Hatched a baby chick

by Chris

Question

I hatched a baby chick 15hrs ago. Can I get it out to hold it? It’s not wet but keeps chirping.

I feel so sorry for it. I have 6 Silkies. This is one of them that has hatched. It’s moving all over the incubator and is so cute; I want to hold it.

I have 12 other eggs. The large eggs were moving around last night but seem to have stopped. None has chipped yet.

Please, can you tell me if I can just hold this without killing it? It’s big for a Silky. Could I just hold it for a few minutes then put it back? I would wrap it in something warm as I'm dying to hold it.

Answer
There should be no harm in holding a baby chick. When chicks get used to being handled young, they make very tame adults that are easy to handle and care for.

Chicks have fragile little bones but gentle handling is fine. Your hands should be plenty warm to hold a chick for a few minutes. I think wrapping it in something would make it feel uncomfortable.

Make sure you are providing enough heat for the chicks. New chicks need 95 – 100 degrees F in the brooder to maintain a healthy body temperature. Handling chicks is never dangerous, unless you might have handled any diseased poultry. Then there would be the danger that disease could spread to them.

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Hatching chicks

by Mary Peterson
(Hermleigh,Tx.USA)

Question
Hatching chicks: I have Orpington chickens. Out of 24 eggs I have 2 chicks that lay on their sides and can't right themselves, just hours old now.

Will they get better or should I put them down? What causes this? One of them I can right it and it does OK for a while then goes on its side again till I right it again. Thank-You I have read all my books and none of them address this problem.

Answer
Hatching chicks: I would give them at least 24 hours and see if they can right themselves. As you can imagine, their last week, crammed inside the shell, is a tight fit.

Generally, during the hatching process, all muscles get exercised and pushed to their limits; connecting, coordinating, muscle and nerve messages with the brain. A chick can be exhausted once out of the shell.

A little physical therapy might help…getting them up on their feet, helping them to bear their weight on both feet equally.

If they are unable to act normally after their first day, there may have been some incubation issues that caused them to fail to develop normally. In that case, I believe, it would be inhumane to keep them alive.

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Baby Chicks

Question
What does it mean when your hatching baby chicks and they stink?

Answer
I don’t know if you are talking about unhatched eggs stinking in the incubator or chicks actually hatching out of eggs and stinking.

If unhatched eggs, they may have not been fertile or the chicks died sometime during the incubation process and the eggs are rotten. If you have stinky new chicks, I’m really not sure what the problem could be.

Chicks that are in the process of hatching are usually very healthy or they would be too weak to break themselves out of the eggs.

The incubator can begin to stink, as little chicks are in there pooping, but they should be moved to a brooder so they don’t dirty the incubator. I hope this helps. If you could give us a bit more information we might be able to help further.

I have noticed a smell in incubators as the eggs are incubating, but not really a strong stinky smell. It’s really hard to know how sensitive your sense of smell is and if this is something normal or not.

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Baby Chicks Hatch Yesterday

by Janelle
(Melbourne)

Question
I had some baby chicks hatch yesterday, one of them just lays to its left side. It moves around by kicking its legs in the air, but won’t stand upright. Not sure of the breed but its a little black chick with some yellow underneath. I would like to try and care for it and not have to kill it?

Answer
This little chick seems to have some problems in its nervous system that connect brain function to muscles and can affect balance.

I couldn’t tell you why this has happened, but some chicks do hatch with problems. This is usually something you can’t fix.

If you want to try to save it you will need to get food and water into it often, if it’s able to swallow properly.

Dipping the tip of its beak in water and watching to see if it has a swallowing reflex will tell you if it can survive. If it can swallow it might help to get some Chick Save made for helping struggling chicks and offer it soaked feed.

Standing the chick upright and helping it to maintain an upright position may help its brain to “get in gear”, but it may be that this chick didn’t develop completely during the incubation phase of its life.

If temperatures are too high or too low normal development may be interrupted resulting in what I call a “defective chick”. Improper incubation can cause brain damage, even when a hen hatches eggs.

Errors in its genetic make up could also cause the problems you have described, making normal development impossible. Good nutrition, a little physical therapy and patience will be what pull it through.

I wish I could be more hopeful, but I’ve seen a few chicks hatch and just not have all it takes to live and grow normally.

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Baby chick question

by Jolene Thiessen
(Canada)

Question
Baby chick question: We are on day 22, temp. is good and humidity is up. Temp. Went to 95 yesterday, but now back up to 99. Candling eggs show a chick pecking at the membrane.

No chicks have broken through a pip yet. They are perhaps "tough membrane eggs"...very healthy, but could it be the membrane is too hard for the chick to peck out of?

Answer
Yes this can happen. Either the chicks are too weak or the membrane has become dry and hard. If you believe the chicks are ready you can start to open the eggs at the air bubble end. Open just enough for the chicks to get some air.

In an hour you can open the eggs a little more, but you have to be very careful not to sever the veins that line the membrane. If you do, the chick can bleed to death.

Chicks naturally hatch out slowly, gaining strength and working at breaking out of the shell. If you have to help them, the trick is to go slowly. I’ve had to help a number of chicks out of the shell.

Once there is a good opening in the egg I add a drop of water to the membrane BEING VERY CAREFUL NOT TO GET THE WATER IN THE CHICKS AIRWAY, but gently and slowly adding moisture to the membrane, which will soften it.

Sometimes the shell is very thick and the membrane dry, so you may have to help all chicks out of the shell. By opening a breathing hole to start with will ensure the chicks don’t die from lack of air being stuck inside for too long.

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