip of their beak. Just 1 or 2 drops at first but really to start hydrating them. You'll need to repeat hourly and with care and time they may gather strength.

    Why this has happened is a loss to mebut I think your temperature spike probably caused some problems in the developing embryos metabolic rates with staggered growth rates. Sometimes chicks are able to 'synchronise' their hatch as they communicate with the other chicks in the egg by peeping as this may have stimulated the more premature chicks to pip but when they're showing signs of being under-developed its unusual.

    Good luck with your babies and for more information please visit our website where there's also lots of links to other incubation articles;

    http://oakgarthgeese.com

    Pete [​IMG]
     
  5. Cherstin

    Cherstin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    North Port, FL
    I'm sorry to hear about what happened, but I love the names you came up with for everyone. I hope they will begin to thrive and grow into them.

    This is just my theory, but maybe your incubator isn't designed to keep up with staggered hatches? There's got to be some type of natural process, too small for us to notice, that takes place within a hatch. Whether it was the change in humidity on day 18 of your original batch, or the movement and sounds from the hatched chicks that kind of encouraged the others to hatch even though they weren't fully developed, I don't know.

    From my understanding just from reading, though, it seems that although the mama hen will lay a clutch over a period of time, she won't begin sitting on the nest until it's complete. Yes, some will hatch sooner than others, but she wouldn't "start" a clutch and then add to it. There must be some tiny instinctual thing that happens to ensure they all hatch together. Whether it's that necessary rise in humidity that softens the shell or just the movement of the other hatching chicks, I don't know.

    How did the premature chicks hatch themselves? Did they zip the shell themselves and hatch early? I'm curious as to how people do staggered hatches, too ... maybe their incubators are set up in a shelf-system, where they DO have the necessary higher humidity on the top levels, while the bottom levels stay lower?

    I hope others have more input for you, and best wishes heading your way.
     
  6. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I'd have suggested the temp spike too, but Jschaaff said that the first 20 eggs which were subjected to the spike on the first night hatched out fine and healthy on day 21, not early as you might expect, and it's the two lots of 8 eggs that were added to the bator AFTER the temp spike that have been hatching prematurely. It's just not possible that the temp spike of the first night caused problems with eggs that weren't even in the bator at that time.
     
  7. Jschaaff

    Jschaaff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    New Hampshire
    Gypsy07: Thank you [​IMG] It's amazing, I went upstairs after posting and both viva and honor are holding their heads up, AND walking around. Granted they are smaller, and wobbly [​IMG] But they should be fine!
    I gave Trust a couple drops of water/honey with my finger. She never opened her eyes, but swallowed it right down. Then back into the bator for her.

    Pete55: Ah I know staggering hatches is not a good idea. I am not a fan, and have never chosen to do it before...always been worried about lockdown, humidity etc. But in this case, thinking I was going to lose the other eggs, and having no more roosters...I had to put in what I could. I am sure the peeping and being rocked about by the others certainly contributed to the early hatch. It definitely could not have been the temp spike, because these eggs were not added until after the temp had stabilized to 101, and I never had another issue with temp or humidity. Thank you, for your help!

    Cherstin: Hi, and thank you. No my incubator is a $45.00 styrofoam, still air bator. It's as basic as they come, and definitely not meant for staggered hatches. Again, under normal circumstances, I never would've staggered them in the first place. Of the two that passed away, and the 3 remaining early birds, I only saw two hatch myself, but it was the same as the rest: pipped a hole, eventually cracks ran from the hole, and then eventually they pushed themselves out, i mean Viva came out with one huge push...boom...he was there... but as soon as they were out (but still completely attached to their eggs [​IMG] ), they stopped moving...Viva slept for almost 14 hours straight after hatching. They just weren't supposed to be out yet [​IMG]



    Trust is still barely moving on her own, and is still sleeping, but her eyes opened for the slightest second when i put a warm cloth on them.

    Viva and Honor are tiny, but wow, Viva just ate. They'll be okay [​IMG]

    I definitely will not be staggering hatches, for any reason, ever again.
     
  8. Cherstin

    Cherstin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2009
    North Port, FL
    Yay! [​IMG]

    You know what this means ... PICTURE TIME! [​IMG]

    I just started 3 eggs today. I have a teeny, tiny incubator. It makes it tough, because even if others are getting an 85% hatch on shipped eggs, it usually means I'm going to lose at least one, dropping me to 66%. Bummer!

    Photos always help to get through the 21 days! Still keeping my fingers crossed for your little guys and gals!
     
  9. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    the bleeding of hatching chicks is caused by a Vitamin K deficiency..

    do you have any chick vitamins that you can add to their water?
     
  10. Jschaaff

    Jschaaff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 25, 2011
    New Hampshire
    I will be going to the feed store today, so I will get some vitamins for all the chicks. Thank you.[​IMG]

    UPDATE! My family thought I was going to have to cull Trust...but I wasn't willing to. She spent 24 hours in the bator...sleeping...and then suddenly...she was like...wait, I'm awake...I'm here!!!

    So, Trust, Honor and Viva are all tiny but alive and kicking!! [​IMG]


    Pics with their siblings for size comparison. Remember they all hatched the same day but these rugrats went thru a lot. I am a very happy momma.



    Viva and brother
    [​IMG]


    Honor and sibling
    [​IMG]

    Trust and sibling
    [​IMG]

    Thank you all for your help and thoughts. I appreciate it!


    Truly,
    Jessa
     

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