egg bound hen. Need some advice!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Mawchickkidie, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. Mawchickkidie

    Mawchickkidie Songster

    Nov 7, 2007
    Wister, Oklahoma
    Hello everyone, I have a turken that should have laid her first egg by now, I noticed 3 days ago that she was acting strange so I took my precautionary steps and wormed her and watch here poop to make sure it was solid, I have given her antibiotics, and she still would not move around much, or eat with out being hand feed, and she has sat in a nest box all day and still looked peaked, and worn out so I decided to start my sreach as to what the problem may be, all the time considering that it could possible be egg binding and I was right, I did my finger check and as far as I can tell there is two eggs in there, one that is just right there at the vent, problem is that I cannot see the white shell as there is a membrane that seems to be holding it in, I cannot move my finger up over the top of it but can move it under and kinda to the sides, I do know it is an egg for sure as I can move it and feel the shape of it, what I need to find out is if I can go under it and hook the back and push as she is trying to push it out, but I cannot find a hole as to where it should come out of, all I keep getting is a thin wall type of a membrane. Can any one give me some advice or a link to a good picture of the reproductive track so that I might could figure it out. Thanks for the help! Maw
  2. sammi

    sammi Songster

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    not sure that poking around is a good could end up breaking the egg, then have more problems..
    it's possible she has a soft shelled egg...

    Egg Bound Birds

    Egg bound is when your hen can't pass or lay an egg. The pressure of the egg there at the vent may stop her from passing manure as well. It is bad news, undetected or left untreated it has a high fatality rate and the complications can lead to the hen having to be put down even if the egg is passed. I don’t mean to scare you but it is important that an egg bound hen is recognized early and treated so here is a bit of information on the problem.

    Factors that can lead up to egg binding and their prevention are:

    Pullets starting to lay too young - Try and avoid exposing pullets to more than 14 hours of light per day or lengthening hours of light prior to 20 weeks of age. Obviously not possible at some times of the year for those who have their flocks in natural light.

    Laying hens too fat – Watch the hens weight and reduce or remove high calorie treats like corn if necessary. Keep them fit, the more exercise they get the better.

    Hypocalcemia - The lack of free calcium in the blood. Free calcium is needed for proper smooth muscle contraction and the lack of it can mean that she does not have the muscle power to expel the egg. Don’t confuse this with the calcium that she needs to create the egg shell. Hens with fine egg shell quality can still have a hypocalcemic crisis.

    Egg shell too rough or egg too large – Hens that have not rested from laying can get chronic big rough eggs and have problems with them. Inducing a molt (see treatment) may help them as would extra calcium supplementation. All hens occasionally lay big or rough eggs and those can’t be prevented.

    Injury or swelling at the vent or in the reproductive tract – Sometimes a hen ‘works up’ to being fully egg bound by having a bit of trouble passing an egg each day. Pain and swelling increases each time. Noticing the hen is in distress would be difficult but if you catch it before she gets fully eggbound treat her with ASA in her water and Preparation H in her vent.

    Recognition: is very important, the earlier the better. The hen often stands or moves in an odd way, usually with her tail held very low and her rear end tucked between her legs. Sometimes they just sit around looking ruffled, but often it is obvious the bird is straining to pass an egg. If you feel her abdomen you may be able to palpate the egg and she may let you know that is the painful area.

    Treatment: begins with separating the hen to a quiet warm area. Sometimes a heat lamp over a makeshift nest box is all they need. Warmth relaxes the hen so that the vent can dilate more allowing the egg to pass. A warm water bath is a great option. Hens that are egg bound and placed in a sink of water will immerse themselves squatting down and look like they are nesting. This is helpful in diagnosis as an ill hen will usually stand in the water wondering why you put her there or get out. Often the hen will pass the egg into the water bath. Make the water as hot as you would like to take a long soak in if you were sore from overwork the day before.

    The hen can be given Calcium Sandoz. It is a liquid calcium supplement that most drug stores carry. Give 1 cc to a standard and half to a bantam by mouth. Add 1 cc to each quart or litre of water that she has while in treatment. Even if the cause is not hypocalcemia in this hen’s case it will not hurt her to have more calcium.

    If in doubt as to if the hen is egg bound a few vet sites recommend separation, warmth, warm bath and calcium to all hens in lay that seem distressed. Since treatment is only successful if done early and none of these thing can harm her even if she is not egg bound up to this point it is better safe than sorry.

    If treatment so far has not helped her out you need to get some oil, mineral oil or vegetable oil, or a personal lubricant like KY jelly and liberally apply it to her vent and your finger and put the finger into her vent very gently and upward in direction. Downward would get you into the digestive tract. If you reach an egg try to get some of the lubricant into the area and sweep your finger past the egg and help the lubricant get all around the egg. Give the hen a rest and perhaps another chance to pass the egg herself depending on her condition. Hens go into profound cardiovascular collapse over being egg bound and she may not be able to put in the effort to try anymore. If not place your well lubed finger in there again and if you can get past the egg and sweep or traction it gently out. If you can’t do that the last resort is to gently break the end of the egg and allow the contents to pass and the shell to collapse. It is vital that all of the shell be removed from the hen. Be very gentle as she will get internal cuts from the egg shell. If you have to do this place the hen on antibiotics following removal if she survives.

    Following passing or removal of the egg keep the hen in a warm quiet area separate until she is out of shock and back eating and drinking well.

    Complications from being egg bound can be swelling, bleeding or prolapse of the oviduct. Some swelling is normal and the hen can be given ASA (Aspirin or acetylsalicylic acid) at the rate of 5 of the 5grain ASA tablets to each gallon of water. Preperation H can be placed in the vent as well. If the oviduct prolapsed gently wash it off and lube it up well with oil or KY and very gently place it back pushing inward and upward. There will be a lot of swelling after so add Preparation H to her vent and ASA to her water. Bleeding that continues past that day should be treated with antibiotics.

    Recurrence is common. Hens that have been egg bound often take a rest from laying and that healing time is important. If she does not take time off and seems to have continued problems you can induce a molt by keeping her in only dim light for less than 10 hours a day and darkness for the rest. Laying will shut down after 4 or 5 days and a molt in another 2 weeks. If you put her back in regular lighting conditions after the laying stops she may not go into a full molt and resume laying in a week or 2. I have done that to give a hen some healing time and it was successful.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
    1 person likes this.
  3. WriterofWords

    WriterofWords Has Fainting Chickens

    Dec 25, 2007
    Chaparral, New Mexico
    I've only had an egg bound duck, but I held her up and let her dangle a bit to see if gravity would help. When it didn't I've had to wrap her a warm moist towel and gently massage her in downward GENTLE motions until it worked. One time I did give her some castor oil internally and also externally,, that wasn't easy but boy did she shoot those two eggs out. I used a syringe without a needle on the end to shoot it into her vent,,, she wasn't happy with me, but it worked.
  4. Mawchickkidie

    Mawchickkidie Songster

    Nov 7, 2007
    Wister, Oklahoma
    well after some extensive research and talking to quite a few chicken experts. And trying all recomended therapys, I knew for sure that she was eggs bound after a couple of days of watching her and due to her age this is her first lay, I slapped the gloves on and lubed up and went in to make sure, after that I hit the net and looked up every possible treatment then I used the veg/ky treatment to start out with as she didn't seem to be in that much distress as she was still here and there out side scratchin round with the other hens, so I did a couple of shots of prep-H and veg oil to see if we could get things sliding along, when that didn't help we then started the warm soaking baths which by the way she loved, after 3 days of oil and soaking nothing ( during the whole ordeal she is pooping which is a good sign) So I brought her in the house and placed her in a brooder and put a dark sheet over most of the brooder and sat a heating pad under her as recomended by my vet, still nothing so today was d-day as in do something now or don't and let her back outside and spend what time she has left until she does get worse and i have to put her down, So I did something. I tryed to collapse the egg but it was so hard the I couldn't get it to break and I could not get my finger past the egg to help track it out so I call the vet and he said to massage it and push it out from the out side, So thats what I did I let her alone until the egg was as close as she could get it to the vent and then I had to force it the rest of the way but it is finally out, upon leaving the vent it dropped to the table with a thud that was hard enough to break it but instead it bounce, upon inspecting the egg there was a thick layer of not quite hard but like a thick wax and two rather larger knots that after removing them had what look like a meated type of inside to them after removing this layer of wax and washing the egg it cracked rather easly and inspection of the shell showed no signs of it being to thick or too thin. Now she still has one more egg inside her and I did get a good feel of it and it seems rather soft shelled we will see if she passes it in a day or two if not we will have to remove that one as well

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: