Does My Chicken Have Egg Binding?

Aug 3, 2017
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Hello, I have a Barnevelder who is about a year. I haven't seen her lay an egg for a while now, and a few days ago I felt under her stomach for an egg and I think I felt one. I waited to see if she was just taking longer than normal to lay her egg, but she didn't lay one. And today she was in the nesting box and even made a little dip in the shavings to lay her egg, but she didn't lay one. I am worried she has egg binding, and I am not sure what to do. She doesn't seem sick, and she isn't acting differently. So I don't know what is wrong. Please help.
 

Kiki

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She may be laying internally, and unfortunately there isn't much that can be done for that.

Does her belly feel full?
Squishy?
 

rebrascora

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If she hasn't laid any eggs in a while and you can feel a swelling between he legs in her abdomen, then she is most likely laying internally. This is very different to egg binding which will usually prove fatal within a few days if not resolved.

Internal laying is when egg yolks released from the ovary fail to travel into the oviduct and instead they fall into the abdominal cavity and settle in the lowest part nestled under the intestines between the hens legs. Each day another yolk drops into the cavity and a large mass builds up. Fluid from the egg yolks seeps out and the egg solidifies. The fluid collects in the lowest part of the abdomen and the solidified egg yolks sit on top of it with the intestines on top of that. Pressure builds up with all this additional material inside the hen and puts pressure on her heart and lungs and intestines. The hen usually looks healthy with a red comb that signifies that she is ovulating, but no eggs are laid in the nests. The hen may visit the nest because she may feel the need to lay an egg, even though it is not possible for her to lay one.

If you have the funds for veterinary treatment then the fluid can be drained off which will give almost instant relief and an hormonal implant every 3-6 months will prevent her from ovulating and therefore stop things getting any worse.... this will be expensive though. You could try to drain some of the fluid off yourself and there are You Tube videos that will show you how to do it.....search draining ascites or water belly. Draining will only buy you time and will not cure the problem and eventually it will unfortunately prove fatal as the mass of egg yolks will either become infected or cause organ failure. It will probably be necessary to repeat the draining process at regular intervals too.

I appreciate she may look very healthy at the moment and just be acting strangely, but if I am right, this will eventually be terminal and the best you can do is make her as comfortable as possible for as long as you can.

Good luck

Barbara
 

rebrascora

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She is probably not in immediate danger. I've had them go for months before succumbing, so I would book an appointment rather than an emergency admission. Obviously if she starts to deteriorate suddenly, then it may turn out to be egg binding after all and you would need to take more urgent action. But you would not expect to see swelling between the legs with egg binding because the ovary is located on the top side of the body cavity and the oviduct brings the egg downwards from there to the vent to be expelled, so an egg that was stuck in the oviduct or cloaca would be at vent height, not down there.
In the mean time do plenty of research, so that you understand the situation more clearly and have an idea about your options. You might go in and find you know more than the vet if they are not familiar with chickens but they should still be competent to drain fluid from her and make her more comfortable.... and perhaps show you how you can drain her yourself in the coming weeks/months.
 

Kiki

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Please keep us updated on her.
Should you choose to take her to a vet or not.
 
Aug 3, 2017
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We did some research and found out that chickens can stop laying eggs from a few days to a couple weeks if they go an hour or more without water. And I think that makes sense because recently I went out there in the morning to see that their water was completely empty. Also the other hen also stopped laying eggs the other day. I don't think it is a disease because they look completely normal and healthy.
 

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