Egg bound? Tried to examine vent, not sure if I did it right

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by highwayhens, May 7, 2011.

  1. highwayhens

    highwayhens Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 2, 2009
    3 yo RIR, walking slowly, tail feathers down sometimes, comb a bit dull, legs seem wider apart than usual.

    So I tried to read a bit about being egg bound, and yesterday we put her in warm water and tried to bathe her rear. I put on rubber gloves and ky and tried to feel inside her vent. This is the first time I've ever gotten close to the rear of a chicken that wasn't going in the oven. Her whole lower abdomen felt very firm, and it was difficult to get my finger very far inside of her vent. There was no egg showing, and her vent looked pink and healthy.

    She didn't mind the bath, although I didn't really like doing it as she had quite a lot of poop on her tail feathers. Maybe she's not grooming much due to not feeling well.

    Is it normal to not be able to get inside of the vent? Is it normal for her to feel very firm and smooth (no lumps)?

    I called IFA and the gal said to try some of their electrolyte/vitamin water. She said that chickens' health just tends to go downhill as they get older.

    I'd appreciate any advice.
  2. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2007
    Fair Oaks, California
    i'm not sure how much i can help, but perhaps my post will give yours a bit of a bump. Three years old is not old for a hen, so i don't think that's a logical excuse for her health going downhill. i've never stuck my finger very far into a chicken vent, not sure i would feel comfortable doing that. i only help my hens when i can see an egg crowning.

    Were it me, i would do a health check on everything i knew to do. Check for mites and lice in the vent area - you should have been able to see them when you gave her a bath. When was the last time you wormed her? Perhaps take a poo sample to a vet and get a fecal done. That will give you a place to start when it comes to treating for internal parasites. There are a lot of things that can get a hen run down, but those are the first things you should check.

    Hopefully someone with more experience with egg-bound hens will come along and give you some good advice. Good luck with her, i hope she gets better.
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Do you know when she laid her last egg? When our Hermione had trouble laying an egg, she just sat down in the run, not in the nestbox, and looked miserable. She didn't walk around much.

    If you don't have her isolated, now is a good time to do that. You'll be able to know for sure if/when she lays.

    Has she been wormed recently or checked for worms? How about mites?
  4. Celtic Chick

    Celtic Chick Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 7, 2011
    SE Wis
    Why did it seem hard to get your finger inside her vent? Did you feel something?
    Whenever I suspect I have an egg-bound hen, I check right away. None of my girls were, so I was able to very easily get my finger up as far as it would go. Sorry for that picture! [​IMG]
    If you can't get your finger in there, then she is most likely egg-bound. Especially if she also feels firm.
    I have no experience with getting a hen unbound, though. I sure hope someone who has more knowledge responds soon. Good luck to you.
  5. Celtic Chick

    Celtic Chick Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 7, 2011
    SE Wis
    I was just reading in the Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow that egg binding is caused by a calcium/phosphorus deficiency.
    "Calcium & phosphorus are interrelated, & both require the presence of vit. D to be metabolized. A deficiency in vit. D can cause a deficiency of calcium &/or phorphorus.
    Older hens need more calcium than younger hens, & all hens need more calcium in warm weather".

    A fellow BYCer (and for the life of me, I can't remember who (sorry!), enlightened me on this product which helps aid in the absorption of calcium & the prevention of soft-shelled eggs:
    "Found it at Meyer Hatchery....BVS Vitamin D3. It is a highly concentrated liquid and I just put literally just a few eye dropper drops in a gallon of water."
    I sure hope your hen is feeling better. [​IMG]
  6. highwayhens

    highwayhens Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 2, 2009
    Thank you so much for the info! I'm wondering if I need to catch a healthy hen and try to examine her just to compare. I'll have to ask hub if he's been dishing out the oyster shell lately.

    I have "chewable" human D3 pills--I wonder if I could just add one of those to their water every now and again. Maybe it would dissolve.

    She seems slightly better than the first day I noticed the problem, but still not doing well. This is so hard!
  7. Celtic Chick

    Celtic Chick Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 7, 2011
    SE Wis
    Do you have any vitamin/electrolyte solution you could add to her water in the meantime? You could try giving her some yogurt, cottage cheese or milk too.
    I would try to look up the strength of the vitamin d3 supplement at Meyer (BVS Vitamin D3) and see if it is the same as your chewables before you try that. I don't know offhand what a dosage for chickens would be, and if you only add a few drops to a gallon of water, it must be pretty small. So I would recommend some research first.
    I know it is hard, but chickens are very resiliant. They can bounce back from some pretty dire looking conditions sometimes, so don't lose faith just yet.
    Good luck & please keep us posted on her condition.
  8. dewey

    dewey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 9, 2010
    north of eternity
    If she's egg bound it's an emergency and it needs to be expelled. You should be able to feel inside the vent without obstruction. If you have doubts then yes, good idea to examine another hen for to compare to, but in the mean time I'd keep soaking and lubing the vent gently so the egg doesn't break inside and hopefully it will pass safely. It could take a while soaking and gently massaging if she's egg bound. Hoping for the best for your hen.
  9. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    How's she doing? I went through this recently. I'm not sure about the soaking remedy it sure can't hurt. The only problem is the eggs on the inside. Anyway, I took my hen to the vet. The vet lubed the egg inside her. He said the egg had dried up inside her & she couldn't push it out. After he lubed it the vet instructed me to let her be in her natural environment with the flock. OK sounds reasonable to me. I did as suggested. I kept an eye on her & felt her abdomen every evening & about 4 days later the egg was gone. I never found the egg so I'm not sure if she consumed it or what. I think next time this happens I'll try & lube the egg myself & if she doesn't get better then I'll take her to the vet. Good Luck!!!
  10. Lucysmom002

    Lucysmom002 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 6, 2011
    I had an eggbound hen in fall. I let her lay in the warm bath tub for over an hour. I soaked her in the sink. She was very relaxed and finally passed the egg in the tub. It was very very soft shelled. She also had a prolapsed rectum after that. We tried to keep her in the dark for a few days to stop her from laying so she could let her rectum heal. ( I had to push it back in a few times). Every time she pooped it came back out again. Eventually after a few days there was blood and we lost her.
    I guess the heat and steam and dark is what relaxed her enough to pass the egg.
    I did give my chickens free choice oyster shells since then. They ate it up in the winter months but now they aren't touching it.
    I know it's really heart braking and stressful. It's really hard to accept that this will happen if you have animals but it does happen. Chickens can be touchy. I guess if they are not destined to survive they simply will not. Good luck to you. I hope she's okay.

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