Chicks hatching with problems?

Keggen

Songster
7 Years
May 24, 2012
264
1
108
Minnesota
I've had 12 chicks hatch with no problem but some are not doing well. This is my first experience with incubating so I'm not sure what's going on.

Some of the eggs pipped yesterday pretty early and were showing signs of the membrane getting dried out, turning dark and getting kind of brittle. Other eggs pipped and hatched within an hour to two hours of pipping.

The humidity has been pretty steady high around 80-85% but last night I noticed membranes drying out and turning brown so I wrapped those in damp paper towels. This morning at 4:30 one was hatching but having some trouble so I carefully wrapped that one too and an hour later it was pushing out so I took the top of the shell off and left it alone. At 730 it had left its bottom shell but is not looking so great. Its bottom has a red spot on it, like where the umbilical cord was, and it looks kind of raw. Is that normal?

Ok then I have other pipped eggs that have been sitting for almost 24 hours now with no progression so I started taking away some shell around the cap end just a little tiny bit at a time. 2 of them started little blood spots and I feel terrible for doing that. But why would they pip so early if they're not ready? I have them re-wrapped in damp paper towels and I'm leaving them alone now. Should I try again later or just leave them to figure it out? They seemed to pip big holes but they just don't look like the others did when they hatched. These look different somehow and I can't figure out why, except maybe they are less developed? If that was the case why would they pip so early? These eggs were all started on the same day and are from my own chickens and rooster, so I'd think they should be developing at the same rates.

I'm also having humidity spikes probably because of the towels, could that be harming anything? It got up to 96% for about an hour until I could get it down again to the 80's.
 

brahmabreeder

Songster
7 Years
Feb 22, 2012
2,516
123
211
Northeast Ohio
First off get your humidity down! I rarely have mine that high. Generally mine is only in the fifties during hatching until they start coming out then they naturally raise it up to 65%. Most chicks when they pip still have more to do before they can finally hatch so leave all pipped eggs alone. Another ote is quit opening the incubator you're going to cause more harm to the chicks.https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/step-by-step-guide-to-assisted-hatching I would look at this. I highly recommend that you don't help your chicks hatch. If they can't hatch naturally then it wasn't meant to be. Both times I helped chicks hatch they had a genetic problem and had to be culled. Plus helping them hatch I feel helps put bad genes into your birds causing more of them to not hatch properly/not thrive.
 

Keggen

Songster
7 Years
May 24, 2012
264
1
108
Minnesota
First off get your humidity down! I rarely have mine that high. Generally mine is only in the fifties during hatching until they start coming  out then they naturally raise it up to 65%. Most chicks when they pip still have more to do before they can finally hatch so leave all pipped eggs alone. Another ote is quit opening the incubator you're going to cause more harm to the chicks.https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/step-by-step-guide-to-assisted-hatching I would look at this. I highly recommend that you don't help your chicks hatch. If they can't hatch naturally then it wasn't meant to be. Both times I helped chicks hatch they had a genetic problem and had to be culled. Plus helping them hatch I feel helps put bad genes into your birds causing more of them to not hatch properly/not thrive.


That thread has so much helpful info, thank you!! So far they all seem to be doing ok still so I just re-wetted their towels but took out one of the pads that was holding some water to lower the humidity a little. It's now about 75-77%.

The one chick with the trouble is still not doing so well...just mostly sleeping and not getting up a lot but its toes are curled so I wonder if that is part of the problem, maybe it can't get up to stand on them?
 

Keggen

Songster
7 Years
May 24, 2012
264
1
108
Minnesota
Still struggling with 1 chick, possibly 2 with a problem. The yellow chick was born several hours ago and has not been able to stand up, but I also don't think it has really tried...so possibly 2 issues. It looks like it's legs might not be quite right, but it's toes are definitely curled up and wrong.

It also appears to be having a problem with it's bottom. It looked like the umbilical area was noticeably different, and it now looks like it's pooping but hasn't eaten.

Should I take a picture? It would probably help.

The chick also seems to be sleeping much more than the others but when it does wake it seems alert and tries to move around.

Chick number 2 is similar but not quite as bad. It's legs and feet are normal but it's butt also looks kind of swollen or something.

Any ideas on what this is or if I can help it somehow? They both absorbed their yolk and dropped their shell on their own. Just the first one seemed to struggle a bit.

I'll try to come back with pictures.
 

Keggen

Songster
7 Years
May 24, 2012
264
1
108
Minnesota
Ok here they are. Another one hatched with problems last night.

400



This chick is the one who probably could not stand up even if it wanted to.
400

400


And here us the last one
400


400
 

brahmabreeder

Songster
7 Years
Feb 22, 2012
2,516
123
211
Northeast Ohio
Not real sure what to do with the messed up ones. Personally I know this may sound cruel but what I would do is any that fail to get better on their own I would cull. Maybe some one will chime in on how to save/help them.
 

Keggen

Songster
7 Years
May 24, 2012
264
1
108
Minnesota
The yellow chick really wants to stand up but cannot. Ugh, I feel so bad for it. She just lays on her belly and flops around. She is much more alert and does not appear sick or lethargic.

The other two are up and moving around, looking good except for their butts.

I'm afraid to move them with the other chicks to the brooder in case of infection or bacteria affecting my healthy chicks. I don't have another brooder so I was wondering if I take these 3 out, do a really good clean of the incubator, put in a shallow dish of water and some food, could they stay in the incubator for a few days?

I think I'm going to put some iodine on their butts just in case.

Anyone else have any advice for me please? I read up on euthanizing the chick if need be, but I'd like to see if there is anything I can do to help it. I can't tell if the yellow chick is having problems standing because of its protruding belly/ butt area or a real problem with its legs. I can see the toes are messed up being curled and I read that there is a way to bandage them to help, but if she can't even get up on them yet I'm not going to bandage them yet.
 

HEChicken

Crowing
11 Years
Aug 12, 2009
7,552
209
356
BuCo, KS
My Coop
My Coop
I've had 12 chicks hatch with no problem but some are not doing well. This is my first experience with incubating so I'm not sure what's going on.

Some of the eggs pipped yesterday pretty early and were showing signs of the membrane getting dried out, turning dark and getting kind of brittle. Other eggs pipped and hatched within an hour to two hours of pipping.

The humidity has been pretty steady high around 80-85% but last night I noticed membranes drying out and turning brown so I wrapped those in damp paper towels. This morning at 4:30 one was hatching but having some trouble so I carefully wrapped that one too and an hour later it was pushing out so I took the top of the shell off and left it alone. At 730 it had left its bottom shell but is not looking so great. Its bottom has a red spot on it, like where the umbilical cord was, and it looks kind of raw. Is that normal?

Ok then I have other pipped eggs that have been sitting for almost 24 hours now with no progression so I started taking away some shell around the cap end just a little tiny bit at a time. 2 of them started little blood spots and I feel terrible for doing that. But why would they pip so early if they're not ready? I have them re-wrapped in damp paper towels and I'm leaving them alone now. Should I try again later or just leave them to figure it out? They seemed to pip big holes but they just don't look like the others did when they hatched. These look different somehow and I can't figure out why, except maybe they are less developed? If that was the case why would they pip so early? These eggs were all started on the same day and are from my own chickens and rooster, so I'd think they should be developing at the same rates.

I'm also having humidity spikes probably because of the towels, could that be harming anything? It got up to 96% for about an hour until I could get it down again to the 80's.
You said the humidity is 80-85% but is that measured with a calibrated hygrometer? Hygrometers often do not read correctly so need to be calibrated prior to every hatch. (To calibrate: take a ziploc bag and place a mug in the bag. Place 1/2 cup of salt and 1/4 water in the mug. Now place the hygrometer in the bag next to the mug. Seal the bag and leave it for 24 hours. At the end of 24 hours, the hygrometer should read 75%. If it is higher or lower than that reading, that is how much it is off by). So, if you haven't calibrated, your actual humidity could be higher or lower than the reading.

I shoot for 65% humidity when hatching. Also, because warm, humid air holds less oxygen, at a time when chicks need MORE oxygen (hatching is hard work!) I turn the temperature down a degree to a degree and a half at the same time I raise the humidity.

Regarding your question of why would they pip if they are not ready to hatch......slow down! Please! Chicks develop in the egg for 18-19 days but then start to run out of room. They pip the air cell (internal pip) inside the egg which gives them a little more room to move and also allows them to start breathing air for the first time. But the air cell only holds enough air for a few hours. So then they need to pip the shell (external pip) in order to get more oxygen. They are NOT ready to hatch yet - they just need more air. They still have yolk to absorb and usually do not start to zip until what seems like a very long time after that external pip. If a chick hasn't started zipping 24 hours after pipping, I would NOT consider it to be in peril. Yes, I've had some in a hurry to zip, who hatched within hours of pipping but I would say 24 hours after pip is more typical.

So, just because they have pipped, don't assume they are ready to hatch. Put it this way, I do not intervene at all if all I have is an external pip. The few times I've assisted it was when zipping was started but was not progressing, and in those cases it was because the chick was malpositioned or too big to turn and zip properly and was getting exhausted from trying. In almost all cases it is better to leave them alone while hatching. It is by assisting and trying to hurry them up that you end up with issues such as you are describing, where the umbilical area is torn from being hurried.

The best thing you can do for them now is to let them rest and hope they can recover their strength. They will be okay without eating for a couple of days after hatching.
 

Keggen

Songster
7 Years
May 24, 2012
264
1
108
Minnesota
Thank you for your response, I do appreciate it. However I am past the hatching phase and my concern is the 2 and 3 day old chicks with the affected bottoms. I will keep your information in mind the next time I hatch but for now I just need help on treating these 3 with some problems.

Thanks. :)
 

MANNA-PRO

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