Hen having trouble laying first egg ... should I panic?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by SAKim, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. SAKim

    SAKim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 1, 2010
    I have a Silkie. named Ashes, DOB 6/15/10 so a little over 6 months old, and weighs 1lb 12 oz

    Today, Ashes ran to her coop and sat in one of the nest boxes... this is the first time she has ever shown any interest in the nest boxes (I kind of thought she was a Roo). She sat there for over two hours and no egg. I could see her breathing really heavy and her back side going up and down. I didn't want to disturb her because I heard you shouldn't bother them when they were laying. Finally, I talked to her and she got up and walked out of the coop, singing a little hen song. But I looked in the nest and there is no egg. I watched her for a while and she was still breathing heavy so I brought her into the house. She is eating and drinking but seems to be standing still more than usual.

    I have two other girls, about the same age and they just go into their nest and lay eggs pretty quickly... this is my first experience with chickens so I don't know when I should panic? Is it normal for a chicken to take alot of time when she is laying her first egg? Should I be doing anything to help her along? I tried rubbing her belly to back area to see if I could feel an egg and i can't really tell if i feel anything hard but she honked when I rubbed her down there -- I'm not sure if that meant I was hurting her?

    I took Ashes to the Vet about 3 weeks ago because she was sneezing and it cost me over $500 and they gave me some medicine but it really didn't work. Financially, I really can't afford to take her back to a vet unless someone can recommend someone in San Antonio that is not as expensive. I've tried some things I have seen on here for her sneezing, honking, and head shaking and I think she is a little better-- and I have looked today for advise on Ashes's egg laying issue and have seen lots of stuff on chickens being egg bound... but I don't know if I am over-reacting. Should I be worried or could this be normal?

    Like so many people on here, these are my babies, my pets, they are part of the family. I would be absolutely devestated if anything happened to her because I didn't know what to do. If anyone has any suggestion or ideas, please please share them with me. I am really scared.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Well, I understand your sense of panic, but I don't think I'd worry too much at this point. Especially with new layers, it can take a while for things to kick in. She could be "practicing" in the nest box, or she really could be working on an egg. If she got off the nest and did something like the egg song, then it doesn't sound like she's egg bound or anything.

    Now, if it comes to her kind of hunching over and standing around, then I would worry about egg binding, and a nice warm soak, some lubrication applied around the vent, and a light massage of the belly area might be in order.

    But I wouldn't worry too much at this point.

    ETA: I have two girls who are over a year and will sometimes set for a LONG time, then get off the nest and give a song...with NO egg. I think they're trying to psych me out...lol. So that must be somewhat common.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010
  3. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2010
    I wouldn't panic yet. My new layers have 'practiced' several times before laying. Checking out the nest boxes, sitting for hours, exiting while singing the 'egg song' and no egg.
    As far as how long it takes to lay an egg when they actually are? I have some hens that sneak in and get it done pretty quick... I never really see them 'missing' and off in the nest box. Others I have will sit for HOURS before they lay. 4 hours even... a LONG time it seems...

    It can vary greatly, so unless you see some other symptoms or problems, I'd just chalk it up to 'practicing'.
  4. SAKim

    SAKim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 1, 2010
    Thank you for your words of hope and encouragment.
    She seems to be sleeping calmly right now, so I am just going to watch her close.

    I think all of this freaks me out so much because I just don't know enough. I'm very comfortable with my dogs and cats but everything is so new and unknown when it comes to my little fur-babies. I just want to do right by them. When i took her to the vet, I felt so stupid because the Vet said I was holding her wrong and could hurt her... I also just thought she had a little cold or something but the vet told me she was really sick -- I didn't even know that she was THAT sick... I just feel so lost and don't want them to die because I don't know what I am doing.

    Thanks again
  5. SAKim

    SAKim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 1, 2010
    Hi Everyone.
    I hope someone with more experience than me can help me and my little Ashes.

    Last week, I posted about Ashes looking like she is trying to lay an egg but nothing happening.

    Over the last week, she has had a few more attempts, I get so scared. She does not just sit in her nest. She is panting really really heavy and her backside goes up and down faster than normal and sometimes she lets out a couple of screeches. This goes on for a long time - up to an hour. Then she leaves the nest, still panting some and breathing heavy but usually within the hour she is back to her normal self.

    Today she was in her little nest for an hour or so and she looked like she was working so hard. When she left the nest, I put her in a warm bath for about 20 minutes. She didn't seem to mind it but was really panting hard, so hard I really thought she was going to have a heart attack. She never calmed down and fell asleep like some people say their hens do. Her little body just keeps heaving back and forth.

    I took her out and wrapped her in a warm cloth and blow dried her (she liked that). I could feel her vent just going in and out and part of her insides would come out and I would just hold her and press against and they would go back in. Then all of a sudden she stops panting heavy and calms down.

    Right now, she is sleeping in her little pen and isn't panting or screeching. I put a pet warming pad under the shavings in her little nesting box but she is sleeping on her roost now. She is eating and drinking. Most of the time her poop looks normal, every once in while it is runny and more whitish liquid around it than normal. I am feeding her yogurt, grapes, meal worms, and greens with her layer crumbles

    I try to feel between her legs for an egg and she feels just like my other two girls (except she is much thinner). I just don't know what I am feeling for. If there is an egg, should I be able to feel it?

    Should I keep trying the warm bath everyday?
    Should I put oil on her vent? I haven't tried sticking my finger up her vent because I am scared to hurt her, but when her insides were coming out, I couldn't see an egg.
    Should I keep her in the dark or let her run around in the sunshine?
    How about asprin? She has got to be sore .. Can a chicken have children's tylenol?

    I am so worried, I keep searching everything I can think of on the internet.
    If there is an egg in there wanting to come out, is there anything I could give her to help it along?

    I am a wreck and just don't know what to do. I would LOVE to hear if anyone else has been through this and what they did.

    Please, I don't want my girl to die with out me trying my best!

    I just don't know what I should try next.
  6. sharol

    sharol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2010
    Admire, KS
    It sounds scary. I can't help, but maybe this will keep it on the list a bit longer and someone else can help you.
  7. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2010
    I had one like that. I gave her the long warm bath, played Josh Groben music. I crushed up half a calcium supplement, half a plain aspirin and mixed it in water. Some say you can add a little gatorade. I dribbled it against her beak with a dropper while she bathed. You'll see what I mean when you try it. I've never had a lot of luck just squirting stuff in. Just dribble a little at a time against the top and side of her beak. It does tend to flow into the mouth. You'll see her sipping it down. Keep doing it so she gets a good part of that aspirin.

    I did grease up my finger with some plain personal lubricant (ky jelly). Some people use olive oil. Anyway, I felt up there gently and did feel the egg. I lubed up the vent inside good. I tried to move the egg toward the vent a little but I could tell that hurt alot so I stopped (the egg should be up toward the spine). Anyway, I got plenty of that aspirin calcium mix in her. I dried her off some and put her on a towel in a cat crate in my bathroom with a space heater to keep her warm while she dried, lighting was dimmed. I left some water and nibbles in there. Out popped the egg about half hour or 40 minutes later. I think the aspirin really helped because it's an anti-inflammatory and the calcium is supposed to help with the laying.

    I hope it works for you. It seems some have differing symptoms with egg binding. Mine would try to stand up and then just fall forward on her face. It was really kind of an emergency situation. All my chickens are fine then the next thing I knew I had this chicken in distress that looked to be dying.

    How does her abdomen feel? Is it larger or more swollen then the rest of the girls?
  8. SAKim

    SAKim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 1, 2010
    I tried everything I could by my baby Ashes died at the Vet on Tuesday... My heart is broken...
  9. reagan40p

    reagan40p Just Hatched

    Jul 5, 2016
    I know this was a long time ago but I ran across this post and wanted to say I am so so sorry. My baby is about the age to start laying eggs and she is acting funny. I am scared to death she will have problems. I am so sorry you lost your Ashes!

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