What to do?


Dec 3, 2017
I put 12 eggs in my home made incubator at 4:00 pm on February 18. I expected hatch sometime tomorrow, March 11. This morning I woke to 1 chick and 3 external pips. Chick number two zipped and hatched a few hours ago. Pips 3 and 4 have not made noticeable progress in the last 10 (possibly up to 18) hours. Should I consider assisting or just let what happens happen?
I had this dilemma on my last hatch with two eggs that zipped good at first and then nothing. I chose not to assist because I felt it best to give them time and to not risk hurting them...you can kill chicks pretty easy by "helping" and I'd regret it if that happened. Usually patience with hatching pays off for me.
I also based my decision on the thought process that if they are too weak to fully hatch, they will not make strong, viable chicks to raise.
After about 20 hours when the exposed membrane started to dry, I checked for signs of life and they were both dead. After opening the shells, it appeared that the yolks hadn't fully absorbed so I probably would have killed them anyway if I had tried to help. It just wasn't meant to be for them.
It's a big decision. You can check for signs of life before taking any action (if any). I think you can hold the shell to your ear and tap it to get them to peep if they are alive inside...also watch for movement where the shell is zipped.
Best of luck!

Egg toe? My son swears he has seen a beak but every time I look I see a toe sticking out. Egg pipped at least 15 hours ago. Assist or not?
As a guide, if I help a chick hatch after waiting patiently for many hours, I get about a 50% survival rate... often they are too weak to make it :-( but no good helping too soon or they may not have absorbed all their yolk. It’s always a dilemma.

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