Chick Born Live, Not Hatched

04/20/2012

Eggless chickThe BBC is reporting on a fascinating animal oddity from Sri Lanka: a chicken that was born live rather than being hatched from an egg that the mother chicken incubated in the nest.

From the BBC:

"Instead of passing out of the hen's body and being incubated outside, the egg was incubated in the hen for 21 days and then hatched inside the hen."

The chick seems to be totally healthy despite its unconventional internal incubation instead of the normal external one.  Sadly the mother chicken has died from internal wounds, presumabley from the process of the chick hatching and the sharp remnants of the eggshell left inside her body.  

But it's still remarkable that the tiny chick survived, given that once out of the shell it would need to begin breathing which would be difficult inside the mother's body.   Unlike mammals that are attached to their mother by an umbilical cord and receive oxygen and nutrients until they are fully born into the world and the cord is cut, the chick would have no such access to air.  

Also remarkable is that it wasn't crushed on the way out, given that chicken bodies are designed to pass hard-shelled eggs, not soft, delicate newborns.

Photo by Manula Kumarage via the BBC.

 


David Mizejewski is a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. His goal is to inspire others to appreciate the wonders of nature. Meet David >
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