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How To Help A Chicken That Hatched With Its Intestines Hanging Out!

When you are having chickens hatch out, it can very disheartening to find that some will not be healthy in just about every batch.

In fact, 70 to 90 percent of your eggs will hatch out very healthy chicks from an incubator. Some hens may actually have a better hatch rate than this if they are allowed to sit on their eggs to incubate them.

Several things can lead to this occurrence, which is called gastroschisis and it can be that the intestines are protruding from close to the umbilical cord or they may be spilling out of the vent.

A chicken’s vent is the area under the tail that disposes of waste and it’s the same area where the eggs come out of a chicken when she lays them. It’s a much more serious condition if the spillage of intestines is from the vent and you have a lower rate of survival in this case.

Several things can happen that may make you think it is the intestines you are looking at on your baby chick. It can be an umbilical hernia, a prolapse, an unabsorbed yolk sac, or gastroschisis.

You must first identify what it is that you are looking at in order to help your chick hatched with intestines out. The intestines are a bluish-red color and have twists in them.

Why Did My Chick Hatch With Its Intestines Out?

Various items can lead to intestinal exposure when a chick first hatches out of an egg. Most seem to point to improper conditions in the incubator though.

One of the most common reasons for gastroschisis is that the eggs were not rotated properly in the incubator.

A mother hen just instinctively knows to rotate the eggs that she is sitting on, but if you use an incubator it should be automated with a timer to rotate the eggs properly or you will need to be sure and do it by hand because not rotating them often enough will cause organs to stick to the shell and cause gastroschisis.

An incorrect temperature or humidity level in an incubator can also cause baby chicks to be deformed as they hatch. It can cause many other things to go wrong as well.

Incorrect humidity and temperatures can cause naval infections, unabsorbed yolk, or gastroschisis and make your chick very sick.

In addition to the wrong humidity and temperature comes the dreaded bacteria buildup in your incubator.

This is caused by both the humidity and temperature being too high, too low, or a lot of variations in them. Heavy bacteria is shown to cause intestinal and other birth defects in newly hatched chicks.

Can I Push My Chicks Intestines Back In?

If you don’t want to incur a hefty vet bill for one baby chick, you can try to save your baby yourself with only a few items that you most likely have around your home or farm.

First, wash your hands well with antibacterial soap and warm water, then sterilize the surface where you will be working with your chick with rubbing alcohol.

Hold the chick in one hand and dip a cotton swab in alcohol to clean around the area of the intestines hanging out to disinfect it.

Then use the cotton swab to very gently push the intestines back through the hole when they are protruding.

If this was close to the navel on the abdomen, you can put a drop of super glue on the area to seal it shut so the intestines stay where they should be.

If the intestines are outside of the body from the vent, you can follow the same procedures but don’t use super glue to close the opening.

Intestines protruding out of the vent is more tricky and your chick may not have the best survival rate. If you want to schedule a video call with a veterinarian, he should be able to assist you in the procedures that you need to perform.

Can A Chick Born With Its Intestines Hanging Out Survive?

The best survival rate for this condition is if the intestines were close to the umbilical cord and were only protruding a very small amount from the skin.

The more area that is on the outside of the chick, the less the survival rate is. If you put the intestines back in, you need to isolate this chick so it can heal, as other chicks or chickens will try to peck at the area where you repaired it.

Make sure that the brooder where you place your repaired chick is at an appropriate temperature with a heating plate or a light bulb especially made for chicken brooders. and give it clean water and food daily.

You should clean the brooder at least 3 times a week to make certain the chick doesn’t get an infection in the area of the repair.

If you see signs of infection just starting, you can use a general antibiotic cream on the area, several times a day to heal it.

Watch the chick closely to monitor its condition. Sadly enough, if it isn’t eating or drinking well, it may not survive, but at least you know you tried your best.

Even the most experienced avian vet may not be successful in the treatment for this disorder and that’s after you made an appointment for the chick and paid quite a sum of money for help.


If you are new to using an incubator to hatch out chicks, make sure you read all of the instructions and follow them perfectly so the chicks have the best possible outcome with the correct temperature and humidity levels needed to thrive. You may decide to get a higher-quality incubator with an automatic egg turner that operates on a timer. Also, remember not to interfere with the chicks when they start hatching for the best results and to prevent a chick hatched with intestines out.