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How to Help a Baby Chick Out of a Dried Membrane

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Sometimes baby chicks don't make it all the way out of the shell or do not come out cleanly before the egg membrane dries on them. Commonly, the humidity in in an incubator may be too low, causing membranes to dry out quicker than a chick can break free of the shell. If increasing the humidity in your incubator does not remedy the problem, your chick may require your assistance.

Helping the Chick

If the chick is still inside the shell, moisten a a clean cloth in water that is just warm to the touch. The cloth should be damp, not dripping water. Hold the cloth over the edges of the membrane to moisten it, being careful not to drown the chick. Pick away bits of shell with your fingers to enlarge the hole. A viable chick will be able to kick his way out with a minimum of interference over the course of several hours if you keep the membrane moist.

Out of the Shell

If your chick is out of his shell but bits of membrane are sticking to him, use the warm, damp cloth to gently rub them away. Pay particular attention to his nostrils and his vent -- the opening under his tail. Add hydrogen peroxide to the water in a half-and-half solution, and apply it with a cotton swab to loosen bits adhered to the skin. Use tweezers to remove the moistened membrane, taking care not to cause bleeding.