Christmas Chick

Christmas day we heard a loud peeping and run to the incubator to see a chick pipping out of an egg a day early. Then I’m horrified to see the humidity down to 16%!!! You see it should be 60-80%! Because of the low humidity the membrane inside the egg became like stiff leather making it hard to break through and stuck to the chicks feathers so it couldn’t move.

Luckily its yolk sack had already been pulled inside its belly so I was able to help it out of the egg.

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We stuck it in our styrofoam brooder with the lightbulb for heat inside. And once it dried and fluffed up we gave it sugar water and dipped it beak twice so it knew where its water was. We added marbles later because once we found its head hanging over the edge of the waterer and was afraid it would drown. We added a a beanie baby for company.

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The next day the little guy was doing great at first. He looks great in this picture. I was very suprised at its coloring. It is 3/4 buff orpington and 1/4 barred rock. Buff orpington chicks are a brassy gold. Barred rock chicks are black with a white spot on their head. This guy was more silver than anything.

By that evening the chick had developed “splay legs”. It looked like it was doing the splits and could no longer stand. I couldn’t sleep worrying about it. I read a tip about using a bandaid to hobble its legs with the legs the foam pad apart. I put the bandaid on about midnight and gave it another sip of water. It seemed to weak to even get to the waterer on its own. I really hoped it would perk back up by morning but by 7am it had already passed away.

It was now two days past hatch date on the other eggs that were put in the incubator on the 5th. I checked those eggs and it was as I suspected the low humidity had trapped the others so they couldn’t hatch and die. Incubating could be so tricky. I hope one day to have a cabinet type incubator that has all the bells and whistles so there will be less room for mistakes.

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