Underdeveloped chicks

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by NewChick, Mar 30, 2007.

  1. NewChick

    NewChick Hatching

    Mar 30, 2007
    Hello all. I have very weak chicks who are in serious trouble, and I would be really grateful for some help.

    This is my first time incubating eggs, and there was a problem on Day 8. I moved to a new house. I put a thermometer in my car and ran the car until the interior temperature was 98. I then bundled up the eggs in a towel inside the incubator (to protect from vibrations) and drove an hour and a half to the new place. I had a thermometer inside the incubator, so I know the temperature never dropped below 99.

    At the new house, I discovered that the propane tank was empty and the wood pellet stove was broken - thus, no heat! I tried to adjust the incubator to compensate, which resulted in the temperature jumping around for a day, with a low of 85 and a high of 105, until I could get a new, stable setting for 100 degrees.

    I didn't expect any chicks to live. But yesterday was day 24, and I thought I'd poke holes in the large end of the shell (over the air pocket) to see if any chicks were still alive, before I got rid of them. To my surprise, several chicks had developed and broken the membrane, before they died trying to get through the shell. Five chicks were still alive. I knew they were too weak to pip but I couldn't just let them die. So, here's what I did:

    First, I peeled off the shell around the large end of the egg and wet the membrane. I located the beaks and punctured the membrane around the beaks, taking care not to puncture any blood vessels. I then pushed back the membrane enough to allow the chick the breathe. I heard that this could be done in late hatches, to prevent the chicks from suffocating. Over the next 8 hours, the chicks started chirping and struggling to get out. So, I very gradually began to enlarge the openings in the shells.

    I now have one chick completely out of the shell, one chick mostly out of the shell, and two chicks with just their heads revealed. They are all breathing evenly and occasionally chirping. But they all seem very weak. The one that is completely out of the shell moves only its head, completely unable to stand. I've been giving all of the chicks water, by dripping it into their open beaks, and they swallow it quickly and then open their beak wider, as if for more. But not one chick has opened its eyes. None of the eggs have any yoke left, and its now Day 25. I felt like leaving them in their shell longer would've been a mistake, since the other chicks had already started dying. Is there anything more I can do? After such a chill on Day 8, I never expected them to live this long, but since they have... I just really want to help.
  2. robin416

    robin416 Songster

    Feb 6, 2007
    This is a tough one. You can try putting vitamins and a bit of sugar in the water to give them an energy boost. If there was no bleeding when you tore the membrane then they should be ready to come out.

    I would normally peel the egg around the middle, not peel the end because chicks hatch by zipping the shell around the middle. They may be in a position where they can not get out on their own now. It is probably up to you now to get them out all of the way.
  3. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    I think you did the right thing helping them out a little....as far as the water, I would say get some karo...or even better, chicken vitamins with electrolytes...looks a whole lot like gator ade when mixed. Hope this helps!Good luck!
  4. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    First and foremost they need hydration (sounds to me like it has been too dry and they have become "stuck" in the shell) ... you can go to the pet store and get some handfeeding formula for parrots...make this fairly runny...it will provide them with nutrition etc. and hydrate them at same time.

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