Sunday, November 10, 2013

How to save a cracked hatching egg

I had a really bad thing happen last month. I broke a hatching egg that was less then a week away from hatching. It gets worse though.....my only roo from the d'Uccle pen had been taken by a hawk a few weeks before. His girls had stopped laying almost immediately after, I assumed from the stress. By the time they resumed laying I only got a few eggs to start developing before they all became infertile. So you can imagine my heartbreak when the lid of the incubator slipped out of my hand and crashed down on this precious egg. The egg was cracked in several places. I almost cried. Almost, but instead I sprung into action. Meet Lucky: he came out of that broken egg...this is how I saved him.

fix a cracked egg

First I got a plain white utility candle. Unscented. I lit the candle and dripped wax onto every crack I could see. I even had to wipe a little blood off the egg. Poor baby! I was so worried! The egg was slightly dirty from the chicks that had hatched the week before. I didn't dare wipe it off at this point! I didn't want to risk removing the bloom or rubbing bacteria into the egg.

I made sure the cracks were all sealed to prevent bacteria from entering the egg through the cracks. If bacteria gets in the egg to the developing chick it could end the development process. I really didn't want to lose this chick. I pulled out my candling light and made sure all the cracks were covered with wax. I didn't cover the whole egg, just the cracks.


fix cracked egg

I put the egg back in the incubator and waited...and waited. The wait was killing me, honestly! I candled the egg several times over the next 5 days. I just had to make sure it was still developing! Then came the day that I heard cheeping from the egg. I was so excited to see a little pip!

cracked egg hatching

I checked on that egg at least 2 dozen times in the next few hours. I watched as he slowly zipped around. I was worried that the wax wouldn't give enough. I was prepared to have to chip the wax off myself, or help him break through it. Luckily he managed to zip completely and he finally popped the top off! He was laying there resting the next time I came in to check on him.


Chick hatching, cracked egg

Here is a short video I made of hatch day. I don't recommend 'helping' in normal hatching conditions, but being that the shell was pretty much 'glued' back together with wax I decided to reach in and make sure he could get himself out:



We decided to call him Lucky. He certainly is one lucky little guy. Of course I'm hoping for a little roo! (that's a first, right?) I'll order a few hatching eggs from another breeder for a main roo, but if this one is a cockerel I'll keep him as a back up and give him some girls of his own. If it's a little pullet, she'll join the flock too. Either way I'm just glad to get one more chick out of my beloved 'Big Boy'. I miss the little guy, he was an awesome roo! There was so much personality packed into that little bantam. He did his 'rooster duties' with the rest of the flock but his best girl was Pebbles.....you never saw one without the other. She was his best friend and it was so stinkin cute! There are 2 more eggs that have been developing that I put under a Silkie mama. They were safe from my lid-dropping episode. They should hatch tomorrow.

booted bantam rooster


I'm so happy to have this chick and possibly 2 more. RIP buddy......we'll take good care of your flock and new chicks!

~L
                                                           

17 comments:

  1. Awww, so sweet. Glad you saved the chick. There is nothing worse than losing a favorite chicken. When I lost mine I had been saving eggs for her to sit on. All 10 eggs hatched. None of them looked like her which was a bummer but a blessing, I was still too sad. The next generation had several that looked like her and I was emotionally ready for them ☺

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    1. Awww, I'm so glad you got another one like her! What a great story..thanks!

      ~L

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  2. Awesome! I never considered wax to seal an egg back up but your quick thinking and desperation sure payed off. I know this will come in very handy for me. I hope it's a rooster too!

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    1. Thanks! I've tried tape and glue also, but wax has worked the best. Just make sure it's a plain white candle. I'm not sure if the additives in colored or fragrance candles would hurt..but why try?

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~L

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  3. what a great tip! I'm getting my first chicks in March, and can't wait! I have been pinning EVERY possible thing I can to ensure my ability to take care of the chicks...this is just one more thing to add! hope the other eggs hatch soon!

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    1. Good luck with your chicks! If you have any questions or problems you can email me through here or Google+, Facebook etc...I'd love to help.

      ~L

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  4. Excellent post Lisa. I am choosing it as this week's favorite for the From the Farm Blog Hop. I keep a stick of beeswax in my incubating kit for this very reason but fortunately have never had to use it. So inspiring to know that even a pretty major crack like that can be fixed. You did an awesome job!
    Lisa
    Fresh Eggs Daily
    www.fresh-eggs-daily.com

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    1. Wow...thank you so much! I'm so flattered!

      Lisa

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  5. I'm so glad this worked for you. I know how stressful it is to watch and wait.

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    1. Exactly! It was one loooong week! lol

      ~L

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  6. Impressive save! I've used parafin on tiny cracks before, but never anything quite as severe as the one in your photos. I'm thrilled that the little one made it. Well done!

    Thanks for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop again this week!

    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick
    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

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    1. Thank you! I'm so glad I knew what to do.
      Stopping by to check out your hop again this week!

      ~L

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  7. Update please, did you get a roo?

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    1. Unfortunately, we did not. I eventually found a breeder with a line that I liked to get more eggs from. Today is hatch day! It looks like I'm going to have at least 6 hatch so I'm hoping for 2 roos! Definitely keeping a backup roo this time!
      Thanks for asking!

      ~L

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  8. I was so worried about one of my hens eggs because I dropped it and put a dent in the bottom of the egg. Yesterday I could only see a small yellow yolk when I candled it . Today I see the yolk has filled half of the egg along with a few branches if blood filled veins. I am so glad it is developing. I will have to try your wax trick . Your blog definitely gives me alot of hope for my poor egg. Thank you so much. I will keep you posted.

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    1. You should try it! The sooner you get the cracks sealed, the better chance it has of hatching. I'd love to know how it works out!

      ~L

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    2. We have a cracked egg under the hen at day 17. We can see it moving through the crack so we will try the candle trick. I'm a little worried to put it back under mama but we don't have an incubator. -Thanks!

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