What to do with a crazy incubator chick??

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by LaneyAngel, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. LaneyAngel

    LaneyAngel Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 20, 2009
    Mid yesterday, I had a chick hatch in my iincubator.
    Having done this a few times before, I left the chick to its own devices for awhile, checking on it regularly and seeing how it was going. My intent was to leave the chick in the 'bator until all its body fluff had dried out and it had gone visibly soft and floofy like a cotton ball.
    However, after spending about 16 hours in the incubator, the little one became incredibly active and began walking around, climbing over the other eggs and generally shrieking somewhat hysterically, however its body fluff still doesn't look properly dry.... it still looks the same as it did a few hours after hatching.
    I tried to leave it in the incubator a bit longer, but the chick goes crazed, climbing, falling, shrieking until, being inside a still air incubator, it runs out of air and sits, leaning against an egg, its neck stretched out to the limit, panting like crazy.

    So I thought, okay, fine, howdy do. I'll put you in the brooder box with my other two, slightly older chicks...
    Basically, my brooder box was set up where in I had a small glass dish in the corner with a 40w light bulb resting in it. I've used this formula before and never had problems with it, the chicks have always just sat close to the bulb on the outside of the dish because the glass gets nice and warm too. In 3 years, I've had no dramas with this set up. Not once.

    So the new chick went into the brooder and initially because its legs were still wobbly, despite all the egg climbing in the incubator, it stuck close to the heat source (a light). It stuck SO close to the heat source in fact that it climbed the side of the glass bowl and was leaning AGAINST the light, completely oblivious to how hot the bulb was!
    So I did some rearranging and put a wire frame around the light (I've used this exact wire before for similiar purposes and never had the problem I had today, which is why I thought it was safe) the chick could still feel the heat, but not touch the globe. The chick leaned against the wire but stupidly, the wire got hot (as I said, I've used this same wire before for similiar purposes and never had any problems, I guess I just probably had the light closer to the wire than I normally would, I don't know)... the chick had its eye up against the wire so now its having trouble opening its eye. Ugh!

    So I rearranged it again, so the heat light was ABOVE the chick, with the wire frame in between as it actually kept flapping and trying to climb up onto the bulb! The light is now unavailable for the chicks to touch.
    So I thought it was fixed... right? NO, wrong. The goofy chick decided to start running around like an absolute nutter, chasing the two older chicks. They're both a couple weeks old now and they see this tiny thing lurching towards them, shrieking and they run for it. The tiny chick chases the pair around until it runs out of energy, drops to the floor and conks out... Usually so far away from the heat source it starts getting cold.
    So I come in, I rescue, I put the baby back near the heat and as soon as I move my hand away, it starts running around again.

    Does anyone have any suggestions about what I can do? The chick has been in the brooder most of the day, keeping it near the heat is a nightmare as it just won't stay there, but even after 16 hours in the incubator and at least another 8 hours, its fluff still isn't 100% dry looking and floofy. Am getting really concerned that the thing is going to end up dying on me.
    I am constantly checking on it every ten minutes to make sure its safe and in tact and not cold...

    Twice I have attempted to put it back into the incubator, but it climbs over the eggs, runs around and generally is such a menace that it starts panting and can't breathe properly in the still air incubator! I need some suggestions on what to do!

    This is the same as my incubator:

    The chick (as taken yesterday when it was about six hours old):

    ETA: The same chick (I guess approximately 26-29 hours old (or somewhere in that range anyway, not sure on the exact hatching time) -- briefly removed from the brood box for a picture, as the light in there makes my crappy camera go funny
    You can sort of see what I mean about it not looking properly floofed up and stuff?

    No pic of the brooding box, but basically its two large foam boxes (the ones they use for shipping vegetables in ice). One side of each has been cut out and they have been joined together. One side has soft padding to rest on, a cuddly stuffed toy to snuggle with for extra warmth and the heat source.
    The other side has an eating area and a water supply.
    It's currently on the messy side as the older two have thrown their food all over the place!
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010
  2. Kansaseq

    Kansaseq Prairie Wolf Farm Asylum

    Feb 12, 2009
    NE Kansas
    I'm not sure what to do about the crazy behavior. But when I get a chick that is 'sticky', I give it a bath, carefully, in warm running water. I use soap if necessary, carefully rinsing it all off, and being very careful not to get the head wet. I get that with a wet towel if necessary. Carefully blot, then blow dry until fluffy. Hopefully someone will have some good advice for the odd behavior. Good luck!
  3. LaneyAngel

    LaneyAngel Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 20, 2009
    Mostly I just want to keep it near the heat source, so it can dry off on its own steam, as it gets somewhat hysterical and squirmy whenever I'm holding it. Squirmed right out of my hand earlier, jumped onto my chest and climbed up under my hair where it promptly got its little legs tangled in my hair and I had to chop some of my hair to get the dang thing out!
    Knowing my luck, if I tried to wash it or whatever, it would just go mental, squirm out of my grip and end up face first in the water!
  4. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    The sticky down will resolve itself with time and isn't a big deal -- chicks are often a lot worse than the latest photo shows, so I wouldn't worry about that.

    As far as its seeking heat and so forth -- it sounds like it's good and healthy, but seems to be searching for its mother and other brood -- its basically alone since it's the only one of its age.

    I'd try giving it a nice, clean feather duster hung so it can nestle into the feathers but not actually cimb up into it (hang it about 3 inches over the floor of the brooder). And, maybe put a quart glass jar of water at around 140 degrees then covered with a couple of old, thick socks right next to and nestled in the outer feathers -- this might comfort it and make it a little more secure and settled. Keep the water changed as necessary to keep it warm.
  5. bigdaddyabc

    bigdaddyabc Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2010
    I have no idea what to tell you about your crazy chick. I am jusy curious about how it acts when its older!! I sure hope it isn't a roo!!!! That would be a problem to behold.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by