HELP! 2 chicks hactched successfully but mama abandoned other 2, don't have an incubator one is peeping

Eristas

In the Brooder
Jun 1, 2020
13
5
10
I'm currently sat with two eggs in my bra to hopefully keep them warm and humid enough! The mama has hatched two chicks successfully but then abandoned the other two eggs. One of the eggs started peeping in my hand and I could feel the chick moving around - the other egg I'm not sure about. I candled it and there is a chick in there but I don't know how he's doing. Advice please!!

Should I sneek these eggs back under mama after she goes to sleep? Is there a really simple way to rig up an incubator? I can't really move around too much with babies in my bra but I do have some help.

Update: I just got poked in the boob by the other egg, so it seems like that one is viable too and trying to peck its way out!

Update2: both of them have pecked a little hole in the shell so they seem to like my boobs. Have rigged up a diy incubator and am waiting for it to get up to temp and humidity!
 
Last edited:

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
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Would the mother be willing to sit on these again, if you take away the already-hatched chicks?

You would have to arrange a brooder for the chicks for a day or so, but could probably put them back with the mother after the late ones hatch.

Brooders are easier than incubators, because you don't have to worry about humidity, and because chicks can move around to find the perfect temperature.

I've read of people using various things for makeshift incubators: heat lamp, heating pad, oven, hot water bottles, hand warmers, etc. The problem with all of these is that it's difficult to get the temperature right and to keep it right, so you have to use a thermometer and pay close attention, frequently. (But if they're already pipping, then it won't be more than two days or so at the longest.)

Putting a wet sponge or wet washcloth next to the eggs can help raise humidity, although it might or might not be enough. Putting the eggs in something like a tupperware container with a lid could help keep humidity in, but the chicks would still need air, so you might need to poke ventilation holes. If you use a heat lamp plus a closed container, be aware that it could overheat like a car on a hot day.

Other things that might be a source of warmth: top of the refrigerator, hot water heater, yoghurt maker, baby-wipe warmer, "warm" setting of a crock pot or rice cooker, light bulb, computer, etc. You could walk around the house looking at everything that plugs in--some of them get warm or hot as you use them, and one might work.

Of course you need to check the temperature of anything you use, and keep checking it repeatedly.

Some heating pads automatically turn off after a certain amount of time.

The chicks/eggs will be producing a little bit of heat, so "almost warm enough" might be OK.

If you find something that's a little bit too warm, you could put some layers of towels between it and the eggs, and maybe get the right temperature.

I have never had to do this myself, and I don't know what things you have available, so I just threw out a bunch of ideas in case something works.
 

Eristas

In the Brooder
Jun 1, 2020
13
5
10
Would the mother be willing to sit on these again, if you take away the already-hatched chicks?

You would have to arrange a brooder for the chicks for a day or so, but could probably put them back with the mother after the late ones hatch.

Brooders are easier than incubators, because you don't have to worry about humidity, and because chicks can move around to find the perfect temperature.

I've read of people using various things for makeshift incubators: heat lamp, heating pad, oven, hot water bottles, hand warmers, etc. The problem with all of these is that it's difficult to get the temperature right and to keep it right, so you have to use a thermometer and pay close attention, frequently. (But if they're already pipping, then it won't be more than two days or so at the longest.)

Putting a wet sponge or wet washcloth next to the eggs can help raise humidity, although it might or might not be enough. Putting the eggs in something like a tupperware container with a lid could help keep humidity in, but the chicks would still need air, so you might need to poke ventilation holes. If you use a heat lamp plus a closed container, be aware that it could overheat like a car on a hot day.

Other things that might be a source of warmth: top of the refrigerator, hot water heater, yoghurt maker, baby-wipe warmer, "warm" setting of a crock pot or rice cooker, light bulb, computer, etc. You could walk around the house looking at everything that plugs in--some of them get warm or hot as you use them, and one might work.

Of course you need to check the temperature of anything you use, and keep checking it repeatedly.

Some heating pads automatically turn off after a certain amount of time.

The chicks/eggs will be producing a little bit of heat, so "almost warm enough" might be OK.

If you find something that's a little bit too warm, you could put some layers of towels between it and the eggs, and maybe get the right temperature.

I have never had to do this myself, and I don't know what things you have available, so I just threw out a bunch of ideas in case something works.
Thanks for the advice, I've taken an empty ice cream maker, put a lightbulb in with a foil heat shield around it and put a small container of water in it. I've covered the whole thing with a plastic lid. So far its up to 93.4 fahrenheit but only 38% humitity ( I thankfully have a very good thermometer with a sensor end). They have both pecked through the shell in one place and every 20 mins or so I feel another peck. I really don't want to have to keep them in my bra for 2 days! They're both 'cheeping' from inside the eggs. How long does hatching take once they've pecked a hole through? This is my first time hatching and had hoped the mama chicken would take care of this, but it looks like I'm a surrogate!

I was going to try putting the eggs back under mama after she goes to sleep for the night. I'm hoping then she would continue to sit on them at least till morning? At which point I'm hoping they may have hatched! Do you think that would work?
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
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I've taken an empty ice cream maker, put a lightbulb in with a foil heat shield around it and put a small container of water in it. I've covered the whole thing with a plastic lid. So far its up to 93.4 fahrenheit but only 38% humitity ( I thankfully have a very good thermometer with a sensor end).

Sounds good!

I was going to try putting the eggs back under mama after she goes to sleep for the night. I'm hoping then she would continue to sit on them at least till morning? At which point I'm hoping they may have hatched! Do you think that would work?

That might work, and it sounds like a sensible thing to try.

The last time I hatched chicks was some decades ago, but I remember that some went from no visible pip to completely hatched between bedtime and morning, while some others sat for what felt like forever with just a small hole, before they made any more progress hatching. So I can't tell how long yours will take.
 

Eristas

In the Brooder
Jun 1, 2020
13
5
10
Sounds good!



That might work, and it sounds like a sensible thing to try.

The last time I hatched chicks was some decades ago, but I remember that some went from no visible pip to completely hatched between bedtime and morning, while some others sat for what felt like forever with just a small hole, before they made any more progress hatching. So I can't tell how long yours will take.
I've been reading and it seems that some will peck their way out within an hour and others can take up to 18 hours to come out. They're both cheeping so I'm taking that as a good sign. One of them has pecked through the membrane and I can see a tiny bit of it so maybe I'll get lucky and they'll just hatch on me and then I can put them in the diy incubator to dry off. That'll give me a bit of time to construct a brooder. It's starting to look like I won't be going to bed tonight lol.
 

Eristas

In the Brooder
Jun 1, 2020
13
5
10
I've been reading and it seems that some will peck their way out within an hour and others can take up to 18 hours to come out. They're both cheeping so I'm taking that as a good sign. One of them has pecked through the membrane and I can see a tiny bit of it so maybe I'll get lucky and they'll just hatch on me and then I can put them in the diy incubator to dry off. That'll give me a bit of time to construct a brooder. It's starting to look like I won't be going to bed tonight lol.
I put one egg that was hatching more slowly back under the mum after she went to sleep, she seemed ok with it so fingers crossed that one will be ok.

The one in the diy incubator hatched!!! :)

She/he's now in the brooder as the incubator was way too small and he was flapping about a lot.
 

Eristas

In the Brooder
Jun 1, 2020
13
5
10
Glad to hear that one hatched just fine! I hope the other one does too :)
Thanks so much! It's morning by me now and the one that hatched we called "Titiana" lol. She's doing fine in the brooder.

Went outside to see mama but she has the 2 chicks under her so I can't see if she has a 3rd or not. Will find out when she moves a bit.

Any advice on giving Titiana back to the mama? She's a bit smaller (and a day younger) than her siblings so am a bit worried they might harass her? But also want to get her back with mama asap.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
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I suggest you tuck Titiana under the mother and see how it goes.

One day is not much difference in age, different size chicks usually do fine together (like banties and regular sized), and there might be another younger one if the other egg hatched.

Besides, they won't be bored all night under brooder lights if they're sleeping under the hen, so that should also help avoid harassment. And the mother might intervene if they try.
 

Eristas

In the Brooder
Jun 1, 2020
13
5
10
Thanks for the advice, egg #2 which I stuck under mama last night wasn't hatched this morning and mama left it again. I heard movement and cheeping inside so I brought it in the house and put it in the incubator and about an hour later it hatched! He's cheeping away in the incubator, was born about 45mins ago. Titania is in the brooder and the plan is to try and put both of them under mama tonight when she's sleeping.

I also got a nightvision wifi camera so I can keep an eye on them in the coop tonight. :)

Also, slightly uncoventional but for the brooder I made it out of a large tuppaware container (like a foot square) and put it on top of a seedling heat mat and put a small hot water bottle in. I need the lightbulb for the incubator. It seems to have worked well and Titania likes her underfloor heating! lol
 

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