My Very First Emergency: Egg Bound? Pictures Included

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Nifty-Chicken, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator

    I've never had any problems with my chickens in 2 years (other than a coon got one). Well, I've got a problem now:

    For about 2 days my wife has noticed one of our Delaware hens has been missing feathers on her back end. I didn't think anything of it since this has happened to all my chickens at different times of the year and they all turn out okay.

    I wend out to put them to bed and noticed a broken egg. I looked closer and the shell was like jelly (see pic below).

    I then noticed the chicken's back end had yellow on it (egg) and was quite a bit bigger than her sister (second picture).

    I then zoomed out with my flashlight and noticed egg juice all over the place (last picture).

    Is this an eggbound chicken? I'll be honest that I'm not one for taking a chicken to the vet, but I also don't want it to suffer. Other than the obvious, it seems healthy (which is why we didn't notice anything).

    Any suggestions would be great.



  2. NiftyChick

    NiftyChick Songster

    Jan 26, 2007
    In skimming a bit of the "Perdue" thread, it looks like we give her calcium ASAP, bathe her in warm water massaging the abdomen, and apply mineral oil to the vent.....but how do I keep her calm for the bath? I've bathed a chick, but never a full-grown hen. Do they like it? This particular chicken (if I'm not mistaken) is our most friendly chicken, so I'm hoping that will make things go a bit easier.... [​IMG]

    I plan to try the bathing in an empty child's sandbox in our yard so our indoor bathroom/tub don't get gunky. Probing inside for eggs is beyond my comfort level at this point, but if there are no hard shells, can the eggs just come out using massage?

    Is bathing a chicken a two-person job? Any helpful suggestions would be great.

    Thank you!!!
  3. Llysse

    Llysse Songster

    Mar 11, 2007
    I wish I had a suggestion for you, but I just don't [​IMG]. It does seem like an eggbound chicken, or possibly a chicken with egg peritonitis. [​IMG]
  4. eggchel

    eggchel Crowing

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    Rob, I sent you an email with some suggestions. I hope she is okay.

  5. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator

    My wife noticed that this is my favorite of all my chickens, so I've got a little bit more incentive to help her get well.

    As I mentioned in my first post, the egg in the one picture is fully intact, but the fact there are egg juices all over the place makes me think there were / are more eggs.

    Would she still be swollen after expelling the eggs?

    Since she expelled 1 egg (and bits of another) do you think she'll go back to normal?

    Hey Emily, did you check her out this morning? How does she look? Is she her normal peppy self, or is she droopy? Any more egg messes around / under her?

    If anyone has more suggestions we'd love to hear them.
  6. Djmiller012

    Djmiller012 In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2007
    Tabor, IA
    sorry to but in, but what does eggbound mean?
  7. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    means she has an egg stuck inside she cant expell it.usually an eggbound hen will end up dieing.because the egg will break inside the shell fragments will cut her insides.
  8. Djmiller012

    Djmiller012 In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2007
    Tabor, IA
    Ooo... doesn't sound so good, I hope she can get it out! Good luck [​IMG]
  9. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana I can officially join " the club" [​IMG] My hens are a year old...and other than dureing thier first lay....everything has been fine. Well, this morning when I went out there....there it was...a soft shell egg....broke open...but all looks well. I think this crazy weather has something to do with it. Last the 80's...right now...SNOWING!! I think they are just as confused as we are. Im watching closely.....but so far, everyone seems fine.
  10. eggchel

    eggchel Crowing

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    Im not worried about a hen laying a rubber egg, that just happens sometimes , however, the fact that she has egg yolk near her vent makes me concerned that she has broken an egg internally.

    If a rubber egg breaks inside her and then is expelled, then it isnt as much of a problem as when a normal eggshell breaks internally, because the shell pieces can cut her up inside. She could also be egg bound which can cause all kinds of problems ranging from a deadly infection to prolapsed vent, to backed up plumbing.
    NOTE:Edited 4/6/07 8pm to clarify and to add that Wes has indicated that even a soft egg can cause a serious infection if broken internally and then the hen would need antibiotics.

    Did you see any blood around the vent?
    Is she behaving normally or is she acting like she is straining to lay an egg?
    Is she eating and drinking or is she looking lethargic?

    If she is behaving normally, doesnt appear in pain or distress, and doesnt have blood around her vent, then I would wait and watch her.

    If she seems unable to pass an egg, seems distressed, ill, in pain, or you see blood, then here are some suggestions :

    Separate her.
    Plan on keeping her separated from the other hens for a couple days so that you will know if she passes an egg, what condition the egg is in (although a broken egg will often be eaten right away) and so that the other hens do not peck at her vent if she has egg yolk or blood in the area.
    Examine her externally.
    Examine her by gently feeling her belly from the outside. Can you feel a hard egg? If so, you
    can give her a warm bath (see instructions below) and massage her belly towards her vent to help move the egg out.
    Examine her internally.
    Now, I can understand that you might not feel that you know your hen well enough to check inside her vent for an egg or shell pieces, but it really might be necessary. You could put on a pair of surgical gloves if that makes you feel better and put some vasoline or mineral oil on your finger and then just gently feel around inside her vent to see if you can feel a hard egg or sharp shell pieces.
    This will not only give you an idea of what might be going on, but it will also apply some lubricant where it might do some good if there is an egg stuck in there. If you feel any broken pieces of shell, see if you can carefully slip them out without cutting her.
    Unfortunately, they sometimes get twisted inside and it becomes impossible for the egg to come out without surgery, or it causes the reproductive tract to prolapse (invert itself outside of the vent). If that happens then you need to gently push the prolapsed part back inside and hope it stays, but often that becomes chronic and requires culling.

    Giving a chicken a massage bath:
    You can use rubbermaid tote, a baby bath, a 5 gallon bucket or an old dishpan for the bath. I use the sink on my back porch or the laundry sink. (Some folks use their kitchen sink but I dont suggest that for sanitary reasons... )
    Check the water temperature the same as you would for the baby, good and warm but not hot.
    Lower her gently in the water. It should come up to her back. Keep your hand over her back to prevent sudden escape attempts and to keep her from losing her footing and panicking. Either one will result in her flapping her wings and you will get soaked.
    Massage her belly gently moving in the direction of her vent. She should relax in the warm water. Some birds even fall asleep.
    Getting her dry.
    After the bath, wrap her in an old towel and put her under a warm lamp or inside the house to keep her warm. Keep her wrapped in the towel for at least 15 minutes, or longer, to absorb as much of the water from her feathers as possible. Then move her to a rubbermaid tote or a dog/cat carrier with a lot of shavings to help dry her. Again, keep her inside until she is dry, it will take overnight, and she needs to be in a warm place. It takes a long time for them to get dry all the way to the skin unless you want to speed the process with a hair drier. Amazingly, after the first minute or two, they dont seem to mind the hair drier. Just be sure to frequently use your other hand, between the hair drier and the bird, to be sure that it isnt too hot.

    (note: a bath to prepare a chicken for a show or to treat mites/lice would require the additional steps of shampooing the bird plus rinsing a couple of times. I dont recommend that you do that while the chicken is already in distress)

    2 people like this.

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