It was bound to happen.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ESD, May 9, 2009.

  1. ESD

    ESD In the Brooder

    Apr 26, 2009
    I've read and talked to people on both sides of the issue, that being, to help a chick out of its shell during the hatch. It just so happens the very first time I did it the little thing ended up with a "weird" left foot!! His/Her foot, or toes I guess, kind of curl around to the side. This little booger still moves just as good as the others, but I was wondering if that foot may have been the reason it was having trouble getting out. Surely not....what does a couple of funny looking toes have to do with peckin' yer way out of an egg? Anyway, just thought I would throw this out there and see what kind of comments or suggestions I might get for future reference.

    P.S. The whole experience makes me lean towards not touching a single one next time.

    Happy Mom day to all you wonderful Moms!!


  2. countrybum

    countrybum Songster

    Sep 15, 2008
    area pop. 96
    I have helped many along, not actually out, but along. I usually just crack the out shell and then keep the membrane and all moist and let the chick finish. I have only lost a few in doing so and that was when I tried to remove some of the membrane and it started bleeding. I learned not to do that.

    As for the toes, it may not be an issue and they may straighten up on their own. Or you could tape them to a piece of cardboard for 5 to 7 days and help them a little.

    Good luck
  3. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    That weird foot may actually have been from being in the egg too long. Don't beat up on yourself, if you hadn't helped it out it could have been worse. We expect perfection from trying to do Mother Nature's job. Well, we are not Mother Nature, nor are we a mother hen so some mistakes are bound to happen. Nothing that is ever re-created is ever as good as the original, such as replacing a mama hen with a mechanical incubator. All you can do is try and you did and have a living baby chick.
  4. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Crowing

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    Actually PUSHING out is a huge part of the process, if the weak foot was the one in the necessary position for kick out, it very well could have been the reason it didn't get out.

    Using tape or moleskin to hold the foot open will help some. Some it just gets worse no matter what you try.

    If the foot opens and uncurls and all it needs is time and strength and room for exercise, then what you did worked.
  5. CityChicker

    CityChicker Songster

    Mar 21, 2009
    I don't assist hatches. I should rephrase that, I almost never assist hatches. Granted, I used to do it when I was first starting out. Now, I seldom will.

    Experience has shown me over and over again that if a chick doesn't hatch, there is a reason. I now *only* help if there is an obvious reason the eggs aren't hatching like I know something went wrong with the incubator.

    I put the eggs in the incubator and leave them. I check once for fertility and that is about it. I definitely do not constantly candle them looking for "movement", heartbeats, etc... Messing with the eggs is probably the cause of more loss of eggs than anything else. Once I move the eggs to the hatcher, I don't check them until they are a day or two over. If some have not hatched by a couple days late, they are discarded.

    I know some will disagree with this approach, but in MY opinion, this has worked well for MY flock. I want only the strongest birds in my breeding stock.

  6. ESD

    ESD In the Brooder

    Apr 26, 2009
    At the risk of sounding like a big softy here...this was my first hatch and I did a lot of reading before I ever got started. I didn't even own a chicken for the first year or so when I started reading up on them. I'm a sucker for babies...cats, dogs, chicks, whatever it is I just hate to see them die off if I can help it, but I'm starting to see the reasons for letting nature take its course with some of them. "Lefty" as I call her moves around just fine, but having healthy, strong chicks will benefit everyone in the long run. I'm new here so I have a ton of things to learn, and it wasn't my goal to get everyone stirred up over this debate again, but I do appreciate everyones comments....I guess I'll have to go with my gut next time. I do know this, I put 25 eggs in and I "felt" like I needed to help 5 of them. 4 of those lived, three were perfect like the rest and only Lefty had any visible issues. So maybe this time it was worth it....thanks guys.

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