What causes deformed chicks? Breed issue? Parent bird care? Shipping?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by tnchickenut, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. tnchickenut

    tnchickenut It's all about the Dels!

    Jan 24, 2010
    Englewood, TN
    I have been hatching eggs for awhile now from multiple sources. I never had problems, and really good hatch rates (all and all).
    I recently hatched two batches of the same breed from the same breeder (no, I won't say who because they are very friendly and other than this I have no complaints)... and the first batch had 1 deformed chick I had to put down, then the second had a deformed chick.
    I'm just wondering... is this the result of maybe the health of the parent birds, shipping, inbreeding, something I have done? The first chick couldn't walk (no, not spraddle - I'm aware of spraddle) and moved it's head, for lack of a better way of putting it, like someone with Parkenson's (spelling?). While the second chick is more severely deformed in alot of ways, most noticably his head was flat on the left and his left eye was nearly on top of his head while the right eye looked about right.
    If someone has some scientific answer for this, please. I'm just very curious as to why all of a sudden I had two chicks that needed to be culled. The first one seemed like "well, it happens a percentage of the time" and then the second being from the same source and being the same breed has peaked my curiousity. Ideas?
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
  2. asher

    asher Chicken Enabler Extraordinaire

    Jan 26, 2007
    Mountains of NC
    It could be hatching issues, possibly something missing in the breeder birds diets or yes, it could indeed be inbreeding. That's the first thing that would pop to mind for me, but I know there are/could be numerous reason.

    I very likely would not use them as a source in the future. Did any chicks hatch out of that/those batches okay? Did you happen to hatch any out at the same time from a different source?
  3. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    Sorry the answer could be any or all of the above, hatching issues, parent issues, dietary issues, shipping issues. Temps slightly too high or consistently too cool produce major issues in a hatch. Even if your temps have been consistent before and your thermometers correct, it's time to recalibrate. And resterilize. You do everything you know how at your end. Tell the breeder the truth, without blame, because you don't know it was at that end but you DO know something is up and an informed breeder, who cares, wants to hear about hatch deformities. Keep records, do what you can do and see what happens next time. Unfortunately there are so many factors between diet, breeding and shipping and incubation that it would take many different, careful trials to figure out exactly what is going on.
  4. TexasChick09

    TexasChick09 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2009
    I dont' really have any knowledge on deformed chicks, but the chick that you spoke of having Parkinson's type head movement struck a cord with me. When I ordered my batch of 25 chicks last year, a few days after arrival, I had a chick do exactly the same thing. Assuming that if he had anything, the other chicks had already been exposed, I did not dispose of her, but offered supportive care. I made sure the other chicks didnt' trample it, spoon fed it water every few hours, and made sure the temperature was not too hot or cool. After 2-3 days, the chick made a complete turn around no other chicks became ill. I had posted on another board asking if they might know what was wrong with the chick, but didnt' receive many answers. I did have the chicks vaccinated before they shipped, so I wondered if it was some sort of reaction to that but a girl who works in avian virology said it was unlikely. Anyway, I just found it interesting when you brought it up.
  5. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2009
    the South
    Quote:In Games there exist a nervous disorder that we commonly refer to as "the shakes." I am pretty sure it exist among some other breeds as well, but I can't recall which ones off-hand. I agree with what has been said concerning the multiple reasons available to you for the results you rec'd. However, if it is a genetic issue the breeder is not necessarily to blame. If you call them to tell them then this could easily be taken in my opinion as you blaming them. Besides, shipped eggs are a crap-shoot. saladin
  6. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

    Jan 18, 2008
    Newman Lake, WA
    Quote:I agree, it could also be a deformity just like all other animals and humans; it happens.
  7. s_tate423

    s_tate423 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 28, 2009
    Quote:It was a brand new incubator for the second hatch. I had used the other to death, and with the first of the said hatches comming out with one crippled, I figured to go ahead and get a new incubator. My MO is to use two thermometers for accuracy, a old fashion analog and a digital with humidity reading. Everything went well. Isn't there something dealing with the chicks brain? both had oddly shaped heads, as well.

    My first impression with the first one was the temp spiking (old incubator). It spiked to a whopping 106 on day 17 or so on just the first hatch, It could have only been for about 2 hours. (I watch temps like a hawk, checking regularly). No temp spike on the second, so I'm leaning to rule that out, since I got the same results with crippled chicks.

    And to answer all the questions, I didn't hatch from a different source at the same time, but the same breeder but different breed. The hatch rate on the second breed wasn't as good, but the chicks were fine.
  8. s_tate423

    s_tate423 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 28, 2009
    Quote:The first chick we hatched like that, we fed and watered about 5-8 times a day (exhuasting!) for about 2-3 weeks. It never got better, so we had to put it out of it's misery. Plus, it was starting to get nippy about being held. I think it didn't like to be forced to stand up. It's brothers and sisters were starting to feather and it was apparent it was suffering. It could walk for about 6-9 inches only if it was propped up to a wall on it's one side. That is no life. Plus, the head thing, swaying back and forth. It would aim at a peice of food and go to get it and miss... like it had no control. The second chick we put down right away, seeing as the first one never turned around. No use makeing it suffer for weeks to end up with the same fate.
    I'm glad you got yours turned around, though.

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