Baby chick dying

by Rebecca Tanner
(US)

Question
We hatched some chicks at the school where I work. We got brought a dozen eggs and all together 7 hatched perfectly fine with no assist needed.

We were told they were going to hatch on Tuesday or could hatch the day before or day after. They started hatching on that Monday well that Wednesday.

Another hatched and stuff was hanging out and he looked really weak the stuff hanging out was just dragging behind him within 4 hrs of him hatching he died. Later on in that day another started to hatch.

I came in that next morning and it was still the same so one of the other staff members helped assist the chick out he wouldn’t come out on his own at all not the least little bit he had stuff hanging out but wasn’t near as much as the first that died earlier in the day.

The next morning we went into work and he was chirping and seemed happy, but looking at him he looked so pitiful. I checked on him a few minutes later and noticed he was laying on his back and couldn’t get on his feet, so I helped him. Should I expect him to die or live?

He really doesn’t look good and I haven’t seen him eat but have seen him drink his water. PLEASE HELP ASAP THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I really don’t want my daughter to witness him dying or dead.

Answer
Chicks can have trouble hatching if they are weak to begin with. I think this is nature’s way of the strong surviving.



When chicks hatch there are often the remainders of the yolk sack and some blood vessels attached. These are usually drawn into their vent during the hatching process.

When you help a chick out of a shell, it’s possible for many things to go wrong. Sometimes there is severe blood loss that will lead to death.

The process of hatching out of an egg takes all the strength of the chick to learn how to use its body and get out of the shell and on its feet.

When that natural process isn’t allowed to happen or the chick is too weak to hatch its self, it can be slow to act normally.

This can lead to slowness to eat and drink and extreme weakness. It can also mean that there is something wrong with the chick internally and it cannot survive.

I wish I could tell you how to save it, but that just may not be possible. Make sure its warm enough, between 95 and 100 degrees F. Too low a temperature in the brooder can make them too weak to eat and drink.

Offer it soaked feed and dip the tip of it’s beak in water frequently. You might try a product called Chick Save from the feed store. It’s made for chicks having a rough start. I hope this helps and you can delay explaining death to your daughter.

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