Egg Bound Hen *Update* The Egg Passed, Very Strange!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Enchanted Sunrise Farms, Sep 15, 2007.

  1. i posted this morning that my hen laid her first egg, a teeny one. But now for the past four hours she has been panting and pacing and acting hysterical. She goes into the coop and scratches a hole in the straw and acts like she needs to lay, but nothing. She jumps into my arms and hides her head like she did as a baby.

    Her vent is pulsing, and i have felt around but don't know what i'm feeling for. i will start searching for an answer here on the boards, but if someone can tell me how to tell if she is egg bound and what to do, i would appreciate it. i can not find a vet open right now.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2007
  2. cheeptrick

    cheeptrick Songster

    May 1, 2007
    New Hampshire
    Poor thing..Are you absolutely certain she is the hen who laid?
    Someone will respond soon I'm sure!
    Preparation H was recommended to me after the egg has been laid and removed. [​IMG]
  3. yes, she is the only one of egg laying age. Her friend is only 14 weeks.
  4. buckbeak

    buckbeak Songster

    May 27, 2007
    Morgantown, PA
    I did a search & found that you could try a warm bath to help relax the hen & help her to lay the egg. You have to hold her up in the water though. Or KY jelly?
  5. Thanks, i will go do that right now and report back. i don't have any ky, i wonder if olive oil would work?
  6. cheeptrick

    cheeptrick Songster

    May 1, 2007
    New Hampshire
    here is what eggchel recommends...
    I posted this from a previous thread for you...
    Im not worried about a hen laying a rubber egg, that just happens sometimes , however, the fact that she has egg yolk near her vent makes me concerned that she has broken an egg internally.

    If a rubber egg breaks inside her and then is expelled, then it isnt as much of a problem as when a normal eggshell breaks internally, because the shell pieces can cut her up inside. She could also be egg bound which can cause all kinds of problems ranging from a deadly infection to prolapsed vent, to backed up plumbing.
    NOTE:Edited 4/6/07 8pm to clarify and to add that Wes has indicated that even a soft egg can cause a serious infection if broken internally and then the hen would need antibiotics.

    Did you see any blood around the vent?
    Is she behaving normally or is she acting like she is straining to lay an egg?
    Is she eating and drinking or is she looking lethargic?

    If she is behaving normally, doesnt appear in pain or distress, and doesnt have blood around her vent, then I would wait and watch her.

    If she seems unable to pass an egg, seems distressed, ill, in pain, or you see blood, then here are some suggestions :

    Separate her.
    Plan on keeping her separated from the other hens for a couple days so that you will know if she passes an egg, what condition the egg is in (although a broken egg will often be eaten right away) and so that the other hens do not peck at her vent if she has egg yolk or blood in the area.
    Examine her externally.
    Examine her by gently feeling her belly from the outside. Can you feel a hard egg? If so, you
    can give her a warm bath (see instructions below) and massage her belly towards her vent to help move the egg out.
    Examine her internally.
    Now, I can understand that you might not feel that you know your hen well enough to check inside her vent for an egg or shell pieces, but it really might be necessary. You could put on a pair of surgical gloves if that makes you feel better and put some vasoline or mineral oil on your finger and then just gently feel around inside her vent to see if you can feel a hard egg or sharp shell pieces.
    This will not only give you an idea of what might be going on, but it will also apply some lubricant where it might do some good if there is an egg stuck in there. If you feel any broken pieces of shell, see if you can carefully slip them out without cutting her.
    Unfortunately, they sometimes get twisted inside and it becomes impossible for the egg to come out without surgery, or it causes the reproductive tract to prolapse (invert itself outside of the vent). If that happens then you need to gently push the prolapsed part back inside and hope it stays, but often that becomes chronic and requires culling.

    Giving a chicken a massage bath:
    You can use rubbermaid tote, a baby bath, a 5 gallon bucket or an old dishpan for the bath. I use the sink on my back porch or the laundry sink. (Some folks use their kitchen sink but I dont suggest that for sanitary reasons... )
    Check the water temperature the same as you would for the baby, good and warm but not hot.
    Lower her gently in the water. It should come up to her back. Keep your hand over her back to prevent sudden escape attempts and to keep her from losing her footing and panicking. Either one will result in her flapping her wings and you will get soaked.
    Massage her belly gently moving in the direction of her vent. She should relax in the warm water. Some birds even fall asleep.
    Getting her dry.
    After the bath, wrap her in an old towel and put her under a warm lamp or inside the house to keep her warm. Keep her wrapped in the towel for at least 15 minutes, or longer, to absorb as much of the water from her feathers as possible. Then move her to a rubbermaid tote or a dog/cat carrier with a lot of shavings to help dry her. Again, keep her inside until she is dry, it will take overnight, and she needs to be in a warm place. It takes a long time for them to get dry all the way to the skin unless you want to speed the process with a hair drier. Amazingly, after the first minute or two, they dont seem to mind the hair drier. Just be sure to frequently use your other hand, between the hair drier and the bird, to be sure that it isnt too hot.

    (note: a bath to prepare a chicken for a show or to treat mites/lice would require the additional steps of shampooing the bird plus rinsing a couple of times. I dont recommend that you do that while the chicken is already in distress)

  7. Okay, so far i have done warm wet compresses on her bottom, massaged her towards the vent on her stomach, lubricated her vent with organic extra virgin olive oil, gave her a little bread soaked in olive oil.

    She did a lot of scruffing in the coop making nests, at first frantically and getting in position to lay, then nothing. Then just now she has seemed to calm down. She came out, drank some water and is now walking around the yard. No egg, and not even sure if that was/is the problem. There is no protrusion from her vent area, it's just very moist and pulsating. i did not put my finger up too far as i don't know how far is too far.

    For now she seems okay. i have an appointment tomorrow at a vet who sees chickens. Hopefully she will be okay until then.

    This is very stressful!
  8. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    If your hen laid her very first egg this morning, I seriously doubt she is eggbound yet. It may be her way of dealing with her bodily changes. I would try to keep her quiet and calm - no more baths for now and see if she's better over the next couple days. Keep a watchful eye for if she nests tomorrow and lays again (remember, she may only lay 1 egg every other day, so don't panic if no egg tomorrow). I think she just needs time to adjust to laying - some stress over these things while others kick in to laying without any problems. Let us know how she's doing.

  9. i just went out to check on the chicks and tuck everyone in. Penny was quietly sitting on her perch where she always is, and she seemed fine. Just as i was about to leave, i thought i saw something under her in the straw. Look what i found.


    It's the strangest egg i've ever seen. It has no real shell, it's just like a membrane. The green color that would be in the shell is in fragments like crystals on the surface of the membrane. i can see where she had trouble passing it, as it has no real form to push against. My poor girl! i hope things go better from now on. i was in tears today watching her fret and suffer.
  10. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    Aww, that poor girl. I am so glad she passed it. Are you sure it was her that laid the other egg? It is unusual to pass 2 eggs in one day, but not unheard of I'm sure especially since the 2nd one was shellless. I am still leaning towards her body is trying to adjust to laying. I would continue to keep a close eye on her, so if something does go wrong you catch it quickly. Good job in observing her and knowing she was in trouble.

    Typically an egg is laid every 26 hours (once they are laying steady). Of course, all hens do not stick to this timeframe and it may differ, but it gives you an idea of what to expect. I hope she is better now.


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