Assisted Hatching: Helping Chicks Get out of Eggs

Assisted hatching is a process of helping the chick go out of eggs due to different reasons that I discuss below.

The time it takes for a chick to hatch in 21 days. However, it sometimes happens that the chick has difficulties hatching from the egg. This problem can be due to different factors and it is essential that the breeder is prepared to be able to intervene in time and help save the animal’s life.

If you want to know what to do when a chick does not come out of the egg, we invite you to continue reading this article, since here we will talk about the steps to follow to successfully remove a chicken from the egg. This process is called “assisted chick hatching”, or “assisted hatching” and must be done with total care.

There are several causes that make chicks not hatch even though they are already formed. Here are some of the most common factors that cause this problem.

assisted hatching
Credit to Backyardchickens.com
  1. The eggshell is too big

Some eggs have a fairly hard shell that makes it difficult for the bird to hatch. This is sometimes due to the type of laying hen breeds or the diet that is supplied to them. For the latter case, it is important to control the supply of calcium in the bird’s diet, since the excess of this compound causes eggs with wrinkled or wavy shells, which are more difficult for the chick to break.

  1. Humidity problems

Generally, 90-95% of the cases in which chickens cannot hatch from the egg are due to a lack of moisture. So that this problem does not occur, the relative humidity in the last 3 days before the chick hatches must be 70%, otherwise, the egg dries and the birds are trapped. therefore, when eggs are incubated in incubators it is essential to maintain optimum humidity to avoid this problem.

  1. Weak chicks

During hatching, chicks use their beaks to hatch, thus applying a great deal of energy to hatch. However, it sometimes happens that chics do not have enough strength to break the shell, so some poultry farmers intervene to remove the chick from the egg and save its life.

There are those who think that it is not advisable to remove a bird from the egg since the reason why the chicken has not been able to hatch is that it is weak and it is most likely that the animal will have difficulties during its development. However, there are also people who consider that life must be preserved in any way and therefore are willing to intervene so that the animal has a chance to live.

If you are one of the people who think that you should help the bird to hatch, the following describes the method to carry out this process without running the risk of hurting the animal.

Assisted Hatching: What to do when a chick does not hatch from the egg?

Before extracting a chick from the egg, it is important that the bird has completed 21 days of incubation, otherwise, there is a risk that the yolk has not been reabsorbed, which could cause the death of the animal. Here are the steps to take to save a chick that cannot hatch.

  1. Verify that the chick is alive

When hatching eggs at home it must be bored in mind that 100% success will never be achieved. This is because some may be infertile eggs or stop developing at some point during the incubation process.

To find out if the chicks are alive inside the egg, poultry farmers use the technique of examining eggs by candlelight. This procedure consists of entering a dark room and bringing a lighted flashlight as close as possible to the egg, in this way you can see inside and know if the chick is still alive if it moves or otherwise it is completely spoiled.

Another simple way to know if the bird is alive is to touch the shell near the ear to hear if the chick chirps inside the egg. If it does, it is a sign that the animal is trapped and has difficulty breaking the shell.

  1. Perform surgery on the hatched egg

Once it has been confirmed that the chicken is still alive and does not have enough strength to come out of the egg, an incision will be made. However, first, you must inquire through the sound of the animal where its head is since this will be the area where part of the shell must be carefully removed so that the chick can breathe.

Since the shell that covers the bird’s head has been removed, particularly the beak through which it breathes, the egg is placed under the hen again (or back to the incubator), so that it continues to provide the mother’s warmth that the animal needs. After 2 days it is likely that the chick has already been able to completely hatch from the egg.

Remember that you should only make a small opening adjacent to its beak that could allow the chick to breathe. Totally opening the whole egg and exposing the unborn chick will be fatal due to hemorrhage. You should allow the chick to hatch itself after making a hole directly where the beak is located.

You must use tweezers and avoid cutting any inside web of arteries where the blood is flowing to avoid hemorrhage. This process must be done with total care.

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