How a chick can breath inside a egg


Free Ranging
Jul 27, 2017
Weatherford Texas
I’m wondering how a chick can breath inside a shell? Also how long should I wait after the pips start before I should help it along? Not talking about completely removing the shell just pulling off a little piece here and there.
There's an air cell at the fat end that sustains the chick until it can make an external pip. Once they've externally pipped the chick will finish absorbing the remains of the yolk and the blood that has been running through the membrane around it so it's important that they take their time to do everything they need to before they are ready to unzip the egg and finally hatch. A chick may be ready to hatch from that first external pip after 24 hours, but I've also had quail chicks not be ready until more like 36 hours after. So every chick is different.

Do read the article suggested by lazy gardener and you can also search for the article about 'assisted hatching' so that you feel prepared, but the vast majority of chicks do not need help, just patience (which is difficult - we know)!

Here's a great article about how they breathe during incubation too:
I read it twice maybe impatients or scared not sure. I can hear the pip from inside the egg and there is a small crack but it’s been that way all day. No advance since the crack

The chick is doing what it needs to do to enter the world safely. I know it's painful to wait but that's the best thing you can do at this stage. It really is torture waiting to see their cute little faces but if you try and help too early on you'll make the chick bleed which weakens it. Make sure the humidity is where is should be and sit on those hands! And post a photo when it finally hatches because we all love photos!

If it's still the same 24 hours after you first noticed the external pip that's when you can chip off a little of the shell and see if the blood in the membrane has been absorbed or whether it needs a bit more time. Vaseline or coconut oil can be applied to the exposed membrane if it starts to look yellow - white is fine.

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