Holes in abdomens - Not at navel!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ducktime, May 13, 2011.

  1. ducktime

    ducktime New Egg

    Jul 17, 2009
    This is my second hatch. I used a digital thermometer this time and had better results. I maintained a much higher humidity for the hatch 70% - and had a more complete hatch that dragged over 48hrs. I use two of the styrofoam incubators, setting and hatching in one and drying in the other. I tape plastic sheets around the edges to prevent temp. and moisture loss from opening/closing. (no vent holes are obstructed) This worked very well. Once they are hatched and standing well I transfer them to the drying incubator. The humidity in the drier is lower but I still have water in the tray...never completely dry. All went well with the first waves to hatch but then something went wrong and I need your help figuring this out.

    The last few that hatched looked perfect...strong hatching out, up and about quickly, looked great...then things went bad! They were the last to hatch so they were the closest to the "due date". They did'nt dry much in the hatcher as the high humidity and frequent pip/hatching prevented this. Once transfered to the dryer they continued to do well then they started evicerating (intestines/yolk sac coming out). The eviceration site was not at the navel (seen this before) but on the side of their abdomens! It was like all of a sudden the drying incubator had become the incubator of death. I started thinking that something in the dryer was cutting them or peircing their abdomens and creating a hole allowing the yolk sac and a loop of bowel to slide out. Their navels were intact and appeared normal. The holes were not in exactly the same place on each. The one that survived, once the tragedy started, is not terribly robust. He is only one sample of the last to hatch and may not be an accurate representation of the potential success of those lost.

    Here are my theories:
    1. There was something sharp in the dryer - I felt all around in the incubator trying to find something sharp. The bottom screen does have unfinished edges but I cover it with a cheese cloth and leave extra at the edges for protection.

    2. Once hatched they remained in too moist an environment - They were not drying and stayed very wet in the hatcher as the last batch came rapid fire. No one was getting dry so the strongest went to the dryer and then the problems started.

    3. They went from very wet to too dry an environment - They dried too fast.

    Were they still soft and they stepped on each other tearing holes in each other?

    Has anyone experienced this before? The defects were not at the navels, these were holes on the sides. In the end 3 didn't hatch at all (better than last time) and 7 had to be euthanized. What happened?

    24 chicks are doing well so far.
  2. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    Boy, that's a tough one. My best guess is that there was something wrong either with the genetics or nutritional status of the parents, thus something inherent with the eggs, or that at one very specific moment during the development process something was wrong with the environmental conditions in the incubator and it resulted in embryos not developing the abdominal wall and all of the associated tissues properly. Perhaps if that's the case, only the skin grew over, and then it ruptured.

    So sorry this happened to you. I'm just guessing here, and I hope someone has a real answer. I have had one hatch with the navel not sealed and intestines exposed, and it died shortly thereafter, but never heard of what happened to you.

    The incubation game is a hard one, having many ups and downs, and it can be sad and cruel as well as sweet and rewarding.
  3. ducktime

    ducktime New Egg

    Jul 17, 2009
    Thanks for the reply. Since everyone else hatched without issue (all the same flock) and the lost chicks were the closest to "full term" I have to assume it was mechanical injury from something sharp in the drying incubator. It was awful having to terminate them but I hate to see suffering especially when it was my fault. I'm just glad what ever was cutting the last batch didn't get the majority. Should I dismiss the theory of too moist/dry an environment? How do they get dried when more and more wet members keep joining the hatch and the humidity is jacked so high? I just have to transfer strong chicks out of the hatcher to the dryer...the trampling and pecking at fresh hatchers makes me crazy. Apparently it all works out for other people but I feel protective and have to separate. The plastic around the sides to prevent air exchange when opening worked perfectly.

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