Eggbound? or Water Belly?? Or Something Else??


8 Years
Mar 23, 2011
Our hen is showing traits of being eggbound, but we're not sure if this is the case, or if she has water belly instead since we can't feel a defined egg in her abdomen. She feels really heavy to us...

She is a 3 year old Blue/Red Laced Wyandote. She has been walking with more of a penguin look and low belly while having her tail feathers in the air. Yesterday we cheked her out and her vent looked good, but this morning it has become swollen. We set her in a lukewarm bath and tried to massage her gently, but cannot feel a defined egg, hence the thinking it could maybe be water belly instead. She also still has all of her feathers, there is not a bald/balding spot in the swoolen area. Her swollen section of abdomen is also off to the side some, toward her right leg. Overall though, her comb and waddles have good color, her eyes look sharp, and she still has plenty of interest in food (and we assume water, although havent been watching her drink). Her crop also seems to be in good shape, partially full this morning at time of her bath. She was sort of aloof from the flock outside, but is normally like that for the most part, so that is hard to judge whether she was self-isolating at all.

Does anyone have experience/remedies/insight they can lend us??
Okay.. I've been reading through other posts, and am trying to wrap my head around this! We have a baby that just came home from the hosiptal too with pneumonia, so I'm doing my best... It looks like I'm looking for an egg an inch or two in? I'll report back when we have something...
Just did an exam of her vent. Its definitely swollen there, and she is just hard in her abdomen. I did some gentle massaging to feel around. Nothing really crazy, besides a hard, watery belly.

Did an internal exam. I went about 2/2.5 inches in and nothing. I didn't feel an egg there or anything. I just felt hardness on the bottomside of her vent (the abdomen pushing up).

She is still really alert, eating a little and I think drinking. She is isolated inside right now, so she is a little nervous. She does seem uncomfortable. Duramyacin-10/tetracycline antibiotic here, and we could do a Tums?? What would be the next best step?
Also, we are keeping her inside as of right now.. though she really wants to go back out. We might let her roam for a bit with the others, and take her in later this afternoon again.

Any input on my last comment?? Her poop seems fairly normal.. maybe a little more green than usual..

Thank you!!
Has she been dewormed lately? A chicken with a distended abdomen could have a heavy parasite load..........
My husband wrote the first post mainly, and actually the swelling is all over. It seems like swelling associated with being egg bound, but its so hard to tell! So, yes, whole abdomen is swollen and is really hard. No egg felt inside her vent.

We just brought her out to the yard to roam a bit, and she did poop a little bit. It was kind of a streaky white muscus and was just a little bit.

For deworming -- we haven't dewormed them recently. We haven't seen anything else suspicious with any of the other 6 birds either. I just went to look at some poops outside, and they still all seem normal.

Dora is back in the run now with her sisters.. She was kind of miserable on her own inside. Hubby just watched her for a bit, and she ate a little, didn't drink, but then made a beeline for the coop. I"m going to go check on her in a bit, and see if she is in the nesting box, and to see if I can tell anything else.
The swollen belly is not a good sign. It can be caused by several different things, none good or fixable generally. Anything from internal laying/reproductive tract issues, heart or other major organ problems, even cancer. The fluid can be drained with a needle and makes the bird vastly more comfortable but it always comes back. Sometimes they get peritonitis from the fluid, antibiotic's can help with that but are not a cure for whatever the underlying cause is. Some birds can live with this condition for a long time, others pass quickly, it just depends on what is causing it.
Thanks everyone for the input! We ended up taking Dora to the vet tonight, as I wanted to figure out what it was before it got worse. The vet seemed a litle irritated that I brought her in right at the end of the day, but he did provide us with lots of good information.

He was sure it was perionitis. He ended up draining her (he didn't get as much fluid as he wanted), and they gave her some fluids and a shot of antibiotics. He sent us home with more antibiotics, and told us to put a heat pack on her abdomen for 10-15 minutes a few times a day. He said he has seen a few really good results recently with this course of action.

Its true, we don't know what caused this.. but we are hoping for the best. I'm hoping she improves over the next few days. If she gets worse, I just can't handle her suffering at all.. I'll probably take her back and have to put her down. So sad :( :( :(

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