Lost our first baby, wish I knew why


6 Years
Apr 17, 2018
Jackson, NJ
We had a sad morning. Last night we got to the new house (last there Monday morn) and found that mom and Bitsy (hatched last Fri) were on the bottom level of the small indoor coop we have inside instead of up in the nest box area. I don't know how she made it down the ramp. So I moved the other 3 eggs down with them. Mom was then sitting on them and Bitsy was under her and then came out but did not seem interested in eating.
This morning I found Bitsy's little body, still a bit warm and flexible but she was gone. I wish I knew what happened.
got hurt coming down the ramp
Mom accidently hurt her because of the size difference (Buff Orp mom, Serama chick)
something internally wrong from before hatching
Maybe couldn't eat the chick food

I had put one of those stand up heat panels about a foot or so away from the coop on the outside because the room had seemed a bit cold last night. I don't think it would have gotten hot enough to hurt her.

I hope the other 3 eggs hatch well. I did see movement when I candled them last night.

It was heartbreaking this morning listening to Buffy calling for the chick when I removed her body.
Sorry for your loss. :(

A ramp is a recipe for death with hatching eggs, in my opinion. The babes need to be blocked in with the mum (and food and water) for the first day or two, while hatching is finishing up.

When the chicks came out to check around she probably fell. She was LUCKY that the mum followed her to keep her warm and protect her from flock antics. Most my mums don't abandon unhatched eggs and an early chick that gets out the nest will perish. :hmm

Do you know how long she was off of the other eggs? Sounds like you might be having a staggered hatch? Those are ALWAYS difficult. Next time... make sure and mark your hatching eggs and collect any fresh deposits daily.

Hatching with broody's isn't as trouble free as some would lead us to believe. Accidents do happen. And could have been any of the things you noted.

I do always crush my crumbles a little extra for the bantams. But I don't hear many other people doing that.

Hope your others hatch strong! :fl:jumpy:jumpy
We were gone from Monday morning to Wednesday night so it could have happened any time during that period. She was alive and peeping on Wednesday night but did not appear too strong. She wasn't attempting to eat. Her body feels "empty" not sure how to describe it. Kinda like a stuffed animal with the stuffing removed. We did see some movement in the other 3 eggs before putting them back under the mom ON THE LOWER LEVEL!!! where they will remain. I have learned my lesson about ramps. I never expected the chick to make it over to the ramp since she was staying so close to mom.

I have no explanation why this chick hatched so early as opposed to the other eggs. They were all collected on the 16 and 17th of November. Their Serama moms were not broody at the time and the eggs were left all over the room. No evidence that they were ever sat on.

I will heed your advice about grinding the food for the next ones.

Thank you so much for your reply.
The last couple of years I grind all my chick starter for the first week to 10 days. I have had to many chicks just all of a sudden drop out and find that they were completely empty of food and skin n bones. It looked as if they were eating but had not. Since hitting the feed in an old blender a few times no lost chicks.
:hugs I am so so sorry. It’s terrible to lose them so early, and especially to hear the mom upset. I lost my first chick six days after I brought them home. It was awful :hugs
… A ramp is a recipe for death with hatching eggs... The babes need to be blocked in with the mum... Most... mums don't abandon unhatched eggs and an early chick that gets out the nest will perish....

Staggered hatches are likely the number one reason for healthy chicks dying, and one of the biggest reasons for failed hatches. All staggered hatches are the chicken keepers fault not the poor hens. Chickens do not share the human sense of commitment or moral duty, so if all the eggs that have a good chance of hatching and living do not hatch in a narrow time frame, then those pipped eggs or chicks are SOL.

Start by never leaving eggs that you desire to hatch in the nest, nor even for 24 hours. Next learn how to properly store hatching eggs. A healthy or successful hatch is a hatch where all viable eggs hatch in 12 to 24 hours. 8 hours is even a better time frame for eggs to hatch. Hens will quickly transition from sitting mode, to hatching mode and directly into brooding behavior. This will all happen within 48 to 72 hours of first pip.

You can count on chicks or pipped eggs dying if they are unable to keep up with the hens' instinctive schedule. Hint: A whole clutch of artificial nest eggs may make the start of incubating go smoother because the hen may begin incubation sooner if she thinks she has a full clutch or nest full of eggs. Never forget to date your eggs with a pencil and always eat or discard eggs that are more than 15 days old. Do check your hatching eggs once at about day 9 and discard any egg that is not marked and dated.

Eggs that have chilled to 40 degrees F are a lost cause. I didn't say that an egg or chick fetus could not survive if its environment was 40 F for a short period, but if the egg's content gets down to 40 F you may as well kiss that egg good by.

Finally never help a hen by removing her from the nest because you are afraid of her starving. Hens know how to hatch their children, humans not so much. And never put food & water inside the nest. Doing so may result in your hen soiling her nest.
Excellent information/advice which I will certainly heed.
In my case the eggs were collected in a two day period and were either put under the broody at night or the very next morning. I have no clue how that egg was so far ahead. They came from 2 Seramas that were not broody at all and were laying all over the tile bathroom they were in. One in the sink, another in the bathtub, one in the garbage pail etc. None of course in the box I provided with shavings.

The other 3 eggs seem to be on the same page when I candled them. The one that hatched was much darker than the others and I almost removed it since I thought it was bad. As it turned out, it was just much closer to hatching. I will never know why. Obviously I missed something.
Thank you for your help.
My next dilemma: Both Seramas are now broody, in the same box. I will start a new thread for that one since it is a different topic.

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