Hatching healthy chicks, who have no birth defects, is all a chicken farmer can hope for. Unfortunately, not all birds that hatch will come out healthy and with no issues.
If your chick hatches with something attached, this article will help you figure out what this is, why this happened, and what you should do about it.
If your bird hatches with something attached to it, then this is likely the bird’s umbilical cord, or it may be the bird’s yolk sac, which is attached to the bird via the umbilical cord.
Chick hatched with something attached
Newly hatched chickens are adorable, they may be almost bald, and have fluff instead of feathers, but they’re still pretty cute. If your bird has something attached to it when hatching, then this “something” can be one of two things:
If you notice a black cord attached to the bird’s body (below your bird’s vent) then you’re likely looking at the bird’s umbilical cord. This cord usually falls off during the hatching stage but this isn’t always the case
If you see a small orange sac attached to the umbilical cord then you’re likely looking at the bird’s yolk sac.
The yolk sac is attached to the bird through the umbilical cord and provides nutrition to the chick while the bird is in the egg. It also serves as a source of nutrition to the bird during the first few days of life outside of the egg.
This yolk sac should ideally be absorbed into the bird’s body before the bird hatches, but this doesn’t always happen.
What to do
The umbilical cord should ideally fall off within a few hours of the baby hatching. If this doesn’t happen, you may have to help it along.
You can help the umbilical cord fall off by applying some iodine on the cord to help it dry off and fall off on its own. If the cord doesn’t dry off and fall off on its own, then you may have to cut it off yourself.
Having the yolk sac hanging out of the bird’s body isn’t exactly ideal either. This part is attached to the insides of the bird’s body, while hanging outside of the bird’s body.
The yolk sac can be pecked at by other birds, stepped on, get infected by bacteria, or can slide out and bring the bird’s innards along with it. You should ideally cut the sac off and cauterize the stump immediately, or clamp it for 30 minutes
Why chicks hatch with something attached:
The last few days of the chick’s life in the shell is the absorption stage, this is when chicks absorb the umbilical cord, the blood vessels, and yolk sac into their bodies.
If your chick hatches too early, that is, before the 21-day mark or before the bird has absorbed all of these parts, then the bird will hatch with the umbilical cord outside of its body or hatch with both the umbilical cord and a yolk sac outside of its body.
Incorrect incubator settings:
Another reason why your bird may have hatched too early may be that your incubator settings were not correct, specifically the temperature of your incubator.
The perfect incubator temperature for chickens is 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit (37.5 degrees Celsius). If your incubator’s temperature settings are higher than this, then your birds will feel that this is a good time to hatch and will hatch, but this will be too early for them.
Baby chicks that have birth defects are more common among incubated chickens than birds that hatch under their mother. This is a sign that human technology hasn’t quite caught up with nature.
Another scenario where your bird may hatch with an unabsorbed umbilical cord, or an umbilical cord and yolk sac attached, is if you try to assist the bird to hatch, too soon.
If you assist with the hatch when the bird isn’t ready, the bird can hatch before the umbilical cord and yolk sac are absorbed
In conclusion, if a baby chick is born with something attached this may be the bird’s umbilical cord, or yolk sac attached to the bird’s umbilical cord.
These defects can happen if the bird is born earlier than it is supposed to be. If these parts don’t absorb into the bird’s body, or fall off, then you may have to cut them off
If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other chicken related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Chick Hatched With Yolk Sac Attached, Chick Hatched Too Early, Egg Pipped But No Movement