Shell-less egg and sick chicken


In the Brooder
Mar 10, 2018
I am looking for some help. One of my hens started acting abnormally today. She is very lethargic and when she walks she is keeping her back end down. A couple days ago we found and egg yolk and the membrane in the nesting box. It was popped. Since then I don't think she has laid another egg. Its hard to tell because one of my other layers lays eggs that look just like hers. She also had messy butt feathers. I have been reading this forum all afternoon and tried a few things. I brought her inside and set her in a warm bath, 15 minutes at a time. She seemed to like that. I also used a glove and Vaseline to check her vent. I went in almost 2 inches but didn't feel anything hard. When I did, a bunch of stinky clearish liquid squirted out and a bit of runny poo. She is cleaned up and in a large dog crate in our spare bedroom. She did eat some food since being inside and drank water. She was also kind of standing weird outside, on one leg at a time. I think I have read myself silly and now am lost as to what could be happening. Please help, any ideas would be greatly appreciated!!


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So the belly doesn't feel swollen. She didn't seem real bothered by me feeling around. Forgot to mention that her vent seemed normal, not swollen or red.
Leave her in crate overnight.
Take feed out at dark, leave water, and feel her crop.
Check crop before feeding in morning to make sure it's emptied.
Check poops in morning, take pics if weird.
Just monitor for now.

Her odd stance might be another softshell egg moving down stream,
have seen them do that before.
If it is this hen that laid the shell less egg, she may have another one in her system. Shell less eggs are really difficult to pass and takes a lot out of the bird and may take a couple of days to pass. Sometimes you will see their vent pulsing and their tail is down and their back rounded/hunched.
Soaking in a warm Epsom salts bath is good and if you haven't already, it might be a good idea to give her a calcium supplement, like a human calcium tablet, crushed and sprinkled on some scrambled egg. I would be inclined to only feed her mushy food mixed with water or yoghurt rather than dry food, so that she is intaking plenty of fluids. Being well hydrated will help the process. It might also be a good idea to restrict her access to daylight for a few days to see if you can at least temporarily shut down her ovaries from producing more eggs.

Shell less eggs can be an indication of a dietary imbalance and not necessarily just calcium or a glitch in the hens shell gland. What do you normally feed her?
If she is a pullet that is just starting to lay eggs, her system may straighten out in a few weeks. If she is an older hen then I might be more concerned, especially if there is more than one which I suspect, if she is still hunched.
We purchase a layer feed and also add in crushed oyster shell. I will grind up some tums and put them in a little egg. Will try everything you guys suggested. She seems really tired. I am sitting in here with her and she keeps falling asleep. I hate to see her like this, she is one of my favorites.
Oyster shell should be offered 'on the side'... not mixed into feed.
Do you feed any other foods or 'treats'?

When's the last time she laid a good egg?
Was she a day old chick when you got her last the spring??

Oh and Welcome to BYC.
Not sure where you are located,
but it's dark here and she should be allowed to sleep when it's dark outside.
Might actually be better to put that crate in the coop so she can stay 'with' her flock.
I am in Maryland. I just shut all the lights off in the spare bedroom so she could sleep. She was a pullet and started laying about a month after we got her last spring. I didn't know that about the oyster shell and will separate it from now on. We also give them treats we get from the feed store, mostly mealworms but sometimes seed sticks. We also give them whole cabbages and in the summer we were giving them squash. I also put one spoonful of Apple cider vinegar per 2 gallons of water for them but we just started that about a week ago. Thank you for the welcome and all of the advice. As far as laying, it's been at least since right before we found the shell less egg. I have another layer that lays eggs that look like hers. Since the shell less egg was found there have only been 1 egg of that type per day in the nesting boxes where normally there is two. I just can't be completely certain who is laying it.

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