The Life of an Internal Egg Layer


Chicken Slave
12 Years
Mar 19, 2007
Brick, NJ
Audrey is her name. And she's an internal egg layer. Being an owner of RSLs (Red Sex Links) since 2007 I've figured that each one that I've had, has had an issue with the "egg department" . My first two hens were RSLs and after they were done with egglaying, they each died within months of each other. They were both shy of 3 yrs old. Not long enough in my book.

Now I have 7 hens, 2 of which are RSLs - Tallulah & Audrey. Tallulah (the boss chicken) is fine but her eggs have never been right, (too big - thin egg shells - no shell just yucky egg stuff etc) But she's OK otherwise, Audrey on the other hand has major issues. In the past she would drop an egg glop with no shell or just not lay an egg. She never sat in the nest. Lately her abdomen has been expanding and she's doing the classic penguin walk. I know her situation is not good. They are both just 2 yrs old. They all have free access to oyster shell and get the required 16% of protein with their food plus other goodies that are good protein. The other 5 girls are fine, no issues.

Audrey has not gotten up on a roost in the past 6 mos. I have to make a nest area for her on the floor of the coop. Besides her problems, she seems to enjoy life for what it's worth and even gives a poke to a young hen that tries to take her cheese
(you go girl
) Sometimes her breathing looks difficult, but she rests a lot and carries on. The other hens give her a lot of respect - she's the unofficial 2nd in command.

My question - Is there anything else I can do for her? Any ideas that I might not know of - I would greatly appreciate it. I'm not sure she'll make it before the winter, but..........If I can make her life more lovely I would appreciate any other hints from you guys. Thanks so much.


May 21, 2010
I'm so sorry you are going through this. I'm going through a slightly similar situation. I only have one chicken - and she is a pet - and also wild. I suspected she was internally laying a few weeks ago. Just acting like she was laying but nothing ever coming out and her abdomen seemed a little swollen. I took her to the vet, who gave her shots of Lupron - which is supposed to shut down reproduction ( I believe) so that she doesn't produce any more eggs. Then hopefully the fluids in the abdomen get reabsorbed into her body. He also put her on antibiotics (Baytril), which I gave her for about 8 days. Then I had to go out of town for about 9 days and just got back.

While I was gone my friend said she acted pretty much the same - eating and stuff, but yesterday when I got back she was acting weird and not wanting to eat. This morning we couldn't find her anywhere and I was getting really worried. ( She lives at the plant nursery I work at and is a completely free chicken). She finally showed up in the afternoon but was the same, not wanting to eat much at all ( just had a little cheese and grapes). We spent what seemed like forever catching her so I am taking her back to the vet tomorrow, who will probably give her more lupron.

Aside from taking her to the vet and spending alot of money getting the shots, I'm not sure what you can do. Did you read the threads about speckledhen's experiences with this? She has gone through it alot apparently and did some home procedures.
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9 Years
Jun 27, 2010
I've helped one of mine bounce back a couple times with baytril and/or some careful draining. I also have to make sure she gets plenty to eat. It helps also to have a good worming and delousing program going.

A.T. Hagan

Don't Panic
12 Years
Aug 13, 2007
North/Central Florida
I get the occasional internal layer. In fact I have a Delaware that's been doing the penguin walk for months now. I've never been able to figure out why one bird and not another and it's never been limited to a particular breed or cross.

I have a tractor full of ISA Browns that are laying machines. Bit early to tell if any of them will go that way, but I can say that I have some red sex-links that are now over four years old and still lay. Not great compared to younger birds, but they still lay.

Anyone can make a sex-link so quality can vary a lot. I will say that if commercial sex-links had a problem with internal laying the commercial egg industry that depends on them would quickly take steps to breed it out. I suspect it has something to do with feed, management, or disease. No breed seems to be immune from it, but in my birds at least, I only see it occasionally.


10 Years
Jun 15, 2011
Poor mite. It sounds like she's in the best possible hands!

I've read a few times that extra calcium is good for inducing strong pushing in the laying muscles, and that's why people give TUMS to egg-bound hens. Maybe she could have *extra* cheese?
(Audrey didn't pay me to say that, I swear!)
The only 'natural' way I know to reduce laying is to reduce daylight, but it's a toss up between quality of life and longevity. I suppose if there was a way to reduce her daylight hours down by a bit in the morning and a bit at night, say, keeping her in the henhouse longer, she might stop laying and stop making herself more poorly. It wouldn't be worth distressing her over though - would only work if she was a snoozy girl anyway. My Matilda would LOVE an extra hour in bed most mornings!


Chicken Slave
12 Years
Mar 19, 2007
Brick, NJ
Thanks for your replies everyone.

Interesting AT Hagan - I've only had problems with the RSLs - maybe it's where I get them from.
So glad yours have lived to 4 yrs with no problems! Maybe I have bad luck with them. They are very friendly birds.......hate to scratch them off my list.

Stargirl - they get oyster shell and crushed boiled eggshell and kale and lots of greens. I think it's in the manufacturing department somehow and a bit of bad luck.

yes Emily I'm familiar with Speckledhen's chickens. Very much so.
Our vets around here aren't into the domestic fowl enough to make me trust them with this problem. Everything I've read about this seems to be just make them comfortable - and I don't think Audrey has any infection, she acts like herself and doesn't seem to be in pain - just tires easily and waddles around. Just a matter of time I suppose.

Thought there'd be more updated info on this problem with hens. Thanks for the responses.

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