Q: My chicks are dying in the shell. What can I do?

Most of the time when youngsters cannot come out of the egg, it is a mineral deficiency, more specifically, an iodine deficiency. This is very much like people in the old days used to get goiters, in other words, big lumps on their throats. That is when the government stepped in and had the manufacturers of salt iodize the salt. In this way, the total population received an iodine supplement whenever salt was used in food.

This problem really arises when the land that our grain is grown on is depleted of certain minerals by constantly having the same plants grown on it. Some supply houses sell you hatching solutions to put in the water in order for this not to happen. Many people over the years have made considerable money selling iodine in disguise. But in reality, if you can purchase some Lugose iodine, which is a strong form of iodine and use about 3 drops to a gallon of water once a week prior to breeding and also during the breeding season, you will normally (99% of the time) find your problem solved.

Should this not solve your problem, then you may be dealing with a form of paratyphoid, but this will usually have manifested itself prior to the breeding season. In fact, paratyphoid will usually show up in breeding hens during late fall and winter. For some strange reason unknown to me it seems to occur during the short dark months of the year more than any other time. Just an observation, certainly no scientific proof for this.