Week old chick refusing to eat or drink, can't balance properly?

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
1,026
1,844
251
New Zealand
When you say suffocated, do you mean that they drowned in their own egg fluid, or that the incubator had poor circulation and there wasn't enough oxygen at hatch?

Lack of oxygen could definitely cause some brain damage.

If the eggs didn't lose enough weight during incubation, due to humidity being too high, this can cause the drowning.

With posted eggs, the hatch rate will be halved, but if you picked the eggs up yourself and had a smooth ride, there's no reason everyone shouldn't have hatched unless there were problems with the stock themselves.

Did you do any candling on the quitters? Any signs of bacterial corruption, or were the failures for other reasons?
 

Megalodon

In the Brooder
Sep 11, 2021
51
24
46
I would get some Emeraid Intensive care omnivore for the chick that isn't doing well. You can have a vet order it for you.

humidity was likely off in your brooder. Best not to incubate dirty eggs, unless they are all you have and you're trying to keep genes from one that passed in the flock.

Best wishes and I hope the little one recovers!
I would ask my vet, but I'm currently in lockdown haha, but I will try as soon as lockdown is over!

Thanks for the suggestion!
 

Megalodon

In the Brooder
Sep 11, 2021
51
24
46
When you say suffocated, do you mean that they drowned in their own egg fluid, or that the incubator had poor circulation and there wasn't enough oxygen at hatch?

Lack of oxygen could definitely cause some brain damage.

If the eggs didn't lose enough weight during incubation, due to humidity being too high, this can cause the drowning.

With posted eggs, the hatch rate will be halved, but if you picked the eggs up yourself and had a smooth ride, there's no reason everyone shouldn't have hatched unless there were problems with the stock themselves.

Did you do any candling on the quitters? Any signs of bacterial corruption, or were the failures for other reasons?
After no movement, we carefully opened the eggs. The chicks were fully formed, and they had pipped the internal membrane, but hadn't pipped through to the outer membrane, if that makes sense. We could see a small hole where the beak rested.

I saw some black spots inside the quitters, like floating around, and I'm thinking that may have been the bacteria?

I'm not sure about oxygen sufficiency, we didn't open the incubator during the hatch, but we have a couple 1cm diameter holes on the sides of the incubator. The incubator has a fan in it too.

Have another batch of eggs in the incubator now, any tips?
 

Megalodon

In the Brooder
Sep 11, 2021
51
24
46
When we candled our current batch of eggs on day 7, they had already lost almost half of the weight needed. I have raised humidity from 55-70 in the hopes to reduce the speed of evaporation, but for some reason whenever I wake up the humidity is at about 16????????????

I hate humidity
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
1,026
1,844
251
New Zealand
I would ask my vet, but I'm currently in lockdown haha, but I will try as soon as lockdown is over!

Thanks for the suggestion!
Us too! There are a few other means of supplementing with things you may have around the house.

If you have some apple cider vinegar, this can be added to the waterer as long as it's not metal. ACV can provide b complex, amongst other things, so can provide a temporary vitamin boost - just a splash or capful is all I ever add. Having it available won't negatively impact the other chicks at all either.

There is a bit if controversy over supplementing with ACV and for how long you should do so - personally, I have always offered it to my chicks in small amounts with no ill effects and also to my flock on occasion. It's a 'scoby' product, like Kombucha, and offers vitamins etc which have been broken down from fruit sugars into an easily digestible form.

Berries are also great for vitamins and trace minerals - blueberries, blackberries, strawberries. Frozen are great - mash or blend and make sure to serve it "warm" sick and young birds cannot handle cold food. I'd also strain out the mix to remove seeds or woody bits since this is a chick and seeds can be very hard to digest.

If your chick is lethargic, electrolytes and sugars, like honey, can quickly perk them up.

For adding protein, ground cat food(not dog - protein too low), crumbled hard-boiled egg, oily fish - all good sources.

I would recommend weighing this chick daily, in the morning before it has eaten - this will give you the best indication of its overall weight gain as weight can vary throughout the day.
 

Megalodon

In the Brooder
Sep 11, 2021
51
24
46
Us too! There are a few other means of supplementing with things you may have around the house.

If you have some apple cider vinegar, this can be added to the waterer as long as it's not metal. ACV can provide b complex, amongst other things, so can provide a temporary vitamin boost - just a splash or capful is all I ever add. Having it available won't negatively impact the other chicks at all either.

There is a bit if controversy over supplementing with ACV and for how long you should do so - personally, I have always offered it to my chicks in small amounts with no ill effects and also to my flock on occasion. It's a 'scoby' product, like Kombucha, and offers vitamins etc which have been broken down from fruit sugars into an easily digestible form.

Berries are also great for vitamins and trace minerals - blueberries, blackberries, strawberries. Frozen are great - mash or blend and make sure to serve it "warm" sick and young birds cannot handle cold food. I'd also strain out the mix to remove seeds or woody bits since this is a chick and seeds can be very hard to digest.

If your chick is lethargic, electrolytes and sugars, like honey, can quickly perk them up.

For adding protein, ground cat food(not dog - protein too low), crumbled hard-boiled egg, oily fish - all good sources.

I would recommend weighing this chick daily, in the morning before it has eaten - this will give you the best indication of its overall weight gain as weight can vary throughout the day.
Thanks for your advice, I will look to see what I have around the house!
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
1,026
1,844
251
New Zealand
After no movement, we carefully opened the eggs. The chicks were fully formed, and they had pipped the internal membrane, but hadn't pipped through to the outer membrane, if that makes sense. We could see a small hole where the beak rested.

I saw some black spots inside the quitters, like floating around, and I'm thinking that may have been the bacteria?

I'm not sure about oxygen sufficiency, we didn't open the incubator during the hatch, but we have a couple 1cm diameter holes on the sides of the incubator. The incubator has a fan in it too.

Have another batch of eggs in the incubator now, any tips?
The incubator should be thoroughly cleaned between hatches with a light bleach solution or white vinegar.

Personally, I'm using distilled water in mine as distilling thoroughly sanitizes the water. You can distill water at home, but it's just easier to go buy it from the store.

Starting with clean unwashed eggs is always best though. There are sanitizing procedures for dirty eggs pre-set, but then biosecurity of the whole incubator needs to be heavily monitored after as you're washing off the bloom and the chicks can be drowned or infected in the process if done incorrectly.

Humidity sounds like it's a big issue for you - you may want to consider your incubator's location and keep an eye on egg weight.

You may need to start closing vents to keep the humidity higher. Adding more wet surface area will raise the humidity faster - like a damp sponge or towel. - just make sure not to get the eggs wet.
 

Megalodon

In the Brooder
Sep 11, 2021
51
24
46
The incubator should be thoroughly cleaned between hatches with a light bleach solution or white vinegar.

Personally, I'm using distilled water in mine as distilling thoroughly sanitizes the water. You can distill water at home, but it's just easier to go buy it from the store.

Starting with clean unwashed eggs is always best though. There are sanitizing procedures for dirty eggs pre-set, but then biosecurity of the whole incubator needs to be heavily monitored after as you're washing off the bloom and the chicks can be drowned or infected in the process if done incorrectly.

Humidity sounds like it's a big issue for you - you may want to consider your incubator's location and keep an eye on egg weight.

You may need to start closing vents to keep the humidity higher. Adding more wet surface area will raise the humidity faster - like a damp sponge or towel. - just make sure not to get the eggs wet.
Thank you for your advice! You sure know your stuff! :p

Will look to closing the vents, hopefully that will keep the humidity higher. I have a sponge I'll see if I can squeeze in there.
I'm using filtered water right now, hopefully it goes alright.
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
1,026
1,844
251
New Zealand
Thank you for your advice! You sure know your stuff! :p

Will look to closing the vents, hopefully that will keep the humidity higher. I have a sponge I'll see if I can squeeze in there.
I'm using filtered water right now, hopefully it goes alright.
Thanks, this is actually my first incubation, but I read up like crazy and thought I'd share the knowledge. We've hatched under our broody before, so aren't unfamiliar with the process, candling, assisting etc... Just the first time relying on a machine.

With the medical knowledge, it's personal experience and avian vet recommendations from working with other birds through volunteer work at our local native bird hospital - we get all sorts there, no chickens specifically, but a lot of the care techniques are general for a large variety of birds.
 

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