Tuesday, April 19, 2011
On My Watch - Chicks Hatching
As soon as the aviary light come on (6:30 AM), I provide fresh food for the parents to feed their chicks. A couple of hours later I make my rounds and look at each nest that is due to hatch. This chick is doing a fine job. Notices how sharp the egg edges are where he nibble away to gain his freedom.
He uses his neck muscles to raise the head and the shell, like a hinge, opens up and his head is free!
Out at last, this whole drama only took a few seconds!! It is important now to remove the old shells as you do not want them to cover any of the other two eggs that will be hatching soon.
I also turned him over and added a couple of plastic eggs for support.
In another nest, trouble was brewing!! Note the edges are not sharp but rather dented in and dry. This chick is trapped and without intervention this egg will never hatch!!
First I moistened the dry dented area and then gentle went slowly around the shell breaking the same middle area just like a normal chick would do.
Hopefully, the chick is ready but only trapped. If you see blood, it is not ready and if that happens I stop and put the egg back and hope that it will get the blood in the membrane absorbed and safe to help out later. In this case the blood had been absorbed and the chick was ready to hatch.
If any part of the shell is stuck to the chick, moisten with a little water before removing to avoid damaging the fragile chick.
If the egg yolk is not absorbed (called a yolker), the chick is premature and will likely die. This chick has absorbed the yolk and once back in the nest developed normally.
Don't you just love happy endings!!