UPDATE: First Hatch - Stress- Joy- Sadness - Relief - Worry

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by YogaMom4, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. YogaMom4

    YogaMom4 New Egg

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    Apr 13, 2012
    I used this website (and the insight and wealth of knowledge your experience gives) last night about a dozen times. Thank you!

    Here's what's been going on: We have been incubating our first hatch - it was on a whim and from eggs laid by our 4 hens and fertilized by our one rooster that we purchased last year in the spring from Tractor Supply. They are the cute little chicks in my profile picture. We set up our incubator (the homemade kind in a cooler), regulated the temperature and humidity digitally, turned those eggs every time we thought of it 4-7 times a day, and patiently waited. We started with 8 eggs (3 brown & 1 white bantam collected on Monday and 3 brown and 1 bantam on Tuesday). Over the weeks that followed, through candling we could see several had a blood ring or weren't developing so they were removed. I did mistakenly remove one that was developing although I couldn't see its eye through the shell like the others because it was perfectly suspended in the center of the egg which I found when I opened to verify that it was bad... boo! First big mistake and I felt awful about it. Lessen learned though - just because you can't see the eye doesn't mean all isn't well. Anyway, we made it to 21 days with only 3 eggs remaining in the original group of 8. The 1st egg rocked and rolled for two days and I panicked (after reading that many will suffocate because they can't break through) on day 23 and sure enough this chick was huge. I slowly started to release the shell, but quickly stopped when there was a little blood. I took my daughter to dance and when I returned, the chick had died. :( I think it somehow inhaled some of the blood - even though it was truly the tiniest little amount and it's beak was clear. There was a bit of blood on its nostril. It was very big for the egg and I'm sure couldn't maneuver. (It also hadn't finished absorbing the yoke so it wasn't ready.) So that's sad setback (my mistake) #2.

    Then with very little hope we watched for signs of movement from the other two remaining eggs. This is day 23 for them. (We have 15 or so more in there as well that won't hatch until next Saturday). We changed incubators a week into it because we couldn't keep the humidity up, and the new bator was good about keeping it 99-102 degrees with humidity at 60%-70% so I figured we may have some late hatchers due to our slower start. No movement or rocking like the first egg, so I was thrilled to find that the 2nd egg had pipped yesterday afternoon! It made some progress throughout the day, but then quieted down and stopped trying. After leaving my 1st chick and coming back to it deceased, I went with my gut late last night and pulled back the super white lining for a better look. It was SHRINK-WRAPPED! [​IMG]



    I was so relieved I had not just gone to bed, but then the work of slowly freeing it began and took place throughout the night.
    [​IMG]

    Upon freeing it, it turns out, its little foot is BACKWARDS and developed improperly. The 3rd chick pipped on its own (at the middle/bottom despite ALWAYS keeping the eggs little side down & not turning them since day 18), I heard it chirp quietly a few times, but didn't mess with it because I was so pre-occupied with freeing chick #2. After #2 was okay and free, I checked the pip on #3 to find the beak partially opened and no longer moving. Ugh... what a sad thing to see! I hate that. :( I went ahead and opened it and found that the yoke was partially absorbed, but there was a whitish thicker gunk running along the cord. I think it had other issues - and surprisingly it was not shrink-wrapped like its sibling.

    [​IMG]

    This is so hard, y'all! I had no idea that it would be so emotional and that it was so difficult. I'm sure if I was responsible, I would cull the #2 chick, but after its struggle and the way it cuddles up to my hand in the brooder, I just don't want to and know that I can't. Soooo...suggestions please. Tractor Supply has chicks right now and I am about to head to get our little "Tuesday" as we've named her (because she was laid on a Tuesday) some friends. She needs them. Any advice or tough love is appreciated. I feel like I totally am unqualified for this, and would love to see a hatch go well. 1 out of 8 is terrible odds, especially with that one having a twisted foot. I am sure my actions killed #1 (although not intervening and it suffocating seems worse). #3 I think had other issues.

    [​IMG]

    Here's the big question - has anyone ever had a chick born with a backwards foot - it seems to have a thicker "knee" joint and that's where the twist begins. The toes itself look fine.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Honestly, I think it would get put down here. Is it walking well on its own right now? You could keep it around and see how it progresses, realizing that if it's impaired you may have to put it down later if as it gets bigger it can't walk because of its deformity. Get it some friends. Chickens are a flock animal. They need other chickens to hang out with. Keep in mind, though, that the other chickens may also sense a weakness and pick on our little one.

    Don't give up on hatching. I started with 41 eggs, and 36 made it to lockdown. Out of those 36, 24 hatched. Two pipped, but didn't make it any farther (one I tried to help, one I didn't), and the rest never even pipped. I used to crack them open to see why, but I don't anymore. I've learned over the years that if they can't make it out of the shell on their own, there is most likely a reason for it. There are those here that will not agree with me on that, and that's fine. It's my opinion and what I've learned over the years. Hatching is an ever-learning process. Keep at it, and they should improve over time. You said that you feel totally unqualified for this, but if you think about it - we all are unqualified, really. A mama hen does so much better at hatching because she has all the right equipment, preset to the right temperature and humidity. We have to rely on thermometers and hygrometers that may or may not be calibrated correctly, and the eggs are in a box of some sort that may or may not have proper circulation. Hang in there, keep trying, and it will get better.
     
  3. mkcolls

    mkcolls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] Sorry about your losses.

    I agree with bobbi-j. The hardest thing about our first incubation, the last week of March this year, was not intervening. I was on BYC looking up info and advise almost as much as I was at the window of the incubator.

    Of the eggs set we had good hatching results, one not fertile, one developed a horizontal hairline crack and died after day 14, the rest hatched, some 2 days early, some right on time, and a few on day 23 & 24. One had crooked toes on one foot, she gets along great, not able to detect a limp, we have to search for her. Another had 1 crooked toe and a very mild cross beak. The cross beak has gotten progressively worse, chick is growing and keeping up with her hatch buddies, but we know the hard decision that we have to make. She was born with less than 1/16th" cross and at one week her beak is at a 30-35% angle.

    DH told me he would do the next one, if I would cull this one. We set this weekend as the deadline, just so we don't keep delaying. Believe me it doesn't get easier. If you know in your heart that you don't have the resources to keep this chick waiting does not make it easier.

    We already have more eggs in the incubator, so on with the multi-emotion incubation process.

    Don't give up. We are cheering for you. [​IMG]
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    On the MN prairie.
    One piece of unasked-for-advice: when it's time to put your chick down, please do it as quickly and humanely as possible. A sharp knife or scissors will be best. I'll confess - I've never actually killed one of my birds. DH was raised on the farm we now live on, and has grown up doing this. He has no qualms about it. I have no problem "ordering the hit" as he puts it, but haven't had to do it myself. Anyway, I have held the hens when we've decapitated them for butchering, and I know that it's over before they know it. It seems violent, and can be outside one's comfort level, but when killing an animal for any reason, I think it's best to consider what's kindest for them. No suffering, if possible.
     
  5. YogaMom4

    YogaMom4 New Egg

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    Apr 13, 2012
    Thank you all for the advice and especially the encouragement! Tractor Supply had a great supply of chicks and my brooder is now home to 7 new babes in addition to Tuesday. We got 5 bantams and two red pullerts. They are cute as can be and a reminder of how a healthy chick acts and plays. Their little leg stretches and scratching around in the bedding is adorable. They are being sweet to Tuesday & cuddling with some when they aren't playing. Tuesday is actually bigger than all of them - even the pullets & she's a newborn. Her strength is up and she's propping up better. I have resolved to splint that foot similarly to saddle foot & see if that helps her. Will let cha know how it goes! I've read their bones are still developing so maybe splinting it earlier will allow for some improvement. I've never purposefully killed anything although I've thought about it before when our rooster jumped at one of our kids. If I'd had the right tool I would've done it, but all I had at the barn was a shovel...ick. :). So our rooster, Frank Freckles, lives on.

    I'll post pics of her foot & my splint job shortly.

    :)
     
  6. YogaMom4

    YogaMom4 New Egg

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    Apr 13, 2012
    "pullets" ;)
     
  7. leirob007

    leirob007 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would dare say you have had a two part humidity problem,
    the first one I'd bet on low humidity for the first 18 days causing the shrink wrap and the foot to be stuck when it tried to turn. and probably dislocated the knee.
    the second one with too high humidity on the last three days.which happens more then you think when chicks fully develop and fail to pip out. Yolks that are not fully consumed are an indication of this.

    Keep hatching and experimenting with the humidity. you being one with a heart and desire to make it right. will soon find a combination to land you perfect hatches if your not scared to experiment a little.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  8. YogaMom4

    YogaMom4 New Egg

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    Apr 13, 2012
    End of the day and all is well. I secured a band aid type brace on Tuesday 's legs and she's now sitting up, pecking at the bedding, and alert & sweet as ever. Rooting for her & feeling like bracing her legs is a great step towards helping her. I'm not ready to give up on her just yet. I think Leirob you've really got it right! We did have low humidity issues early on that we may have over-corrected later. A dislocated knee seems to fit the look of it so well.

    Thanks so much everybody!
     
  9. mammat

    mammat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Did you weigh your eggs on day 1, 7,14? This helps you know if things are ok w humidity. They need to lose 13% of their initial weight by hatch time. Good luck with your new babies:D
     
  10. wholewheatchicken

    wholewheatchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I shrink wrapped my first two batches. I bought a food scale after that so I could track the weight loss and it works great. My first successful hatch was last week and all made it except one pipper who died. I have eggs in lockdown and I have four pips to start with.
    It really helped to track the weight to know if the humidity was too high/low and now I have a better understanding for what the humidity requirements are for me.
    Good luck with your next hatch.
     

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