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How do chicks know which side of the egg to pip on?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by mshuntjump, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. mshuntjump

    mshuntjump Songster

    Feb 13, 2012
    Memphis, TN
    Title says it all


    Mr MKK FARMS Crowing Premium Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    Instinct... I guess!
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Well, they don't. There are enough posts about "pipped at wrong end" and I've had a little cockerel hatch upside down, myself.

    With that said, we try to help them develop "the right way" by keeping the big end up, or the eggs on their sides in the incubator.

    Others may have something to say about this, though. :)
  4. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member Project Manager

    Aug 23, 2012
    My Coop
    They embryo grows in a normal position, see diagrams below. Malpositioned chicks are caused from lack of propper turning during incubation as well as turning them after lockdown...and of course natural situations.. this is from my notes... stuff is amazing isnt it! oh and this site filled with malposition info Recognising Developmental Stages and Malformations scroll down to the table of positions.... http://www.thepoultrysite.com/artic...-hatchery-practice-examining-the-hatch-debris



    Understanding The Hatching Process

    Between the 15th and 16th days, the chick orients itself so that its head is near the air cell at the large end of the egg. Not long before the chick is ready to attempt to make its way out of the shell its neck acquires a double bend so that its beak is under its right wing and pointed toward the air cell.

    21 DAYS is just a baseline for hatching eggs.
    Many chicks can take 23 - 25 days!
    Some pip internally and fully hatch in hours while others will be 24 hours or more.

    Egg movement! Eggs can “Rock n Roll” days before they are due to hatch!

    The initiation of hatch occurs partially from the increased carbon dioxide level in the egg. This process causes the embryo to begin twitching it's muscles allowing the inner shell membrane to be punctured by the egg tooth. The chick then begins breathing the air in the air cell. Using its egg tooth, it pecks at the shell thousands of times and after a few hours the chick pips a small hole through the shell and begins to breathe air directly from the outside. After the chick has made a hole in the shell, it stops pipping for 8+ hours sometimes up to 24 hours and rests.
    During this time, it is acclimating its lungs.

    After the resting stage is completed the second stage of pipping begins. The chick begins to turn slowly inside the egg. As the chick turns counter-clockwise it uses the cutting edge of the chick tooth to chip away. As the chick progresses in its movement around the shell, it begins pushing on the large air cell end of the egg. Squirming and struggling! YES STRUGGLING! The chick works feverishly pushing at the cap. Finally with a shove the chick breaks free from the shell wet and exhausted. When the chick is freed completely from the shell it lies still. Its energy has been virtually exhausted, and it is extremely tired. After resting the chick begins to gain more and more energy and coordination of its muscles.

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    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
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