Hen laid a hard / "cooked" yolk (no shell)

denz88

Chirping
5 Years
Jan 4, 2015
20
43
94
Hello BYC,

I have an ailing hen with egg-bound / internal laying / mild ascites symptoms. I've attached images at the bottom. I'm worried this might be urgent as I've lost a hen to EYP earlier this year. Hoping someone here can weigh in!

Summary / what I've done for treatment so far:
- Weak hen getting more lethargic over past few days, very weak yesterday / today
- Treated for bumblefoot yesterday with ES foot soak + foot wrap
- Treated today with entire body bath after spotting yolk in droppings
- Inspected and noticed some swelling (resembling ascites)
- Within 30 min of bath / towel off, hen dropped a shell-less egg resembling a cooked yolk (see images below)

Full details:
For the past few days I've noticed one of my hens acting a bit lethargic. At first I chalked it up to molting—all of our hens seem a bit under the weather and are shedding like mad.

Yesterday, this particular hen seemed exceptionally weak. Usually one to spring for treats, she shied away from them even when I placed them next to her. I picked her up after dark to inspect.

First thing I noticed was that she had the bumblefoot scab, so I soaked her in epsom salt right there for ~30min and wrapped her foot up with some Neosporin. I figured that might have been what was causing her lethargy. I placed her back with the other hens on her perch.

The next morning, her comb lost much of its saturation. She ate and drank a bit, but something was clearly off. I figured she just needed some time to recover so I let her be.

Fast forward ~9 hrs, I decided to see if she might be egg bound. I couldn't feel an egg stuck past her vent, but noticed some runny poo with a bit of "yolkiness" to it.

The most alarming aspect of this was that I noticed some swelling in her abdomen resembling ascites, but the extent of this swelling seems limited.

As I had done with past hens, I immediately got a warm basin of water with dissolved epsom salt and soaked her for ~20 min. After toweling off, I placed her in a cardboard box with a dry bed to let her sleep indoors.

In the time it took to clean up the bath area / prep her food and water (another ~20 min), she laid a shell-less egg. The egg is without a shell but looks like it has a shriveled membrane attached. I've seen shell-less eggs drop before from other hens, but this one was a solid mass of yolk, as if cooked.

See images below.

I've lost a precious hen to EYP earlier this year so I've been vigilant. Even then, this hen didn't have the "penguin" stance and when she did run, didn't have a limp or strange gait. Nothing really suggested egg-bound / internal laying until today.

upload_2019-10-22_19-38-46.png

Solid mass dropped resembling cooked yolk w/ membrane
upload_2019-10-22_19-38-52.png

Top down angle of above
upload_2019-10-22_19-38-57.png

Pic of hen roosting just moments before I picked her up for ES bath
 

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Last edited:

denz88

Chirping
5 Years
Jan 4, 2015
20
43
94
Update: Our girl is doing better, but droppings are very dark and wet with yolk like substance, not unlike what I've seen before in EYP.

Based on other past posts about egg bound chickens, I went ahead and fed her ~200mg of calcium supplement, crushed and mixed into ~4ml of water.

Still not sure what the egg she laid indicates. If anyone's seen anything like it, please weigh in. I'm really hoping it's not a sign of something like EYP...
 

Wyorp Rock

Enabler
Sep 20, 2015
26,669
34,672
1,182
Southern N.C. Mountains

denz88

Chirping
5 Years
Jan 4, 2015
20
43
94
Lash egg?
Read through a few articles and it seems like you're right. This is most likely lash egg :(

That looks like lash material from Salpingitis. Can you cut that open?
Sometimes if caught early, you can treat with an antibiotic to make them more comfortable. She may have more lash material to push out, hard to know.
It's good that she's feeling a little better.

https://the-chicken-chick.com/salpingitis-lash-eggs-in-backyard/
https://the-chicken-chick.com/causes-of-lash-eggs-salpingitis-by/
Thanks for the links. In reading these, it seems the prognosis is rather grim although a bit better than EYP. I'm going to get a full course of antibiotics ready and isolate until it's finished.

Once while letting the chickens graze I noticed the entire flock running. It appeared that they were homing in on a yolk without a shell. By the time I saw it though there was such a crowd that I couldn't figure out who had laid it and just shrugged it off. This was maybe a couple of months ago, so it might be unrelated to this. I'm not sure.

I've discarded the lash egg, but I'll see if I can dig it up. Do you know if there's anything else I should do to help potential future lash eggs pass more easily? Should I give her more baths or look out for anything (in behavior, posture, etc.)?
 

Wyorp Rock

Enabler
Sep 20, 2015
26,669
34,672
1,182
Southern N.C. Mountains
Read through a few articles and it seems like you're right. This is most likely lash egg :(



Thanks for the links. In reading these, it seems the prognosis is rather grim although a bit better than EYP. I'm going to get a full course of antibiotics ready and isolate until it's finished.

Once while letting the chickens graze I noticed the entire flock running. It appeared that they were homing in on a yolk without a shell. By the time I saw it though there was such a crowd that I couldn't figure out who had laid it and just shrugged it off. This was maybe a couple of months ago, so it might be unrelated to this. I'm not sure.

I've discarded the lash egg, but I'll see if I can dig it up. Do you know if there's anything else I should do to help potential future lash eggs pass more easily? Should I give her more baths or look out for anything (in behavior, posture, etc.)?
I don't know of anything that may help her pass them more easily than what you did today.
Hopefully she will continue to perk up, sometimes they do once they are able to pass that material.
 

denz88

Chirping
5 Years
Jan 4, 2015
20
43
94
Thanks Wyorp. I'll keep a close eye on her. She doesn't seem to mind the baths (too much) so I'll keep those going if needed.

Also, I found the lash egg and cut it open. It looks quite messy relative to the other lash eggs I've seen so far. There are also so me tiny black dots forming along the folds. I wonder what either of those things means, if anything.

upload_2019-10-22_23-48-47.png
 

Wyorp Rock

Enabler
Sep 20, 2015
26,669
34,672
1,182
Southern N.C. Mountains
Thanks Wyorp. I'll keep a close eye on her. She doesn't seem to mind the baths (too much) so I'll keep those going if needed.

Also, I found the lash egg and cut it open. It looks quite messy relative to the other lash eggs I've seen so far. There are also so me tiny black dots forming along the folds. I wonder what either of those things means, if anything.

View attachment 1941638
Now that it's cut open, it looks more like a bunch of wrapped up membrane. I would still give her soaks, extra calcium. Hard to know if this is a glitch or she may still need antibiotics to help reduce inflammation and infection.
 

coach723

Crowing
Feb 12, 2015
4,405
8,122
491
North Florida
Having lost several to salpingitis, I would suspect that this is early stages of that. Looks like a malformed egg or eggs, with shell membrane and some infection going on also. Usually Baytril/enrofloxacin is the choice of antibiotic, and that is what I would treat her with. Depending on what concentration of medication you get (I get it here: https://www.jedds.com/shop/misc/) , dosing is figured here:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/℞-calculating-medication-doses-under-construction-℞.1241252/#post-19918579
And here is the info from Plumbs Veterinary Drug Handbook:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/for-those-that-use-baytril-enrofloxacin.757100/#post-10736559
I'm so sorry she's ill, it's a frustrating condition, all you can do is try and see if it responds to treatment.
 
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