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Helping chicks out of eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by usedhobarts, May 30, 2016.

  1. usedhobarts

    usedhobarts Chirping

    Apr 18, 2014
    As a newbie to incubating l have learned the following. What I'm going to say is my personal opinion and only my personal opinion based on my results and experince.

    DO NOT, EVER NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE REGARDLESS OF YOUR MATERNAL INSTICNT HELP A CHICK OUT OF THE SHELL. There is no good result from it. It's already unnatural to incubate eggs. Imagine taking that further. It's bad news. Some chicks survive the help but most die anyway. The ones that do survive face a life of issues inflicted by you which include stunted growth, leg issues and many other unnatural problems.

    Let nature take it course as nature knows best. I know it's tuff seeing that cute little beak peeping out a hole and your totally convinced he/she can't get out without your help but I assure if it is meant to be it is. More importantly, if it's not, it's not.:(

  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi Premium Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop
    And I'll chime in with the exact opposite sentiment :p This is just my opinion too, of course. If you know what you're doing (this is important), there's no reason not to help a chick out, in my opinion. A lot of the time it's things like malpositioning that are keeping the chick from hatching, and this leaves no lasting effect on the chick after it's hatched. Case in point, I helped a chick out a few days ago that was malpositioned with its feet over its head. Nothing wrong with it, it pipped on its own, and then of course couldn't turn to get out, so I helped it. Now it's running around the brooder with its hatch mates, healthy as can be.

    Other things that can lead to a chick needing help to hatch are shrink wrapping, where you had the humidity too low in your incubator and the membrane sticks to the chick, preventing it from hatching. This too is nothing wrong with the chick and they'll do just as well as their hatch mates that didn't need help hatching if you help them out. There's also cases of a chick being so big and healthy that it's actually too big for its shell and physically cannot turn to get out. With help these guys get out and do excellently.

    If you do end up helping a chick out and something is wrong with it and it needs to be culled, well, you would have lost that one anyway. I feel it's better to try in case the chick is perfectly healthy than not and lose a potentially perfectly fine chick that just got a little stuck or was too big to hatch on its own. Again, that's just my personal opinion.

    There's no wrong way to do things when incubating (aside from things like temperature, of course). I've learned this from years of incubating. Some like to do it one way, and others like to do it another. What works for one might or might not work for another. I don't judge the choice not to help. I've always been a helper and I always will be. After years of helping chicks hatch, only one time have I run across a chick that couldn't hatch due to a problem that cost it its life, and that was slipped tendon, something that sometimes can be fixed. Otherwise, all the other chicks I've helped have gone on to lead happy, healthy lives.
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
    3 people like this.
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    @Pyxis put it very well here ^^ I have helped quite a few chicks hatch and most of them were perfectly fine. Sometimes things happen during the incubation process that causes the chick to become stuck in the egg. Other times there is something wrong with the little one and they're not meant to live… I can happily say that the majority of the chicks I've helped so far have been fine.

    When done correctly and at the right time, intervention can save a life.
    1 person likes this.
  4. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

    Oct 11, 2014
    Gouverneur, NY
    xs 2

    I have assisted with quite a few hatchers over the past 2 years and have only ever lost 1. All of the rest have gone on to be perfectly healthy happy and productive members of my flock. But assisting is not something that should be done lightly and should only be done once the vascular system has shut done between the chick and egg. Assisting too early is pretty much a death sentence to a chick. You also need to know when to stop after starting an assist. Assisting only after the chick has externally pipped and been given 18-24 hours at least is the first consideration.

    I would like to note that the reason that an assist is needed is going to play a big factor in it's survival rates. A chick hatching on time that needs assisting because of malposition or dried membranes has an excellent chance of thriving after being helped. A chick that is 3 days late and is already weak and has had delayed development has much lower chances, again, not impossible, but you musn't expect the same survival rates with a chick already at a disadvantage for life.

    By hatching chicks it is my opinion that you are taking on that responsibility and knowing that at times chicks will not make it and there will come a time you will need to cull a chick that is going to suffer.

    So I totally dissagree with the OP and feel that done right and under the right circumstances, assisting can prevent a loss that doesn't have to be.
  5. azjustin

    azjustin Chirping

    Apr 1, 2016
    Tucson, AZ
    And I will offer advice right down the middle of the conversation. Your mileage may vary though.

    I've learned through error and trial, that a chick that has only pipped typically ends in culling or dying at some (early) point if assisted. They get full attention with good feed, electrolytes, etc., and still fail to survive. I will no longer assist these eggs.

    A chick that has started to zip, mostly zipped, or just plain stuck to the membrane, seems to have an exponentially higher survival rate than the latter. These I have no problem assisting and sometimes feel obligated to do so since the lack of humidity in the hatcher probably caused it to be stuck in the first place. Typically a quick peel of the shell and membrane and they're out staggering around. Most of these do just as good as the normal hatchers.

    Keep in mind our humidity typically hangs out at a balmy 7-14% so chicks sticking to things is pretty easy to do.

    Anyways, not trying to start an argument, just offering a different viewpoint. If you have something that works for you, stay with it.

    Good luck.
  6. usedhobarts

    usedhobarts Chirping

    Apr 18, 2014
    After 2 more months of experience I have found the following.

    DO NOT ,help your chicks out of their shells. I don't care what others say who don't care about the chicks long term health. Hatching is a natural thing and the fact that your not sure whether your temp or humidity was correct is pointless. If a chick starts hatching it is meant to be. Trying to help the process only helps you. Let nature take its course. The last thing a chick does before it pops out is it puts its last leg into its hip socket and than pushes the shell off its bottom. If you think you can time that great. I don't think you can.

    If your new to hatching, let it happen naturally. Don't assume you did something wrong or worse that you can change the outcome.
  7. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

    Oct 11, 2014
    Gouverneur, NY
    These are the kind of rude narrow minded comments that rile me. "Who don't care about the chicks long term health". Ok, so apparently you haven't had success and don't know how to efficiently and safely assist, so you need to condemn and throw accusations at those of us who do and can successfully assist a chick?? I have no problem with those that do not or don't think assisting is worth it, I totally disagree, but to say what you said is plain ignorant. Many of us that have and do assist, have perfectly healthy birds- long term. As a matter of fact, I have never had an assist that has grown up to have problems. And your comment about hatching being natural, artificial incubation is NOT a natural hatching. And yes, you can change the out come, but it also depends on a lot of different factors on whether assisting is going to help. IF you are assisting hatchers too soon, forget it. If you are assisting hatchers that are overdue at day 23 or longer because your temps are that off, then chances are much lower that you are going to get a healthy hatcher. If you are assisting because of malpositions or egg condition of an on time hatcher with no deformities then chances of success are great. So here's my advice:

    If assisting isn't for you, then don't do it. If you are not comfortable or don't know how to assist correctly, don't do it. If you are against assisted hatching, fine, but don't throw your unfounded opinion at those of us that do or fasly give newbies advice that it never works. I have walked plenty of newbies through assisted hatching that have resulted it happy healthy chicks making it out.

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