Egg bound

by Debra
(East Haddam, CT USA)


Can an egg get stuck? Why would this happen, and what can be done?

Yes this happens a lot. An egg can be just a little too big to pass easily, it may be rough, or the hen didn’t have enough moisture in her oviduct and uterus to lubricate it on its way.

One cause can be mineral deficiencies. As the egg passes through the oviduct/uterus it’s coated with calcium, but there is also a liquid protective coating that dries quickly once the egg is laid.

This is a life threatening situation. Hens lay eggs and pass droppings through their vent. When an egg is passing through the opening that passes droppings is shut.

This keeps the egg clean. But with an egg stuck a chicken cannot pass droppings (usually) and this can cause a toxic build up inside her.

If the egg is visible at all take some oil (like cooking oil) and lubricate as much of the egg as possible and the vent area.

Don’t try to force the egg out as it may crack and cut her inside. Fill a deep sink with very warm water, enough to cover her tail let her stand. Soak her in it for about 10 minutes. (Stay with her and hold her as chickens don’t swim.)

Often this will relax her muscles and release the egg. More lubrication may be needed to help her pass the egg. Some gentle massaging may help work it out.

Hopefully all that will come out is the egg. Sometimes they push so hard that some of the insides come out.

If there is any bleeding I would suggest a visit to the vet and some antibiotics. This may be a one time occurrence, but this may also be a sign that she won’t be a good layer for you. Some hens just aren’t built right and laying is a problem.

Hope this helps and she is OK.

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Possibly Egg Bound?

by Mohammed Hai
(Georgetown Ontario, Canada)

I have a chicken that looks ill. Her feathers look all fluffed up, she does not move around much, prefers to stand on one leg, her egg pouch area looks swollen. What should I do?

It sounds like your chicken is egg bound.

Moist heat is considered the safest remedy for egg binding in chickens. The easiest way to apply this is to put the hen in a cage that is wire and put a pot or pan of hot water under the cage.

Make sure it is hot enough, but not too hot as the steam will burn her.

To supplement this you can put a heat lamp over her as well. This should help speed up the process a little bit. It should be set from about 90 to no more than 102 degrees.

Hens commonly pass the egg in a couple of hours when given this treatment.

If she does not pass the egg, and continues to have problems you should contact your vet as he can give the hen a shot that can help as well.

If she perks up before passing an egg she is not bound and may have another problem.

This is the most tried and true method available and is the one that I would use on my hen. Don't try others such as inserting oils in the hen or breaking the egg and removing the pieces.

Both of these methods are dangerous and could cause infections.

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Rhode Island Red standing in a strange position

by Amy
(Ashaway, RI)

We got 5 Rhode Island Red hens about 3 months ago. One of the hens has a very small comb compared to the rest of the flock.

We do let our chickens out of the coop to roam over very large property every few days. The other 4 immediately come out, but she never does.

She is also much less excitable than the rest. She also has never laid an egg. This morning when I went outside I noticed that she was standing in a strange position.

It is almost like the position of an eagle sitting on a tree branch. She still moves over to me, but always in that position.

She is eating and drinking, but just won't stand all the way. Any ideas what might be wrong?

Have you checked to see if she is egg bound? An egg bound hen will walk rather oddly. Put her in a warm tub to soak for a few minutes.

Rub some olive oil inside and outside of the vent. Feel inside to see if you can locate an egg. If there is no egg inside, I would advise that you consult your local veterinarian.

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Chicken not walking

I have a 10 month old chicken it recently began to sit more than walk.

When she walks it appears the bottom of her feet hurt, stepping slowly and raising one leg fairly high in her gait.

She is eating and drinking water. Her feathers are shiny. She is not pale and there is no drainage from her eyes or beak.

Her bottom is clean. When she has eaten scratch it does not appear to have digested. A week ago she was running around with the other hens. Now she runs only when frightened.

They were free range chickens but I have confined them to fenced area of approximately 100 square feet.

She will get up and come to the fence when I approach but will quickly sit down. Any ideas what could be wrong with her?

You might check to see if she is egg bound. I would check her over thoroughly, looking for injuries on her body or feet and lumps near her vent that could be eggs backed up.

Caging her would be a good idea, so her food and water are close and see if she is laying. Giving her a vitamin and mineral supplement might help.

The fact that she can walk and run, when she feels she needs to makes it sound like she might be in pain. Keep her warm and dry with enough room to move around and not get dirty.

You might have a stool sample checked to see if there is some infection, parasites making her weak, or a virus.

Some chicken diseases start with leg weakness and progress, but finding the right antibiotic means discovering what is wrong.

Supporting her with easy access to food, water and supplements, possibly a heat lamp may help her regain her strength.

I wish I could tell you more than this, but you would need a vet to diagnose this specifically.

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