prematurely born chick; need advice for if it ever happens again :-(

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by normanack, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. normanack

    normanack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Question: if an egg is opened early, and the chick is alive, is there any way to save it?

    Situation: My broody started sitting on eggs 23 days ago.
    20 days ago I marked the eggs so that I wouldn't mix them up with other eggs that kept showing up in the box.
    The eggs were all brown; around day 18 all I could see was an airspace in each egg.
    On day 22 I put a stethoscope to the eggs and could hear nothing. I broke one open and it was completely undeveloped -- looked like a regular egg, just a little less than fresh.
    On day 23 I removed 2 eggs. The first was intensely and amazingly rotten and leaked green at the first small crack I made. I threw both eggs away and heated some essential oil to make the house liveable. (I had put the eggs in a plastic bag, opened it only enough to put my hand and an exacto knife in, and poked a tiny 1/8" long crack. That's all it took for Stink Bomb City.)

    Today (day 24) I took out the one remaining egg and just tossed it into the woods instead of bringing it into the house. It was alive. There was a fully-formed fetus -- legs, beak, eyes, down -- and a lot of egg yolk (seemed like a whole egg yolk), and a little blood. It was breathing. I was horrified at what I'd done. It was not big enough to fill the egg.

    Since it's still hovering around freezing here, I quickly took it into the coop and put it back in the nest. The broody took a minute to come back to the nest and didn't seem to notice it. Then she pecked at it. At that point I figured she would either mother it or eat it, and I didn't stay to see.

    My guess is this particular egg was laid the day I marked them. Or I marked the calendar a day or two off.

    I will never again open an egg before it explodes or a whole month has passed.

    My question is -- if for any reason an egg is broken prematurely, at what point is the chick viable outside the egg? Was this one, fully formed and breathing, but small and with a lot of unabsorbed yolk, too young to survive? Or was it saveable? I found a homesteading website that recommended wrapping the chick in a wet paper towel and putting it in a warm place, but I'm not sure how close to hatching an egg has to be for that to work.

    Thanks for any information or advice.
     
  2. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member

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  3. ChucktheChick

    ChucktheChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Did it die then?
     
  4. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  5. normanack

    normanack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you, Sally. From reading that article and looking at the eggtopsy pictures, I'm guessing this chick was very close to hatching. The yolk was clearly unabsorbed, but other than that it looked like all systems were go.

    When I set it back in the nest, the egg yolk was already ruptured.

    I clearly caused its death. While I feel horrible, it was a strong lesson that I'll never forget.

    1. Be sure the start date is absolutely accurate and recorded.

    2. Leave eggs alone even when you think it has been too long. (Especially with a broody.)

    3. Then wait longer.

    4. Get a better flashlight or a proper candling device before doing anything.

    5. Wait more anyway.
     
  6. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member

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    [​IMG] your very welcome sorry about the chick too
     
  7. normanack

    normanack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm so sorry that my learning came at the expense of a life.
    I'll never forget that poor wee chick.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
  8. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  9. normanack

    normanack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And today I found another marked egg in the coop bedding. Not only did I (probably) screw up the start date, I also screwed up the number of eggs I'd marked.

    It's probably long out of the nest. It's probably been cold for a long time. But I won't make that assumption.

    I dithered, trying to find a solution -- and saw my little Silkie hen Quoth. (She's black . . . "Quoth the raven, nevermore") She is nutty -- if she's in the pecking order, I don't know where -- sort of top and bottom simultaneously. She prefers being on her own. And she's been broody for several days now . . . not on any eggs. Just on the coop floor. She always does things differently.

    So I tucked the egg under her. She doesn't mind, the egg gets its chance (remote as it is), and if it explodes, it's on the coop bedding and I can clean it up, if the hens don't get to it first.

    Does that sound like a good solution? I hope so.
     
  10. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member

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    [​IMG] unfortunate and thank God for Silkies!
     

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