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Posts Tagged ‘Umbilical cord’


My post office man called me yesterday morning at 6:15 am to let me know my chicks were in.

I was skeered.

I’d read horror stories about chicks being shipped and all of them DOA. Or many of them dead. Or a few dead.

I haven’t lost a chick yet. BUT. I’ve not ever had them shipped to me. This doesn’t mean they weren’t shipped at all- they actually were, but the hatchery was also in NM and about an hour away.

This time, though, they were coming from across the country- from NM. 😆

I was totally thrilled that they were coming from the same hatchery that I had gotten all my other NM chickies from, because I knew they were healthy to begin with. {And, I’m pretty sure the bantams less the local silkies came from that same hatchery, too!}

Even though I knew the hatchery and had good luck before, I was still worried.

We got there and could hear the cheeping before the main door was even open. 😆

We had him cut the bands so we could have a witness when we opened the box for the first time.

Everyone was alive!

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We trucked on home with the heater on full blast because they were cold. And then, before we counted them, we put them into the brooder under the heat lamp.

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Honestly, we should have counted then because when they are zipping all over the place, it’s hard to know if you counted some twice. I think that’s what happening, even though I seem to pretty consistently count 43…………….

I spent all of yesterday watching them. No joke. It’s important to observe them as much as you can early on because things can happen quickly.

I came down this morning to a bloody chick. Initially, we thought one was pecking the other, but when we picked her up, the other chick wouldn’t let go, and was literally dangling in the air. It was clear the one chick was distressed and was being hurt.

I flipped her over and she was all bloody. 😥

Once I cleaned her up, I took these pictures.

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Seems to me her umbilical cord hadn’t detached from the yolk sac. How I didn’t see this yesterday is a mystery to me, except she was dry and fluffy and acting normal.

The yolk sac in a chick acts like a placenta does in a human- it’s full of nutrients and is attached to the body. This is why chicks don’t “need” to eat for about 2-3 days because they have the needed nutrients from the absorbed yolk sac.

One thing to know is that yes, they can bleed from them. If you yank on the umbilical cord, you can essentially disembowel a chick and kill it. Yanking can also cause heniation, which is also bad. The best thing to do is to leave it alone.

While we haven’t hatched out our own chicks, we do have some experience {very limited} with hatchlings. We babysat some pea fowl that were hatching a few years ago. In that case, his belly button stump was rubbing on the grate of the bottom of the incubator, causing it to bleed.

So, I wasn’t totally clueless. 😆

After cleaning the blood up, I needed to assess and determine what, if anything, I needed to do.

In the meantime, her leg got stuck on it and she started to yank, which made it start bleeding again.

I needed to get it off.

I soaked her in a dish of warm water to soften it up to see if it would come loose, since it was around her neck, too. Once it was soft enough to get off her body without plucking any feathers, I went ahead and snipped the outer edge of each point. This part was already dried so I knew it wouldn’t be messy.

Once that part came free, I got to really looking at the bottom end, knowing I needed to snip somewhere so it wouldn’t be dragged around causing attention. Lucky for us, there was a very thin spot that was just hanging on by a thread, so that’s where I snipped.

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I applied pressure to prevent any further bleeding, but it was a little oozy.

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Fortunately, I always have some blood stop powder on hand, so I made sure she was coated on any part that could bleed.

I put her in a separate box in the brooder, but she kept hopping out. I figured she was happier with everyone else, and as long as they didn’t pick at her, it should be ok.

The only thing I need to watch for is hernia. She is a bit sleepy, but is still eating and drinking. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

I’ve got another Buff Orpington that has a wee bald spot on the side of her head that today looks a little bruised. She’s also eating and drinking just fine. I’m not worried, but it bears observing.

If you’ve been wondering what my weekend is looking like, now you know. 😦

*** Updating to share that she just passed a few minutes ago. She didn’t bleed out, though. There was some clear stuff that came out of her nose. She had gotten very cold, too, even being under the lamp. A day of some sad firsts. 😥

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