The last of my eggs to hatch didn’t do so well. The poor little chick had pecked a good sized hole in its shell, but then it seemed stuck, and couldn’t manage to finish the job. For two and a half days we watched and waited, but the little guy just couldn’t get out. I was dying to help it, but I read that you are not supposed to help crack the egg, that it could kill the chick… and so, we waited.
But when day three was fast approaching, I decided that chick was not going to make it unless we intervened. I searched online and read through forums about chicks getting stuck in the shell and how to help them. I came across info stating that if the shell was cracked for too long, the membranes inside would dry up and the chick would become stuck. I opened the incubator to examine our chick.
Yep. The membranes were dry, even hardened. I could feel the chick glued to the inside surface of the shell. Her little beak was poked out, and cheeping, and she was wiggling with all her might, yet it was hopeless. The membranes were so tight to her feathers, there was no way she’d break loose.
I called to my husband for help. He brought me cotton balls moistened with warm water, and we wet the tough membrane layer as I slowly, and very carefully picked tiny pieces of the shell off using a pair of tweezers. Every so often I would stop, and see if the chick could finish the job. She was squirming and kicking, but it was still too difficult for her.
Slowly and steadily I picked the shell off of her little body. It seemed that almost every inch of her was stuck to it. I wet each little section, and did my best to gently pull the membranes loose. Finally, after about 45 min of doing this, she was completely free.
As soon as she was loose, I quickly covered the incubator back over her to let her dry. I watched as she flopped around, bumping into all of the other unhatched eggs. Was she gonna be okay? I wondered. I couldn’t help but feel slightly responsible. I read somewhere that if the eggs aren’t turned regularly, that the chicks could grow to the inside of the shell, and not be able to break loose. Our egg turner had stopped rotating somewhere along the line… something I hadn’t noticed for quite a while before beginning turning them by hand. I wonder if that could have caused the problem.
After resting a while she was able to get up and hobble around. But she didn’t look as good as the others had when they’d hatched. Something wasn’t right. Her neck and her back seemed crooked, and her head hung down when she walked.
Poor little thing!! I feel so bad for her. I don’t know if she’s gonna make it, but if she does I’m afraid she’ll be crippled. The other chicks have been surprisingly sweet to her. Right away they tried to snuggle her. But this morning I found her huddled by herself in a corner of the box, tucked in snugly behind a little teddy bear I gave them. I wonder if she’ll die.
In all honesty, I am hoping that she will peacefully slip away in her sleep. I’d hate for her to suffer a long life of debilitation and pain. But maybe she’ll surprise me. Maybe she’ll make a full recovery. Whatever happens, nature will take its course, I guess.