Most hatches are uneventful, but there’s always the potential for complications. It could be shrink wrapping, chicks pipping on the wrong end, pipping through a blood vessel, chicks hatching out suffering from physical maladies, etc.
I posted a while back about knocking over an incubator full of guinea fowl eggs. Out of the very few eggs that survived unscathed from that little tumble, only one keet hatched out. That keet’s doing well, by the way, and luckily enough, was joined a few days later by keets that one of our guinea hens hatched (so at least, it wasn’t a lone keet for long).
With the guinea laying season ending soon, there was no way I could keep from doing just one more hatch. So, I ordered more eggs (also from a multi-color flock) and had them shipped here. They went in the incubator on September 7th, and Thursday they finally began hatching out.
But there’s a little problem. . . remember the complications I mentioned. As soon as the first couple were dry and fluffed up, I quickly removed them to a brooder where their curled toes were all too apparent.
Curled toes in chicks (or keets, in this case) can be typically caused by:
Temperature fluctuations during incubation.
A difficult or prolonged hatch.
A vitamin deficiency in the parent stock.
The eggs were in our Brinsea Octagon 20 which has been spot on temperature wise, so I don’t think that’s the cause. Four out of seven of the keets that have hatched out so far have been affected, so I doubt it’s being caused by an injury.
The good news, is that curled toes are easily correctable if caught early. Even better, the treatment is easy.
There are two things you can do:
1) Supplement vitamins by giving the chicks Poly-vi-sol infant drops (without iron).
2) Create a little shoe out of thin cardboard (the boxes that packs of canned drinks are sold in are great for this) and tape or the sticky part of a bandaid to hold the toes straight.
If the cause of the curled toes is vitamin deficiency in the parents, then the toes will usually improve just by administering the infant drops. That’s the course of treatment we tried first, and after less than 24 hours, the keets’ toes are already much better.
Below is one of the affected guineas the day after beginning treatment.