Oy! Hello Chicken friends. Where to start? This is my first set of chickens, 2 Welsummers and 1 EE. At 5 1/2 months old, I didn't expect eggs for another month or two (seemed like Welsummers were sometimes late bloomers). About 2 1/2 weeks ago, we noticed our Welsummer Amelia was not moving much and when we looked, her first egg was stuck and there was intestinal/gut tissue surrounding it. Short story: emergency vet time! (it was night before I was going out of town) she actually got chicken anesthesia and the vet couldn't manually remove the egg, so had to break it : ( she also got a chicken suture and i was sent home with chicken antibiotic injections. she was diagnosed w/a prolapsed oviduct/uterus also. i was out of the country for a couple weeks, so had to depend on my friends who never raised chickens either. they did a great job caring for her. it looks to me like she might have gotten a 2nd egg stuck and they tried to push it back in, but the egg broke, so they took her to another emergency vet. she is an expensive chicken! this vet cleaned her out, took the sutures out, put in staples for a day, then removed them the next day. Amelia has been on pain meds and antibiotics ever since. She is eating and drinking well. Poor thing, she is a young chicken too. So we have been thru a lot with our first chicken! a couple of questions, feel free to answer any or all: (1) I've read that a lot of chickens like this get culled immediately or eventually, as the condition tends to recur. Does anyone have other opinions/experiences w/this? Like are there any success stories? i think if this happens again, i may have to put her down. or look into a hysterectomy, though i bet that would be expensive. each emergency vet trip has been a lot of $$$ so far. I would love her to be my pet chicken and would care for her even if she doesn't lay eggs. (2) I feel bad because the first vet said that egg-binding could be from lack of calcium in the diet. Which would be true, because I was only feeding them Grower food (not Layer), and I wasn't supplementing w/oyster shells. Interestingly, the vet said I should immediately get oyster shells for all the chickens and switch them to Layer food. I did, and one of the positive things in our story, is that Amelia's sister Welsummers laid her first egg the next day! she has been laying ever since the past 2 weeks, it has been exciting. I noticed that chicken downed the oyster shells as soon as I introduced them to it. So for future reference: --when do you start Layer feed and oyster shells? i must have been mistaken. I thought it went baby chick feed--> grower--> layer. I thought you switch to Layer and oyster shells once they start laying. but it seems i should have started them earlier? (3) Egg binding can occur in underweight, young chicks that start laying early. I think both could be Amelia. She is and has always been smaller/lighter than her Welsummers sister, who is laying well currently. I also wasn't expecting eggs till Jan/Feb even. If someone has insights into this, please let us know. (4) Keeping her in dark-- anyone know how long to do this for? I have been keeping her mostly in the dark in the garage, isolated from the other 2. She comes out into the living room in the evenings, and I also let her out in the backyard to free-range. Interestingly, the first vet said to keep her in the dark, and that it would be best if she didn't lay another egg until the spring, so her body could heal. However, this is California, so it is rather sunny here. I think we could only do that if I really kept her in the dark a lot. The 2nd vet said not to worry about keeping her in the dark. but then, I'm pretty sure she will lay another egg soon. Are there any downsides/dangers to watch for in keeping her in the dark too much? She has been in the dark now for 2 1/2 weeks. Wonder how long I should keep doing this for? (5) My friend's father was a poultry professor, who said that another way to keep her from laying eggs is to change her nutrition. Don't give her Laying feed or oyster shells. So while I was gone, my friend did this and had her eat cornmeal only. However, I'm concerned about continuing this diet-- it seems like she would get undernourished? also if she does lay another egg, it would be important that she had enough calcium or she can get egg-bound again from the lack of calcium, no? (6) Amelia has been away from her 2 sisters x 2 1/2 weeks now. She lives in her own crate most of the time. When I've let her run with her sisters, they both seem to peck at her and dislike her : ( Is this normal, even though they all grew up together the past 6 months? ever since they were baby chicks? i expect the EE to be a little aggressive as she is alpha. but her Welsummers sister has always been docile to her, but I notice not anymore. Will there be problems re-integrating her into the flock? anything to make this easier? Thanks for any help/thoughts/suggestions!