Oh no! I think I killed the chick?!


9 Years
Feb 23, 2010
Central Washington
My first time broody was due to hatch out her eggs yesterday or today. Nothing yesterday, but when I checked on her this morning there was a chick that wasn't underneath her. It still had some of the shell on it and almost all of it was still covered with the membrane. I pushed momma out of the nest and nudged and poked the little chick. No noise, no movement nothing.
I let momma get back on the nest and then she started pecking the chick. So I decided it was dead, brough it inside and through it away. About 4 hours later I went to take out the trash and when I picked the sack up from the garbage can I could hear peeping!?! ACK! Dumped garbage all over my floor and got the chick out.

I am SO new at this and I really wasn't sure what to do , so I just took the membrane off of the chicks head. Then went out, pushed momma off the nest and tried to get her to take care of the chick. (BTW there are still 10 eggs under the broody, and now 2 have pipped). She wouldn't have anything to do with it. She pushed it off to the side again (it was oh so cold when I got it out of the trash)

Maybe I'm stupid and just holding on to something that's not going to happen....but then I decided to take the chick into the brooder in the garage. Put it under the heat lamp and waited. She (we'll go with she for now) got the rest of the membrane and the shell off, and has scooted around the brooder some. She's almost completely dried out now. But I have a few questions and decided to come and ask the experts before I do any more horrible damage

1) part of the membrane and shell is still attached to the chick, like an umbilical cord. Is that ok? Will it dry up and fall off on it's own? Do I need to do anything with that?

2) What's normal activity for just hatched chicks? I've only seen them at the feed store or been sent them in the mail and they're all little peeping fluff balls. This one is still really lethargic, can't stand up, and peeps only occassionally. Is that a bad sign that it's not going to make it, or is this normal behavior for the first 12 hours of life for a little peep?
What I have seen is that there is an umbilical stump that sometimes is present and will fall off on its own. I haven't seen a long one though. I wouldn't worry.

I would dip its beak in sugar water every hour, keep it under a heat lamp 90-95 degrees under the light, and have food available. Here is the sugar water recipe:

Scroll down for very stressed chick sugar water recipe:


Yes, just hatched chicks stumble around and can't stand well if at all when they first come out of the shell. It is almost like they have to unfold their limbs slowly at their own pace.

I wouldn't handle her much either until she perks up, except to give her water (dip her beak). Hopefully she'll come around.
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Wow that's a lucky chick to survive being in the garbage!
The poor little guy has probably been through lot of trauma and needs a good long rest. It may also help pep it up if you put sugar in his water. Just leave him in the brooder and it'll probably be up and walking by tomorrow.
yeah the umbilical cord thing is weird. It is really long (at least 3 inches) and the chick is dragging it around with it as it scoots around (it's not walking yet)

Should I dip it's beak in the sugar water? I've watched it quite a bit and it's scooting around, but not even keeping it's eyes open a lot. I have food and water in the brooder (soon to be sugar water, THANK YOU! for that recipe) but it's not interested in that at all.

You need to physically take the chick and dips its beak every few hours. The hangy thing is probably the umbilical cord with the drying egg yolk attached, sounds like it hatched a bit early.
Newly hatched chicks are not at all interested in food and water at first from my experience. I have only hatched three times with an incubator and once with a broody, but it takes them a couple of days to really get interested.

I am interested in getting it's beak dipped to ensure that it gets extra energy from the sugar and to help it along - it is necessary to teach them to drink as well, at least once (sometimes twice, lol).

You can cover your bedding with paper towels and sprinkle food on them so that it will be tempted to peck at the food.
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OMG thats terrible, Don't feel bad you did NOTHING wrong, the chick seemed dead, so you took care of it. The chick could possibly die, but even if it does don't worry, if it seems to be okay, and "chick like" take it out to its momma she should take it back then, if she dosn't want it, Brood it yourself only take maby two other chicks from the momma to brood with it, one single chick is a very UNHAPPY chick!!! I hope all goes well for you. Dip the chicks beek and make sure it drank the sugar water, they kinda raise there heads up and swallow the water....
I had two chicks die in my artaficial brooder... one i'm 100% positive it was dead (I came home and it was in the corner and hard, and another was really messed up, it was like sleeping and not moving at all, only moved its eyes when i picked it up, it had its head flung back on its back... I put it in its own brooder and it slept and didnt move, I had to go to school, but at like 8:30(am) i got a txt from my dad saying it died. I think he was more upset than me =/ he was like i tried so hard i got it sugar water and i made him comfortable and watched him... But it happens i told him. I really hope it turns out okay for you! keep updating!

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