Emergency help for new chick hatchin' teacher!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Bayoubabe76, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. Bayoubabe76

    Bayoubabe76 New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2012
    Here's my story in a nutshell and I need answers within the next two hours, please!

    Decided to hatch eggs with my students at school. The parish (yes, I am in southwest Louisiana) extension agent allowed me to borrow a Little Giant incubator with the automatic egg turner (but no fan). He provided 32 Rhode Island Red fertilized eggs. I read the instructions thoroughly. The extension agent argued with me about placement of eggs - he insisted that the small pointy end should be up. Since he is 76 years old, I reluctantly followed his advice. The eggs were placed in the incubator about noon on February 28th, so they should have started pipping March 20th or 21st. I have carefully regulated the temperature at 99.5 F and kept the reservoirs full as per his instructions. When no sign of pipping occured on the 28th I thought all was lost (mainly because of egg placement and too high humidity as per info on Internet sites). But lo and behold, one little chick has pipped a 1/4th inch hole overnight.

    Here's the problem: we hear intermittent chirping, but the hole is only slightly larger 5 hours later, and the membrane is white - not clear. The BIG PROBLEM is that our school system is on a 4 day school week, so today (Thursday, March 22nd ) at 3:30 p.m. CST, we will leave for our usual 3 day weekend and not return until Monday, March 26th.

    I live 45 minutes away in southeast Texas. I am more than happy to take the incubator and eggs and "hatching chick" home, but how do I do that safely???

    HELP, HELP HELP!!!
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  2. Bayoubabe76

    Bayoubabe76 New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2012
    OK - Let me correct a few things. Today, is the 22nd, and we should have had pipping on the 20th or 21st - not the 28th as previously stated. I was very surprised when I arrived at school to find a chick that had started pipping. So far, it is the only one.

    I am hoping someone will offer advice asap as my students and I are very anxious.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    This is not an easy one. Next year you will do better. Experience is a great teacher. And I hope you try it again.

    Totally forget everything that happened in the past and just look at going forward, at least for now. We can talk about that later. It’s not unusual for chicks to hatch a day or two early or late.

    Your biggest problem is that the chicks could get stuck in the membrane if it dries out. Don’t worry too much about the heat on the trip home. They are not likely to cool off enough for that to be a problem during that trip. Your problem will be keeping the humidity up.

    I’d suggest wrapping each egg in moist paper towels or something like that and take them home. Try to pack them where the moisture won’t evaporate and so they don’t roll around a lot. Some movement won’t hurt them but try not to shake them any more than you have to. Don’t obsess about the movement though, just take reasonable precautions.

    When you get home, set up the incubator. Put warm water in it, maybe a little above incubating temperature but not really hot. The idea is to get the humidity back up as soon as possible but those incubators don’t shed heat real well. You don’t want to overheat them.

    Unwrap the eggs and put them in the incubator and wait.

    Good luck with it. You are not in a good situation, but hopefully you can save some of them.
     
  4. ethingtonart

    ethingtonart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is a tough one. I agree with the previous poster on a course of action, unless you can gain access to the school over the weekend and then wouldn't need to move them at all.
    If your incubator was a still-air model (without a fan) then your temperature was too low, and the rest of the chicks are probably still alive and have a good chance of pipping soon too. So be very careful handling them. Keep whatever side of the egg that is up right now up the entire trip or you could risk drowning them.
    Good luck and keep us posted on the progress!
     
  5. Bayoubabe76

    Bayoubabe76 New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2012
    Thank you for your post. The chick is still peeping, but not really pipping...if that makes sense. I have Styrofoam egg cartons to transport the unhatched eggs in...with moist paper towels. I will follow your advice and wrap the pipped egg in moist paper toweling and transport it singly in a cushioned shoe box.

    I will take all the other chick stuff home, also - especially the incubator.

    Determined to do this correctly, I want to get some fertilized eggs and try again but this time at home so as not to disappoint a classroom of 5 year olds if my efforts are unsuccessful.

    I am willing to make the investment for a tabletop incubator. Does anyone have any suggestions? And where do I get fertilized eggs? (I really don't want to tell the extension agent about my poor hatch rate even when it is largely his fault. He was nice, but not very knowledgeable.)
     
  6. ethingtonart

    ethingtonart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That makes sense.
    There is some information on this website about assisting a hatch as well, you may want to look into it just in case the chick needs a little bit of help hatching. The membrane can dry around the chick's nostrils and suffocate it. I had this happen to a chick last spring. If the membrane does look very dry it might be worth the effort to remove a small amount of shell and membrane around the nostrils. This is just my opinion though, a lot of people don't believe that assisting is a good idea.
    If you need fertile eggs, I am sure a BYCer in your area would be happy to donate some eggs and know-how to your classroom! I am doing as much for my daughter's school this year. [​IMG]
    Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  7. Bayoubabe76

    Bayoubabe76 New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2012
    School is over in 15 minutes so I broke off a small part of the pipping chick's shell. The membrane appears bloody but dry. Is that normal? The chick is breathing well - almost panting, so I don't think I have to worry about suffocation. I am going to leave everything at school, but come back around 8 pm tonight to check. If no further progress, I will load everything up and try to continue hatching process at home. Gas is kinda expensive to be traveling back and forth all weekend. Will keep updating. Thanks to everyone for help and support.
     
  8. ethingtonart

    ethingtonart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's normal, the chick may have hit a vein when it pipped, I have seen that sort of discoloration before. It should progress after the rest of it's blood and yolk sac have been absorbed.
    It sounds like you'll have at least one chick, if not more. May I ask if this one pipped at the small end of the egg?
     
  9. Bayoubabe76

    Bayoubabe76 New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2012
    The chick pipped at the small end.

    I left the chick and the other eggs at school in the incubator. Went home (to Texas) then drove back to school (in Louisiana) about 8 p.m. last night. The pipping chick was out of its shell but was a mess - goo, poo, shell, and who knows what! Brought everything home and continued to "incubate."

    This morning, another chick had pipped but was dead - no movement at all.

    The only fully hatched chick, now named BeauxPeep, is really, really tiny! Just went to our local feed store to view their week old Rhode Island Red chicks. They are nearly 4x the size of Beaux.
    Baby Beaux is already spoiled. The only time he/she stops peeping is when he is being held.

    Baby Beaux hasn't eaten or drank anything that we can tell. Dunked his little beak in the water a few times. Offered baby chick food, but wouldn't eat.

    I guess I won't worry about the food/water until after the third day.

    Thanks for help and suggestions. [​IMG]
     
  10. ethingtonart

    ethingtonart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yay! I am so glad she made it! [​IMG] Keep dipping her beak until she gets the idea. If she seems to need some perking up your feed store should have a chick supplement to give her.
     

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