Why aren't my turkey poults breaking thru the membrane to hatch?

Discussion in 'Hatch-A-Longs' started by FincaCR, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. FincaCR

    FincaCR Just Hatched

    3
    0
    10
    Aug 3, 2016
    Greetings from Costa Rica!
    I've got a female who's eggs are currently in the hatching stage. We have no access to and do not use incubators or any other interventions, although she is, of course, in a nest inside of an enclosed area. For the last few days, her poults have been able to get their lil beaks out of the shell and membrane and in most cases get about 30-40% of the shells off, but keep dying prior to fully breaking open the membrane and exiting the egg. We have only a few eggs left and are wondering what we can do to help the mama?? Everything I've read indicates to NOT break the membrane...It sucks hearing peeps and cheeps and then later finding the poor critters deceased in the shell. :(
     
  2. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

    4,541
    1,062
    306
    Jul 19, 2015
    Eastern Shore, MD
    Being costa rica, I would think it is plenty humid there, right? My first guess is that they are breaking through, drying out, getting stuck, and perishing. Or, is it possible that ants or some other insect/critter is getting to them before they can get out?

    It is okay to manually break the membrane. I had to manually assist both of the turkeys I hatched this year. The key is to know when to do it. If they are as far along as you indicate, time goes by and they are crying and crying like they need help, you can carefully peel away the shell and outer membrane at the air sac (broad) end. See what is going on with the inner membrane. It should be soft and white. Wet it lightly to check for veins. If there is no blood in the veins you can carefully peel back that membrane. Don't pull the turkey out, but release enough shell and membrane that it can push out itself when ready.

    I hope that helps and good luck!
     
  3. FincaCR

    FincaCR Just Hatched

    3
    0
    10
    Aug 3, 2016
    Thank you very much for the reply! Yes, we are partway through the start of rainy season, so the humidity is definitely up there! I think your reply may have been bang on. Prior to receiving it, we intervened with the poult that was currently in distress. Like the others, he was unable to push through the membrane farther than his beak and parts of the outer membrane were beginning to yellow. I chipped off part of the shell and the membrane beneath appeared to have 2 layers...one whitish one and a thinner, more mucous-y one underneath. I carefully removed the outer one in small increments. He was struggling and peeping pretty good and finally unfolded and popped out! I immediately placed him back under mama, with him still in the bottom shell, as I could still see some yolk. It's now been 3 hours and he's still alive - considering no other guys made it out of their shells, I'm veerrrrry guardedly optimistic. I have now removed the remainder of the shell from the nest, as he was no longer attached to it and I didn't want to attract fire ants.
    Do you think this problem could be with the hen? She's had one other clutch since we got her and only 2 of 4 came out of the shells, and one of those I assisted in a much less invasive way (just peeling the top part of the shell by the beak away)

    Thanks again!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by