The situation became critical by Friday night as
grandchick #4 was not making any further progress
and the peeping had slowed down considerably.
The poor thing managed to break a pretty good
sized hole in the side of the egg but something was wrong.
I scoured the internet, immediately sourcing help from
The Chicken Chick blog where there is a lot of
great information. I know it's not an ideal situation but
the little one either needed help or it was over.
It appears that there was not enough humidity and the
membrane had hardened inside the shell; however, the
membrane had pulled away from the shell allowing me to
remove most of the shell without harm. When I saw the leathery
membrane I knew I had to rehydrate it. The chick was calling out
and pushing with all it had, but it wasn't enough.
I soaked a flour sack towel in warm water and nestled the
membrane in my hands. The shell was still attached on the back
of the chick but I could feel every movement the chick made.
Slowly the membrane softened and the chick was able to
stretch and push against it opening the membrane more and more.
When it finally made it out, the membrane was still stuck to it's
back and head so I took it to the kitchen, still wrapped in the towel and
trying to keep it as warm as possible. I dripped warm water on
the back of it's head and down it's back. Bit by bit the membrane
became soft and was able to be easily removed.
The chick was still very small and weak; however, it peeped and peeped
almost as if it wanted me to keep holding it. I told him (her?) that he
would have to dry off a bit and I'd be back. We did make a quick stop
at the brooder so it could see what awaiting, siblings hopping around
and peeping up a storm!
It's much, much smaller than the rest that hatched. I include photos
so you can see. It is definitely not as developed. I figured it was
exhausted from the ordeal so I put some water on my finger
which he drank and drank. He seemed very thirsty.
It had been thrashing around, unable to remain standing
but by the time I checked back, it was making good progress.
After he was almost dry I took him out and let him rest in my
hands. We sat in the recliner where he became more calm and
started drifting off to sleep. I talked to him and told him what
a pretty chick he was and when he was a little stronger we'd go into the
brooder with everyone else.
He really perked up! He peeped and peeped until
I agreed to put him in the brooder, or not get any rest!
There was just a few pecks on the little guy which I
immediately responded to by pushing the larger one away.
This seemed to calm things down and chick #4 was accepted.
They slept together and now he follows them around learning
how to eat and drink. You can see the size difference.
From left to right: the two first chicks, chick 3 and then
little chick #4. So sweet.
He is very tame since I handled him, the only one to
come up if I reach into the brooder. Maybe he thinks I'm mom.
For comparison, newly hatched chick 1 and 2.
Newly hatched chick #3, a day later.
I'm glad the little one came out OK. I do hope it isn't a rooster,
we already have 2 and I can't keep a third. I would get rid of the older
one if it comes to a choice. He probably isn't fertile since we've
never had chicks until the buff orpington rooster came along.
I am so thankful for all the great information on the internet,
accessible on demand, and for all the bloggers that
provide tutorials on how to manage emergencies.
What would I have done without you all?!
Linking to Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop