Drama Queen Hen in trouble again - questions about egg binding with soft eggs.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Mehitabel, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. Hello again.

    Looks like Lana, my Problem Child Columbian Rock, is at it again. First I had to teach her how to Chicken (first egg was preceded by a prolapse, then she freaked out at the strange oval thing she made), then she kept wedging herself onto odd corners trying to follow her "find a safe place to lay" instinct. Ever had to extract a chicken from under a car seat? It gets loud and flappy.

    Since then she's generally been a real doll: laying a large egg almost daily, super-friendly, likes to perch on my hat when I garden. Eating and drinking freely. Everyone gets the same diet: dry grower feed always available (they were out of layer, but it's only 1% lower protein), daily scoops of fermented feed/vegs/fruits/eggshell goop they gobble up, hen scratch scattered each evening with a dish of homemade yogurt every couple of days. Their calcium always available by the feed - I've had birds refuse oyster shell, so I bought the "bone and shell builder" calcium pellets, and I've seen them all wander by and nibble a bit every so often. Finally they get dirt, bugs, and the remains of my cole crops as they wander through my yard and orchard. These are happy pasture-raised chickens.

    Until tonight.

    I was putting them to bed and was one short. I found Lana hiding around a corner, fluffed and lethargic. Breathing seemed okay, but she was obviously unwell. Checked the vent for prolapse: nothing. Vent looked clean, but oddly puffy. So I picked her up and set her in the hospital cage, where she staggered and almost fell. This .... didn't look good. Tried giving her sugar water but she refused all attempts at hydration. Zero interest in food.

    I decided it was time to do a general chicken checkup, starting with "bend over, this won't hurt a bit". When I felt into the vent it felt VERY strange: puffy, like there was an inflammation. It got me wondering how fast a tumour could grow. She could barely stand and I had to hold her up with my other arm to check her, Did my best, but couldn't feel any eggshell so I ruled out egg binding. Vent was still very puffy and having spasms

    I figured a warm water bath would help soothe her (last time she fell asleep in the sink). Couldn't hurt. Got the fright of my life when after about ten minutes she heaved herself right out of the water, flapping weakly as she fell to the floor. I thought she was having a convulsion, but once I wrapped her in a towel she froze again. Figuring she wasn't going to make it through the night, I laid her in her hospital box (with heat lamp) and just tried to keep her warm and quiet.

    I only left the room long enough to get myself some water. When I came back she was standing, swaying a little, over a large egg. I couldn't understand it - I DID check her carefully and there was NO feeling of shell - until I picked it up: very soft shell, like picking up a water balloon.

    She was already perking up so I scrambled her up an egg and offered it with a bit of yogurt. She practically inhaled it. Now she's preening her feathers, pausing every so often to glare at me for getting her wet. Kids. There's no pleasing them.

    What the heck did I do wrong? She has always had calcium available, has always laid eggs with good strong shells. All the hens are laying almost daily, and no sign of soft shells from any of them. I've been looking online but can't find anything that would account for this sudden turn. I plan to put her back in with the others tomorrow after she's dried out....or should I keep her in for a couple of days until she lays a true egg?

    Any ideas?


    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
  2. chickcrack

    chickcrack Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 27, 2016
    Ontario, Canada
    Seems it's just a rubber egg. They are very hard for the hen to pass since there's nothing hard for their internal muscles to get leverage on. I had my little Bantam lay her first one ever couple months ago and she if 3 years old. Hers broke inside her so had to keep an eye for any signs of infection for a week but everything was fine...went back to normal laying in a couple days. I did have a couple hens that werent eating the oyster shell provided so added a couple more containers in different places and that seems to have corrected things...seems my hens have drawn a "do not cross" line in the coop and staked property which certain girls are not allowed to enter!
    I would give your girl a crushed tums or liquid calcium to give her a boost and so long as she is acting normal and her vent seems ok let her go back to the coop and just keep an eye. Good luck and let us know how she's doing.
  3. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    You most likely didn't feel the egg because it was soft shelled. Glad it came out and didn't break inside her.
    Sometimes it can be just a "glitch" and you may see one occasionally ,it could also be something lacking in her diet usually lack of Calcium, Vitamins E, B12, D,Phosphorous and Selenium. So giving her a some extra vitamins may help. Most feed stores carry poultry vitamins.

    Here's more info on egg quality:
    1 person likes this.

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