Should I help this chick hatch or it is ok?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by evers310, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. evers310

    evers310 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2011
    Last night about 9 or 10pm I opened the incubator to turn my eggs and I noticed that one had pipped (I didn't see it before opening the incubator because it had pipped underneath the egg so it wasnt visable till I went to turn it) anyways i hurriedly turned the others and left that one alone to preserve my humidity (its been as low as 60 but i've tried to maintain it at 80% and today is better as far as keeping it steady. i also havent opened the incubator since then) It's now 11:45 am the next morning and its made no progress that I can see although it peeps and is constantly moving its beak at the opening but thats all. (I'll attach a picture so that you can see what I see)

    Using a wooden skewer and inserting it thru one of the ventilation holes in the top of the incubator I managed to turn it just a bit so I could see the hole better and i've tried keeping it moist by dropping a little bit of warm water on the area thru a straw. I am afraid the membrane is drying out too much and maybe thats why it isnt making any further progress? Last night using the pointy end of the skewer i very gently caused the membrane to rip just a little bit more and it looked like where it tore was tinged in red so I associated this with blood and immediately stopped messing with it. I did all of this without opening the incubator and this is all I have done to "help" it thus far.

    The only reason I'm even considering interfering is because all my babies are my heart and I'd do anything not to lose any of them but I also completely understand that I can not save them all.

    Another egg had pipped last night as well but as of this morning its started to zip without any of the egg shell falling off so I'm not that worried about its membrane.

    The membrane on this egg I'm concerned about is very exposed. My instincts want me to take it out and just help pull the membrane apart while it moves around and pushes (to let it do as much of the work as possible if infact the membrane is posing the problem) but if I open the incubator to take it out, will it harm the other egg? And if I take it out, how can I keep it moist enough to not do more harm than good? Its VERY VERY humid outside as its been raining today and I live in Ga- so I thought about having a heat lamp over a box outside and help him hatch there? it isnt very humid in my house at all. Also I worry that it may not have absorbed all of its egg sac yet?.... sigh....

    It isnt a weak baby. It a very cute yellow chick (probably either an orpington or a deleware baby) and is very active. You can see its membrane is dry though just by looking at it :-( Last thing I want is my very lung-healthy, active little one to exhaust itself and die on me :-(

    I took these eggs from their mother 2 days ago because sadly she was stepping on the eggs, shattering their shells and the babies had to die just days before they were ready to hatch :-(

    Please give me any and all advice as I'm not experienced, do not want to do more harm than good and would like your help! Thanks!


    Link to larger picture:
  2. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    ok.. first.. if you're in lockdown.. stop turning the eggs

    Second.. I can't tell from the pic.. but if the membrane looks like it's VERY white.. it's becoming too tough for the chick to break through..
    in my experience a large pip and a weak chick will result in the death of the chick for that reason

    so take a good look at the membrane.. if it looks a little dry it's ok (moist is preferred).. if it looks white and thick then you need to help the chick out.. it's a bit of a process and if done wrong WILL kill the chick
  3. Memphisjourney2seramas

    Memphisjourney2seramas Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2011
    If you do help and see any blood, stop! It can die from blood loss
  4. evers310

    evers310 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2011
    It does get very white and when I add the warm water to it thru the straw it goes clear again and dries out etc.. sometimes it looks yellowish like in the picture.. that was before I added water again too.

    I also just noticed when using a flashlight that the membrane is kind of "breathing" with the chick so I'm worried that it could be stuck to it? How can you tell?

    And If I do have to help it hatch as mentioned in my previous reply, can you please explain how to do this so it is done correctly?

    My gut is telling me to do something quickly.. :-(

    Will taking this egg out harm the other one thats cracked? If so whats the best thing I can do to avoid hurting it?
  5. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    if you do need to intervene ..

    first wash your hands
    second get some paper towels and moisten them with warm water.. also get a small dish of warn water and a Q-tip if you have one

    quickly remove the egg from the incubator.. start removing JUST the shell from around the area where the chick has pipped.. only remove shell which the membrane has pulled free from
    basically it's like peeling a hard boiled egg.. but you want to leave the membrane intact

    IF YOU SEE BLOOD STOP.. and immediately wrap the egg with the wet paper towels (keeping them away from the chick's beak) and return it to the incubator for at least an hour

    if you do not see blood but have removed all of the loose shell.. take the moistened Q-tip (or your finger) and moisten the membrane.. wrap the egg with the wet paper towels making sure you cover the membrane and return it to the incubator

    if you end up removing the shell and there is no blood you can gently help the chick tear the membrane.. do it slowly.. blood means that the veins haven't closed off yet and that the chick has not absorbed the yolk

    it's always better to help a little letting the chick hatch on its own than to jump in and rush things
  6. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:it you remove the chick quickly from the incubator the other chick should be fine.. just make sure you keep the humidity of the incubator high

    the membrane going transparent is a good thing. that means it shouldn't be shrink wrapped.. the membrane will be very close to the chick's body (it's very cramped in there).. so you should see breathing so long as the chick is still alive

    be careful using a straw to add water to the membrane.. it's very easy to drown a chick that way
    Mamahenning10 likes this.
  7. evers310

    evers310 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2011
    Yinepu- thank you. I'm going to get everything together then get the egg out and work with it as per your instructions. I will let you know in a bit what happens...

    Thanks again :)
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I'll offer a bit of different advice. You'll find we often do things differently on this forum.

    When a chick hatches, it goes through a process. It internally pips, eventually externally pips, and eventually zips. Between these events, it is not just laying there resting. It is absorbing the yolk, drying up the blood vessels outside its body, and going through whatever other processes it needs to do to hatch. Some chicks do a lot of the absorb the yolk, dry the blood vessels, and such between internal and external pip. These usually zip fairly soon after external pip. Some wait until after external pip to do most of these things. These are the ones that drive us nuts waiting for them to zip. Some don't totally finish before zip. Often these are fine, but occasionally you lose some of these.

    It can take a real short time between pip and zip or it can take more than 24 hours. There is nothing consistent about it. If you try to help a chick before it is ready to zip, you stand a real good chance of killing it. But, if one is in trouble and you don't help it, you stand a good chance if it dying. It is not always an easy decision. You are looking at them and we are not, so it has to be your decision.

    When you open the incubator you stand a chance of shrink wrapping a chick. A chance, not a sure thing. I've done it so I am convinced it happens. I did not shrink wrap each and every chick the times I have done it, just one in two separate hatches. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

    The way I help a chick that is shrink wrapped, I take a cup of warm water, not hot enough to burn the chick and not cool enough to chill it. Somewhere around 100 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit would be about right, but I just go by feel. from my experience it does not have to be exact, just not etreme. I dunk the chick and egg in the water but keep the chick's head out of the water. Otherwise you will drown it. After it has soaked a bit, I gently pick off the shell. Usually it is separated from the membrane so you are left with a chick wrapped in the membrane. I then gently start to tear the membrane so the chick can get out. I again soak the chick in the warm water to wash some of the gunk off, but when it dries, that down will be stuck down like it was glued. I don't worry about it. I've never had that cause a problem as long as the chick can walk and move. The other chicks don't bother it and it wears off in less than a week. I even gave one like that to a brooyd hen and she accepted it. It bothers some people though and they rinse the chick off a few times to try to get rid of it.

    After helping it, I put it back in the warm incubator for it to dry. Then I treat it like any other chick.

    The big question is tell when you need to intervene. Like I said, you are there looking at it. I'm not. I usually don't help until I see yellowish foam start to come out of the pip hole. That means it is about to choke to death. You may decide to try earlier, but for me that is the now or never moment. I don't save all of those, but I do some.

    Good luck! It is a traumatic time when you have to help a chick. Just try to not help too early, because that can also be traumatic. It is not easy deciding.
  9. MommaB

    MommaB Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 16, 2011
    I am still very new at this but I will tell you my story. Prepare yourself in case the chick has problems. I had a horrible hatch my first go round only 5 of 27 pipped. The first 4 were fine. The last lay as yours did for what seem like forever. I finally knew that if I didn't it would die so I carefully removed the shell following precautions and my chick actually had a leg deformety. I guess natural selection was taking place. I nursed it for days hoping it was just weak but my hubby had to put the poor thing down. It couldn't stand. I'm not sure how I will handle things this next time. I did, I think, pull a tiny bit of seperated shell away from another chick but it came out on it own other than that.

    I will be very torn if I come to this road again. I tear up at the thought of leaving one to fend for itself if I might could help, but I can't stand the thought of helping one that natures deems better dead.
  10. evers310

    evers310 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2011
    Ok so now I've realized that we have a much bigger problem than a dry membrane... after pulling the shell away from the membrane a bit i discovered that the chick never pipped thru its air sac! you can see it plain as day in the larger end of its egg and it has pipped thru the side of the egg and it appears to be where the yolk sac is because you can see the tiny blood vessels right around its beak!

    there was no blood when i was pulling off the egg shell but there was some blood if i pulled at the membrane. I stopped with the membrane, shot this pic so you can see what I see and ran in here to get more advice as now it looks like everything has changed....

    NOW WHAT?!?!?..

    fyi its still peeping and "biting" at the membrane right there.. (thats all its been doing for over 12 hours now) Help!


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