HELP!! Day 24 with no pip but living embryo?

Jun 7, 2017
Hi! This is my first chicken egg (only one- the others passed) and I just made this account so I'm pretty new. It's day 24 of a pretty rocky incubation- temp has been fine the whole time but the humidity was too high the first 18 days and while I thought it was fine during lockdown the air cell has almost doubled (though its now about where it should be). I float tested today and had movement, and candled for the heck of it and possibly due to the movement and I could see him trying to pip the internal membrane.

I was going to help, but seeing the movement made me stop. When do I help? Is there something I should be doing? I will do anything to save little Ham (he was in a green egg :) )



8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
Conway SC
I hope Amy or others see this and offer you a hand---have you posted it on her hands on hatching post? I never have this problem and have hatched many, many eggs----1000's and I have no experience in days late hatching---never had it to happen. Hope they can offer you some help and save Ham!!
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Humidity Queen
5 Years
Oct 11, 2014
Gouverneur, NY
First, the reason you are seeing the air cell "double during lockdown" is because after lockdown the air cell draws down in preparation for hatch. This is normal. Sometimes draw down is so significant it will be half way down the egg.
Second, I highly suggest you check and double check the thermometers. Late hatchers are a sign of low temps during incubation. Forced air incubators need to maintain 99.5F while still air should be 101-102F taken near the tops of the eggs.
Third, there's not much you can do without the chick making a pip. If it's not even internally pipped by day 24, chances aren't very high for a healthy hatcher. Not impossible, but not probable.
The further past day 21 the higher probability of weak, failure to thrive chicks, and the lower probability chicks assisted at this late will thrive. I am NOT saying there is no use trying. I believe in giving everything a chance, but I need to be realistic as well.
Now, if he pips and has at least 24 hours after pip, with no progress I would start an assist. However, an assist is only safe to do if the vascular system between chick and egg has shut down. Commencing with an assist before this has taken place has a high probability of causing bleed out. If you do end up with a hatcher I highly recommend having electrolyte enhanced water in the brooder as he will probably need all the extra help he can get.
Jun 7, 2017
Thank you SO MUCH for your help. We sat down to try to figure out what we did wrong and compared images of a previous death (around day 12) to images we found online- the embryo appeared to be closer to the day 6 one on the website. We are thinking that, since it is a still air incubator and we were measuring near the top, that the incubator was cooler than we thought and that the development of the eggs was just slowed. I'm going to check the egg tomorrow and see where we are- if it's internally (or externally) piped and if veins are still visible.

We kinda jumped into this head first without a whole bunch of information- we've done a lot of research since then but hopefully our early mistakes haven't doomed little Ham. You guys are the best; thank you!!
Jun 7, 2017
Update- I candled today and there was an internal pip. Tapping on the shell and whistling got me two very weak cheeps, and holding the egg up to my ear I could hear light tapping. I'm worried the little guy is too weak to pip- I have to leave until about 4:30 but if I got back and there was no change I was going to break into the air cell and see what's going on.

Also, during candling I couldn't see any of the veins present yesterday, so I'm worried he's ready to come out but is too weak.

Should I be doing something different? Also, can you give newborn chicks garlic and ACV in their water, or should I wait? Thanks :)

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