Hen never laid an egg

Tycine1

Crowing
May 26, 2009
2,206
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David, Chiriquí, Panama
8 months ago I bought 10 production red chicks; 1 died the next day, I figured stress. At about 3 months of age, I saw a couple of my birds had 'moco' (mucous) (respiratory illness, no vet to diagnose what variety), and treated the flock with the antibiotics recommended by the feed store / animal medicine store for the prescribed 7 days. After the round of antibiotics, fed some unsweetened yogurt mixed with their feed to restore their gut bacteria. I lost 2 birds to the respiratory disease. 4 of the remaining 7 of the flock were roosters and I ate them. Of the remaining 3, one hen started laying early, she was about 5 months old when she started laying eggs. One of her sisters started laying a month later, at 6 months old. The last sister has never laid an egg, and she's now 8 months old. I did a super-duper look her over and she seems healthy, but thin, her breast bone is pronounced and yet she weighs 3.7 pounds, slightly more than her laying sisters! Wherever she's hiding her weight, it is not in her breast meat. After bathing her, as she had a really soiled backside, I did a digital exam in her vent to determine if she has an egg stuck, and I'm uncertain what I felt up there, it felt like it might be an egg... solid. It was about an inch inside the vent. Her vent looks totally normal, slightly moist, and she ACTS like she's laying eggs including the "I laid an egg" song, but she never actually lays an egg. I noticed that at least one of the hens was pooping green, chunky yet very watery poop, and at least one other had normal poops...and although it's the height of summer here, the normal poops mixed around the yard with the not-so-normal poops made me think of worms. So... de-wormed everyone with what I thought was a 'one medicine covers all' worms medicine but it didn't help. Did more research, found out that the medicine didn't cover the cocci... so treated for that. Everyone's poop looks normal now but the non-laying hen constantly has whitish poop stains on her butt feathers (still), and I bathe her a couple times a week to keep flies down; she LOVES being bathed, and I'm using this bath time to treat her as if she's eggbound... lube her up, digital exam (I swear she poops in the bath every time, but at least now it's normal looking poop), and soak her well. She still has a hard something inside her vent, about an inch in, but it doesn't seem to hurt her. She's not exhibiting signs of swelling, she's doesn't seem to be suffering asceites, she doesn't have a prolapsed vent, she acts totally healthy, no drooping or missing feathers, no lethargy, no waddling or tucking in her head. No rooster to overmate her, no stressful situations, nobody picking on her (not even me, she comes running when she hears me enter the yard). Anyone think of anything I may have missed? I'm concerned that she may be internally laying and that someday I'm going to go out and find her dead. I'd post pictures if I had a camera; but I don't. Phones with camera are expensive and even the 'just a camera' options are CRAZY expensive here, cheapest digital camera I found on my last hunt was over $600. At those prices, a camera is out of reach.
 
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Eggcessive

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If she is egg bound, she may need some extra calcium to help her pass it. If you have human calcium or Tums, you could grind one and give it food. Or take an egg, cooked or raw, and grind it all up finely, and feed it back to her. That will give the equivalent of a human calcium tablet with vitamin D. Make sure that she is drinking water. You also may be feeling a lash egg, which are fleshy products of infection (salpingitis) of the oviduct. Respiratory infections can sometimes cause poor laying, and coccidiosis can cause that as well.
 

Tycine1

Crowing
May 26, 2009
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David, Chiriquí, Panama
Thanks, I'll mash up a hard boiled egg for her now. Dear Lord, I pray that she's not starting her laying life with salpingitis! Thanks so much for that reminder on calcium (and an easy way for me to get it into her).
 

Tycine1

Crowing
May 26, 2009
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David, Chiriquí, Panama
She's loving her egg, a-la-solo; I had to pen her up to keep her sisters out of HER hard boiled egg. I'm considering leaving her in isolation for a day or two, in sight of the other two but apart; If she is trying to pass a lash egg, I don't want her sisters to see her struggles and decide to get mean. It's driving me crazy knowing ~something~ isn't right, even if she's 'acting' normal... I mean, that's what chickens do, right? They ACT normal. Thanks again for the tip on hard boiled egg, I'll be giving her one a day until she passes an egg... or... let's not go to 'Or' yet; I still have hope.
 

Tycine1

Crowing
May 26, 2009
2,206
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431
David, Chiriquí, Panama
Still no egg. Her sisters each laid today, and later found her on the eggs pretending to lay again... several days in a row now, she's pretended to lay and hasn't. By the way, PRETENDING to lay is a huge improvement to not laying AND not even acting interested in laying. Just having the other hens' eggs in the box seems to encourage her to TRY. Need to go feed her another hard boiled egg today and keep praying for success. I really LIKE this hen, she's got a lovely personality, I'd hate to lose her.
 

Eggcessive

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Hopefully she will lay soon. There are multiple laying disorders. I had one once who was a false layer, and she laid internally. She would go into the nest box to lay every other day, and after a half hour would come back out, but there were never any eggs. My flock once had an outbreak of infectious bronchitis from wild birds, and some suffered with shell problems and internal laying. Here is a link about false layers:
https://www.merckvetmanual.com/poultry/disorders-of-the-reproductive-system/false-layer-poultry
 

Tycine1

Crowing
May 26, 2009
2,206
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David, Chiriquí, Panama
I put my poor Bluebell out of her misery today. I did a so-so necropsy and as I feared she had serious reproductive issues. Her entire reproductive tract was filled with lash. I found no grit in her gizzard but found plenty of plant matter and whole grains (that I sparingly feed as treats ONLY) but nothing to grind that all up. She was skinnier than I thought, a lot skinnier. Her heart seemed small but otherwise unremarkable. Her liver was a normal dark color around the outside edges, but was quite yellow closer to her spleen (the color that I associate with a fat chicken). The texture of her liver was fine. Her lungs were unremarkable. Speaking of fat, she had none. Her intestines were almost unremarkable except they were nearly empty (I guess that explains diarrhea). She had broken egg yolk (with some smell, so probably peritonitis too) in her body cavity. In future, I won't wait so long to ease a hen's suffering; I mean, she'd never laid an egg, never... so I was thinking (hoping really) that she was just a slow starter. I should have gone with my gut instinct sooner and put her down. I am saddened by how miserable her life must have been and yet she NEVER acted sick. Thanks so much for guidance @Eggcessive, was my first time dealing with reproductive issues, first hand. Sure sure, I've read about it... not the same.:hit
 

Kiki

⚡🚫Stop🚫 giving🚫 up🚫⚡
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My Coop
I put my poor Bluebell out of her misery today. I did a so-so necropsy and as I feared she had serious reproductive issues. Her entire reproductive tract was filled with lash. I found no grit in her gizzard but found plenty of plant matter and whole grains (that I sparingly feed as treats ONLY) but nothing to grind that all up. She was skinnier than I thought, a lot skinnier. Her heart seemed small but otherwise unremarkable. Her liver was a normal dark color around the outside edges, but was quite yellow closer to her spleen (the color that I associate with a fat chicken). The texture of her liver was fine. Her lungs were unremarkable. Speaking of fat, she had none. Her intestines were almost unremarkable except they were nearly empty (I guess that explains diarrhea). She had broken egg yolk (with some smell, so probably peritonitis too) in her body cavity. In future, I won't wait so long to ease a hen's suffering; I mean, she'd never laid an egg, never... so I was thinking (hoping really) that she was just a slow starter. I should have gone with my gut instinct sooner and put her down. I am saddened by how miserable her life must have been and yet she NEVER acted sick. Thanks so much for guidance @Eggcessive, was my first time dealing with reproductive issues, first hand. Sure sure, I've read about it... not the same.:hit
I am sorry for your loss.
Thanks for sharing what you found when you opened her up.
 

Tycine1

Crowing
May 26, 2009
2,206
4,971
431
David, Chiriquí, Panama
Thanks Texas Kiki, hopefully reporting what I found will be of help to someone in the future that reads old posts. I'm going to miss that hen, she was SO friendly and would always come running at a mad-dash when I'd come outside, even before calling to the girls :) Why is it always the sick ones that are so darned friendly?
 

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