1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

HELP Sticky chicks hatching and dying!!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ChickenLittleMe, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. ChickenLittleMe

    ChickenLittleMe New Egg

    3
    0
    9
    Feb 1, 2015
    Hello All & Thank you in advance for your help! I've been faithful reading this blog while I incubated my first batch and initial at lock down I was thrilled I thought I'd have 17 babies. My temp stayed stead and humidity ranged from 50-54 day 1-18 (in California it was a super weird month wet and cold) I read a lot on humidity and thought this was ok but now for the future I need advice what do you all recommend for day 1-18?

    Anyway my first chick hatch on Monday day 22 at 7:15 am (humity 62 but I will say there was moisture on the windows as I used sponsors to bring my humity up) I left for work and came home to now 6 chicks. By that night I was up to 8. Since this was my first batch I didn't know they were suppose to fluff up so fast. At this time I had 3 chicks that had pipped and stopped chirping so I tried to just peal back their shell but sadly all 3 were wet & had passed away. The bator was barely opened and at that time no other eggs had cracked shells. To my surprised Tuesday 2 chicks hatched while I was at work I had 10 baby chicks only 1 seemed week at 4pm when I came home. I went and took care of my horses and went to see if the chicks from day 1 were dry enough to go into the brooder. When I went in one of what was a bouncy chick was laying almost dead. I took him out and put him under the light but he passed away I thought maybe nature.

    At this time I noticed all my chicks were dry but the reason they were not fluffy was they had this glue like texture that matted their feathers down, I also noticed my weak chick was not doing well. I looked up on here and it explained sticky chicks and that warm water towel try and get in the incubator to fluff up. I did this although very minimal water as I was scared and I dried, quick and one by one did this and heated them up im the incubator. Before bed my weak chick passed away and I noticed yellow fluid like amnio fluid out his poor beak. I've read in the egg chickens can drowned is it possible he struggled hatching due to the goo and ingested the fluid so these sticky chicks may have fluid in their lungs ?

    Then to make matters worse I woke up to move my 8 chicks to the brooder before work and 3 more of my babies passed away!' I am horrified & so upset!!

    From my reading it had to do with humidity but here I ask for the help of the experts and advice WHAT HAPPENED? [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    This morning 4 of the 5 chicks looked great, however 1 more looked a little weak. I'm so worried I'll come home to more babies dead. I plan to do egg autopsy on the eggs as I know 3 more were moving on day 18 when I candled before lock down.

    Please help me!! The chicks are better but still there feathers are matted do I use warm water & try to work the sticky stuff off? I'm worried as they look bald in spots & I know they need their fuzz to be warm (they are under a lamp).

    What caused this traumatic and sad event to occur. I thought I was so well prepared but I know something majorly went wrong & I'm beating myself up as im such an animal lover.

    My incubator has an auto egg turner , a digital temp & humity reader & control & a built in fan. Please ask any questions if I did not provide enough info! I just really need help as I was so excited for my first hatch I thought on lock down I was going to have great success & it's been a huge tragidity!

    The Manuel said that 37.6 degrees Celsius which is 98.68 degree Fahrenheit was recommened. On Friday I am reloading the bator so any explanation of what happened & why my poor babies are dying. Any advice on if I should work more on getting their feathers unmatted. They are on save-a-chick water and medicated mash food! Being a speech therapist im just worried if they were in gooey eggs & drowning their little lung might not make it and in terrified over losing the whole batch when I had 10 hatch 3 pip but die, and I know 3 more eggs once I look they took will be fully developed! I know I'm repeating myself but PLEASE help!! New eggs going in friday and I can't have this happen again I'll be so traumatized for life!
     
  2. Lalegid

    Lalegid Chillin' With My Peeps

    222
    13
    73
    Oct 26, 2014
    Oh no, that's awful for you! I'm sorry to hear your hatch hasn't gone well. I don't know enough to really give you any new information sorry, the only thing that crosses my mind is the possibility of infection? Was the incubator clean and sterile before setting eggs? And were the eggs clean? I suspect I've had chicks die from infection before, they seem to get sleepy and just die within 24-48 hours of hatching.

    Can you clarify how long they were in the incubator after hatching?
    Did they die while still in the incubator or was it once you moved them to the brooder?
    Are they/ were they eating chick crumble and drinking? Was the crumble too big for them (another issue I've come across, now I smash it up really finely for them).

    With the sticky ones I would gently bathe them in warm water and then try to peel the muck off them, you can use a hair dryer to dry them off.If you can get your hands on some chick electrolyte to put in their water this will help give them energy, or just make up sugar water. Make sure they are warm under the light (37.5-38 degrees celsius), and that they have a cooler place to retreat to if they are too hot. Also make sure there are no draughts

    Good luck with your little ones, I hope they're all strong and healthy now!
     
    2 people like this.
  3. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

    15,015
    2,479
    416
    Oct 11, 2014
    Gouverneur, NY
    It does sound as though your humidity was high. Are you trusting just the gages on the bator to monitor humidity and temp? If si, don't. They are known to be wrong often. My recommendation:get two new thermometers and a hygrometer. Check the thermometers to see if they are accurate. Personally, I prefer the dry incubation. I do not use water in the bator the first 17 days. At lockdown/hatch I up my humidity to 75%. Now, here's the thing and the key to knowing if your humidity needs to be adjusted. The air cells! The reason we control humisity is so that the eggs loose the proper moisture. Unless you are going to weigh them, the best way to monitor this is by monitoring your egg's air cells. Using one of the egg pictorials you can compare your air cells to that and know if they are growing at the right rate. If they look too big, then you know you need more humidity because the egg is loosing too much moisture. If the air cell isn't big enough, you know that your humidity is too high and needs to be lowered so the egg can loose more moisture.
    [​IMG]
    This is a graph of where they should be at key gestation dates.

    Forced air incubators should average 99.5 degrees F.

    Another thing I suggest is getting some sav a chick for the water for the first couple days. The TSC stores carry it and I imagine that a lot of feed stores would as well. You want the electrolyte version not the probiotics.
    You can use some warm water to try to moisten and remove some of the stickness. Just don't let the chick get chilled.
    There's always a possibility it is something else, but to me with them being sticky and fluid at the beak sounds like high humidity.
    I hope you have much better luck with teh next hatch and sorry to hear you've lost so many.

    I should clarify that dry hatch is not totally dry. You do not want no humidity. My bator holds 40% w/o water. You want to keep the humidity above 20/25% even with a dry hatch.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2015
    2 people like this.
  4. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

    15,015
    2,479
    416
    Oct 11, 2014
    Gouverneur, NY
    I see you are using the sav a chick. I missed that the first time.
     
  5. KelseyBoxer

    KelseyBoxer Chillin' With My Peeps

    174
    5
    66
    Mar 23, 2014
    South Jersey
    I agree that the humidity was too high. I also do the dry method and have had much better hatches. I did have to clean the dried membrane from a chick that just would not dry and fluff. I placed a towel on a heating pad and used warm water and q-tips to dissolve the goo. I knew the baby was going to die if I didn't do something. Her wings were stuck down and I'm sure she was very uncomfortable. She is now 6 mos old. Also the temp was too low on your hatch. Use more than one thermometer. Don't trust the one that came with your incubator
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. KelseyBoxer

    KelseyBoxer Chillin' With My Peeps

    174
    5
    66
    Mar 23, 2014
    South Jersey
    Forgot to say how sorry I am the hear of your losses. Don't give up. The eggs you set, the better it will get. And use this site for help. The members here are awsome!
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. ChickenLittleMe

    ChickenLittleMe New Egg

    3
    0
    9
    Feb 1, 2015
    Thank you so much for your kind words & detailed responses!! The chicks passed away in the incubator and I was so upset last night I spent hours reading... I'm certain it was the humidity being to high & yes stupidly I was relying on the digital gauge of the incubator. I ordered a Brensea spot check thermometer. But before It gets here as im setting new eggs on Friday I will purchase a thermometer & another hydrometer! I'm going to clean out my bator tonight & see where it naturally runs with humity for a dry hatch day 1-18. I feel so guilty that because i trusted the digital reader & likely kept the bator humity two high that I killed so many of what would of been perfect little chicks!

    When you candle do you mark your air cell with a pencil each time?? I watched progress but was afraid to draw on the shell in fear of cracking it's. I bought an LED candler that is like a flash light. Is it worth the money buying one of Brensea cand lets that you can just sit them on?

    I really appreciate all your responses! My heart hurts as I have a picture threw the window of the bator when it was full. I just pray my 5 little fighters are all well when I get home! The finest one had me a bit worried this am. I can't believe how much Ive learned from this blog! I'll be a regular around her now and im forever grateful for such a valuable community!!
     
  8. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

    15,015
    2,479
    416
    Oct 11, 2014
    Gouverneur, NY
    Don't beat yourself up. Hatching is a learning experience. I was angry at myself my first hatch for relying on my thermometer w/o checking it. Second hatch I was better prepared and 13/16 hatched. It's definitely a do and learn and a trial and error kind of thing. My first hatch I had 18 at lockdown that were moving and flipping in there. I had one survivor. One thing about hatching is, as hard as it is you have to come to terms that chances are you are going to loose chicks.

    I use a led light to candle with. My eggs to this point have been pretty much light-medium brown so the led has worked well enough. I did have two green that were almost impossible to see much so I winged it. I do mark my air cells with a pencil at days 7, 14 and 18 before lockdown, then when I take them out of the turner to lay them flat I make sure the lowest part of the air cell is up as that is generally where they externally pip.

    Hoping the ones left get nice and strong.
     
  9. KelseyBoxer

    KelseyBoxer Chillin' With My Peeps

    174
    5
    66
    Mar 23, 2014
    South Jersey
    I also mark the air cell with a pencil. I hold the light and my husband draws on the shell. I have the brinsea candler because alot of my eggs are blue/green and they are impossible to see thru. But I can see the air cell using either the brinsea or an LED light.
     
  10. ChickenLittleMe

    ChickenLittleMe New Egg

    3
    0
    9
    Feb 1, 2015
    You all are amazing thank you so much!! You are right I have to consider that there is a learning curve! I'm really hoping by having a hydrometer, another internal thermometer. I'll try hatching as long as my humity stays above 25 & I'll candle the eggs & do the line drawing. Thank you thank you for all the info!! I feel less horrible (still sad) that im not the only person in the world that this has happened too! My 5 little chicks are less stickum& fluffing out! They are doing excellent in the brooder!! I'm getting my new eggs friday from the best guy in town so hopefully by March 1st I'll have great news to share and im sure I'll have questions along the way!! Thank you again for your time!!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by