Pullet with egg laying problems - what is wrong with her? UPDATED


12 Years
Jun 4, 2009
My 7 month old bantam EE pullet has been laying for about a month. She started out laying perfect eggs, but lately she's having strange problems. She goes through the whole egg-laying routine, (bawking, makes nest, etc) and stays in the nest box for an hour or so, but never pushes or tries to lay the egg. Then she just gets out of the nestbox and goes about her regular business. But the following day she's waddling, tail down, and seems to feel pretty bad. She finally lays the egg in the afternoon and is fine afterwards. The first time she did this, she laid a rubber egg, and I thought all would be okay after that. But she's done the same behavior ever since (acts like she needs to lay 1st day, looking miserable on 2nd day, finally lays), and the eggs do have shells, but they aren't normal anymore. They're large, very oblong, sort of flattened, and they have a weak spot about the size of a dime on each egg. When cracked, the yolk and albumen seem seperated, if that makes sense. The yolk doesn't really 'stick' with the white. And once, there was a couple of spots that look like cooked yolk floating in the egg white, these spots were very tiny.

She went through her 'I have to lay an egg' routine again today and then got out of the nestbox after a while without even pushing or straining, so she'll be miserable tomorrow until she lays it. I did feel her while she was on the roost tonight and there is definitely an egg in there. It seems fairly close to the vent, but it's sitting really low. What could be causing this? Why doesn't she just lay the egg the first day? I don't think it's eggbound because she doesn't even try pushing the egg out at all. On the 2nd day, when she finally tries pushing the egg out, it always comes right out, but it looks different like I described. btw, I feed Purina Flockraiser along with free choice oyster shell.

This has been going on for over a week now and I've been hoping she would get back on track, but I'm starting to worry something might be really wrong with her. So how worried should I be? Any ideas on what's going on with her?
Last edited:
It's the end of the second day, and she's roosting now - with the egg still in her. She hasn't seemed distressed, and she is pooping. I can only hope she'll lay it tomorrow. Can anyone help me, I don't know what to do.
I would not rule out egg bound. Hens can also be internal layers. Do you know if she is eating the oyster shells? The oyster shells could be to big for this bantam. I typically feed my bantams egg shells or mix oyster shells in with their daily feed. I don't know what is in Purina Flockraiser, but I mix my own feed and feed more than just lay pellets in their daily feed. Worse case scenario would be that she will always do this, but typically hens don't lay normal eggs for a long period and then lay continuous unusual eggs unless they are missing something or just a normal fluke. You can check out this site: http://www.thepoultrysite.com/ourbooks/1/egg-quality-handbook/ , but I think it is based on commercial egg production. It does however have useful information.
Thanks for your reply, that was a helpful website. Yes the oyster shell is a bit large, maybe she's not getting any and that is what caused this.

To update, it's the end of the third day and the egg's still in her. She's never gone this long before. I gave her 1/4 of a Tums and some Poly-Vi-Sol today. I also brought her in for a while today and gave her a very warm soak in the sink for an hour. She did relax, and I was able to really feel the egg inside her. It's hard-shelled and I could even push it (gently) up close to her vent, but still no pushing from her. The egg is sitting way down below the vent, is that even normal? What I really don't understand is why she isn't feeling bad. At all. To look at her, you can't tell anything is wrong with her at all, her tail's up, she's eating, drinking, pooping, scratching running, flying. After having an egg in her for 3 days, shouldn't she be very sick by now? I am so scared for her life, but the fact that she is acting perfectly normal as well as eating and pooping well makes me hopeful. I guess I'm going to take her to a vet tomorrow. He is over an hour away, but I guess I'm lucky to have an avian vet at all, I just hope he can do something for her without being too invasive. She's not feeling bad at all, so I'd hate it if my decision to take her to the vet ended up worse for her. Part of me just wants to wait and watch her, because she seems so well. But everything I've read says not to do that. I don't want to do the wrong thing. Anyone have words of wisdom for me? Thanks, I'm so glad you all are here.
Last edited:
Maybe she's just lazy?
Seriously though, I'm not sure why she could be acting that way....can you tell if the other chickens bother her while she's in the nest? We've gone through that with my bantam in the past. One of my big hens would often get IN the nestbox with her and of course she hated that, but couldn't do anything about it. She still tries to find a "hidey hole" when she wants to lay, but if I put her in the next and then keep the others out in the yard, she does fine.
I hope y'all don't mind another update, I just need to talk about it. We took her to the vet today, he did x-rays and she has 2 eggs in her. Vet sees no obvious reasons why she hasn't tried to lay them, they are in the right position and ready to be laid. He gave her 2 injections (calcium and oxytocin) to stimulate her to lay. He said if she didn't lay them today, bring her back in the morning and he will sedate her and try to manually manipulate the eggs out (plan B). If that doesn't work, he'll suction the contents out of the eggshells, then break them and hope she passes the remains (plan C).

Well, the injections didn't work and she didn't lay the eggs today, she never even tried. I think if she would just push, they'd come out but she doesn't try at all, and no one knows why. She's still alert and active, but she's slowing down now, waddling bad, and standing with her tail down. So we'll go back tomorrow for plan B, and I'm guessing on to plan C. I'm scared the vet might injure her trying to force the eggs out, and I am horrified of him breaking the shells if she can't pass the remains. He said the more invasive we get, the worse her prognosis is. But I do know she'll die if we don't do anything, so we'll go back to the vet tomorrow to try and save her if we can. I know I love my chickens way too much, but I can't help it, and I am heartbroken for her having to go through this.
I hope she is able to pass the eggs soon and is feeling better. Did the vet discuss possible removing her ovaries? I am thinking that this might be a continual problem for her in the future. Please keep us up to date!
I'm sorry about your chickie! I hope plan b goes well.....maybe she just needs a bit of help at first, and hopefully she'll learn what to do from now on.
It seems as though some part of the normal hormonal input in her body is missing. Or maybe it is a slight but important structural difference.
I agree that this could be a repetitive problem for her, as it has happened before, and she has two eggs backed up now.
Is it possible to remove her ovaries? Is she more of a pet, than an important layer?
I hope that plan B works, and that you are able to discuss options with the vet.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom