Is my hen egg bound?

Kaitlin H

In the Brooder
Apr 27, 2021
Hi everyone,

I noticed some odd behavior in my hen, Noodle tonight that has me concerned. She’s a Welsummer and almost and year and a half old. This is my first flock of chickens so I‘m not experienced and would appreciate some insight and wisdom of some experienced chicken keepers!

So I let my chickens out for some supervised free ranging around 5 and everyone seemed energetic and normal. After a couple hours the chickens had been wandering over by their coop and came up to where I was in the yard. I notice Noodle wasn’t with them but wasn’t too concerned because I had just seen her with them. Maybe about 15-20 minutes later Noodle comes up from the direction of the coop. I could tell immediately something was off. She was walking slowly with her tail down and panting.

I went over to her and she stood still and let me pet her which is not normal for her. I tried picking her up and she did start fussing and squirmed away but usually I couldn’t get anywhere close to picking her up. I watched her closely and she walked around slowly, tail down, panting. She seemed like she was lacking energy, not her usual perky self. She pooped and it looked pretty wet and mostly white and maybe kind of slimy but with a little bit of solid stuff mixed in there.

After about 10 minutes the panting stopped for the most part, though I would still catch her panting more softly on and off. While she was standing, there were a few times where I thought it looked like she would lower herself very slightly as though she were going to sit down. She did finally sit down under a chair but only for a minute or two. While she was sitting she did close her eyes briefly but not the whole time. She seemed like she was trying to keep to herself and wasn’t hanging out with the rest of the flock when they moved on to another part of the yard.

After this she got up and started looking a little perkier. She hopped up to perch on a flower pot and then started wandering around foraging and eating grass. She still moved slowly and panted slightly occasionally. Tail was still down but looked a bit more lifted. At this point it had been about 30 minutes or so since I first noticed her acting odd. After another 30 minutes or so my rooster came over and hopped on her before I could stop him (ugh) and then herded her back to the flock.

As I continued to observe her she started looking more perked up and energetic. I mixed some oyster shell into some of their feed and fed it to Noodle and she ate some of it and seemed very interested in food. She also drank water right after. And made a solid, normal looking poop. By the time it was time for them to go up for the night she was back to her normal self—perky, tail up like normal, energetic, running over to me to beg for her bedtime treat of peas, and gobbling them down. If I hadn’t been out there and witnessed her odd behavior when it happened I would’ve never known anything had been wrong. She made a second normal poop before bed.

When she was up on the roosting bar I tried gently feeling around outside her vent for an egg and I *think* I felt one in there but I don’t really know exactly what I’m feeling for so I’m not totally sure. I’m thinking when she disappeared near the coop earlier she went off to try to lay an egg. From googling it sounds like she might be egg bound. I’m going to keep a close eye on her and check on her first thing in the morning and give her a warm epsom salt bath if she’s acting odd again.

I guess my question is, does this sound like an egg bound hen? Is it normal for chickens to act like this or have a bit of a harder time laying an egg occasionally?


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Jul 12, 2021
Hello Kaitlin H,

I was told by another BYCer that the best way to know if she's egg bound is by gently sticking your finger into her vent (sorry, gross) and feeling for any egg.

In my experience, my chickens would act just like that when it's super hot outside. How hot is it where you're at? The best way to help with that would be to put ice in their water to cool them off and encourage them to drink. Make sure they have plenty of shade.

I hope all goes well!

Kaitlin H

In the Brooder
Apr 27, 2021
Noodle was still acting normal today and she laid an egg so all seems well :) Not sure what made her act odd. It was warm yesterday evening, in the low 80s and breezy and most of the yard is shaded. They’d had watermelon to snack on too. Maybe she just got too hot from running around. Thanks for your help!

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