Eggbound (?) hen

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

I noticed one of my Buff Orpington girls looking more "fluffy" than usual, and trying to lay without result. I'd read about egg-binding, and I was concerned. So I brought her inside and put her in a warm dark box with water but no food. No egg. So I put olive oil on her abdomen and vent. An hour later, several HUGE droppings and one oily egg.

Here's my question. Should I put her out again, or watch her a while more? The temperature's around freezing outside. I'm no good at telling how many eggs she's still got in her by feel (but I'll try). I've been told that if she has this problem once, she's likely to again and again... don't know if that's so or not. Her diet should not be an issue: she gets a high-quality layer feed, free access to grit and oyster shell, plenty of clean water, and daily greens/forage with lots and lots of exercise.

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Oh goodness. I'm not glad you have this situation, but I am glad you brought your question about it to the forum. Hopefully I can learn something from watching what answers come up. Never know when it could happen to one of our hens. Hope she gets all better. Good luck.

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

Just noticed this thread. I hope you kept her inside and warm for a day or 2. Give her lots of water, moist mash, etc. A few more drops of that oil won't hurt her and may keep things moving.

Cleveland, GA(Zone 7a)

Zeppy, I have been wondering about that issue. I haven't had that problem, but when my girls were moulting, I was saying to my DH "what if they are just eggstipated" how would I know? I am glad to know that you could see a difference and there is something that can be done for them.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

"eggstipated"! LOL

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

Thank you. She's doing well and, after two days indoors, began showing signs of new energy, nosiness, and general good spirits, so I let her out. She has since gotten into mischief, escaping from the yard, etc., which makes me happy. The day I posted I did immerse her up to her back in a warm water bath for ten minutes, as several folks on another site recommended that. She never prolapsed, thank goodness.

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Nothing like a good hot soak in the bathtub on a cold winters' night to make a girl feel all better. lol

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

good news! ;-)

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Speaking of eggbinding. I noticed on one of my girls eggs, that there was an area of indentation around the egg, like it had been bound while it was still soft and moldable. My Buff Orp. usually lays every day, but she missed a day, and the next egg she layed was larger than usual and had this ring around it. Does that sound like she might have potential to become eggbound at some time ?

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Well, guess so. She's eggbound now. I think her vent is prolapsed also. I tried the olive oil to the vent area, and with a gloved finger tried to put some inside the vent. But the vent is prolapsed, so I can't tell what's vent and what's something else. I've got her in a covered box with nesting material in it now. I don't know what else to do for her. The egg feels like it's right down there and is HUGE. Maybe too big to pass ?
I think I'll try the warm bath soak for her and see if that will help. I hope so, she looks so miserable.

This message was edited Apr 10, 2006 8:49 PM

Cleveland, GA(Zone 7a)

I am sorry to hear that. I'll be interested to hear how the warm bath works. My Buffs lay fairly large eggs compared to the Wyandottes and other hens I have had, but my two Buff hens have not had that problem .... yet.

I have a giant Buff rooster in a coop with the 2 hens, and they each have over a dozen eggs they are sitting on. I have not seen those hens get off their nests or out of the house in over a week now. I look in on them and they seem to be ok, but I would have thought they would come out to eat and drink and I am just not seeing it. They don't even come out when I bring them goodies like lettuce. They must be eating and drinking or they would be dead by now, right?

When do you think I should take the rooster out of their coop?

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

Oh, Peggie, that's awful. Sorry. Do try the warm bath if you're able and make sure she's warm afterwards. Let us know. I won't be able to check in for a while b/c my computer's on the blink and I'm trying to get it fixed. Some of our eggs look like the ones you describe above (don't know why I didn't read that before).

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

I gave her a nice warm soak-bath last night. I then put her "to bed" in a large Rubbermaid storage tub with straw in the bottom and a heating pad under it. The lid is on and has a nice sized hole in it for air.
I checked on her earlier, and she's still alive. I didn't want to bother her, so I didn't make her get up to see if she passed it. I'm going to check on her again here in a few min. and will look under her then.
I'll keep you posted.

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

I checked on her and she looks more bulged than last night, still no egg.

I figured that at this point, I'd better call the vet and see what they can do for her. Agggrrrrr. They want a $ 50. deposit, just to take a look. And that's before they even DO anything for her. They say they've treated exotic birds with this condition before, and it usually runs in excess of
$100. But she's not an Exotic Bird !, she's just a CHICKEN. She's worth that to me, but I'm sure DH would not be able to justify that being spent on one chicken. I'm so sad for her, I know she is suffering. I guess I'll wait and see for a little longer.............if nothing happens, I guess I'll try to decide when it's time to stop her suffering. Poor girl.

Vernon, FL(Zone 8a)

I'm sorry to hear this. I do hope she gets to feeling better. I have several RI Reds and have been lucky enough not to have this problem, but I have had them lay eggs inside of eggs with a couple of them being the size of a duck egg. Keep us posted.

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Update. So far so good. She seems to be a little better.

I've kept her in a Rubbermaid tub w/ lid, and a hole for air, on top of a heating pad. She has straw for bedding.

So far, she hasn't gone into shock or anything. This morning I mixed up about a 1/2 tsp. of sugar and an aspirin in 2 oz. of water and forced it down her. I was afraid she was getting dehydrated. I force- fed her water several times.

I read that you can inject Calcium Gluconate intramuscularly for this and sometimes get results. They say it gives the muscles more strength to help push out a large egg. She's getting weaker as we go. So off to the feed store I go. By the time I got back, she had passed a soft shelled egg, and broken it open somehow. Or did she pass the egg, breaking it in the process, and then eat the shell ????????????????????
Now I'm REALLY puzzled. All I found was the soft membrane of an egg in the tub I've got her in. Along with a couple pieces of baked potatoe that she didn't eat.

I do think the sugar-water with aspirin helped with her pain and maybe gave her some strength.

I checked her, and the prolapse is gone, and she is still swollen like a baseball, but is not oozing the watery stuff anymore, and it is no longer hard as if there's something in there.

I figured she is probably swollen and sore from me trying to help her out with my oiled gloves.

Anyway, she is now taking water on her own. Not interested in food, not even a good ole baked potatoe (which she loves). But maybe this is a good sign.

I'm going to keep her in the darkened box for a day or so, hopefully to inhibit her from needing to lay another egg, and to rest. We'll see how it goes. I'll keep you posted. Thanks for your interest. Hopefully my experiences will help someone else know what to do in the future. Sorry to be so gross and graphic, but you might need to know.
I wouldn't have known even where to start if Zeppy hadn't posted what she did. Thanks Zep for starting this thread.

This message was edited Apr 11, 2006 6:39 PM

This message was edited Apr 11, 2006 6:40 PM

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

You done good, Peggie. I'm impressed that she passed an egg and the prolapse is gone. The aspirin should help with the swelling. I wouldn't worry about her eating much: a little fasting will keep her egg production down (or so I hear) and they sure don't eat much when they're broody, so that shouldn't kill her.

Gross and graphic? This is the poultry and livestock forum!

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

Amen Zeppy!

such goo dnews peggy. yes, i will need to know this kind of thing. and remember animals tend to give up food when they are ill or injured. as long as she is getting water, she will eat when her body is better.


Vernon, FL(Zone 8a)

I'm happy to hear she is doing better. She probably did eat the egg after it broke, my chickens do it all the time. Here is a question concerning husband suggested possibly breaking the egg inside of the chicken when this happens. His grandfather used to do this when his hens had this problem. Is this even safe and how would you do it???

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

I thought breaking the egg might work too, but read that the sharp edges of it can cut their insides and cause infection. At this point, there wasn't much to lose, I figured that she was going to die anyway if I didn't do something. I tried (with pressure) to break the egg when I couldn't get to it because of the prolapse, with no luck. Those eggs are tougher than I realized. I was, however, able to push it back up into her abdomen enough to relieve the pressure against the prolapse. (That's probably why she is still so swollen, I'm sure this was pretty rough on her).
What leaves me so puzzled though is........... when I was doing all this pushing, I could "feel" the hard egg shell. It was hard as any shell she would have laid. But when I found the expelled egg in her crate, it was a soft, but tough membrane type eggshell. ???????????? Strange.

So far, she is doing ok. I haven't killed her yet, poor girl.

By-the-way....................the guys at the feed store were trying their best not to laugh at me, but I could tell, they just didn't understand. I over heard one of them say "Sounds like Kentucky Fried Chicken time to me." and they were laughing, but when they turned back around to me, they were serious. Can't imagine what they said after I left. LOL.

I know all this sounds crazy to the average person. But really, I'm just trying to treat these chickens as humanely as possible.

It's NOT like I am some kind of nut with chickens in my house or something. I just try to take good care of them, like anyone else would care for a sick calf or colt. They're pets, but NOT like my little white fluffy poodle that sleeps at the foot of my bed, and goes bye-bye in the car with me, for Heaven's sake !!!! But I DO care about their well-being.

If you ever have to deal with this kind of thing, don't expect people to understand your concern. Their response is, it's just a chicken.

Sound exasperated ? I guess I've had my fill of chicken-woes this week.
One of the older chickens pecked a baby chick and cut his shoulder, so I've had to isolate him until he heals. And I've got 2 hens that have decided to lay eggs on the ground in the pen. Ggrrrrr.

It's fun having chickens. And most of the time they're easy. But there ARE days like this. So you all who are new, get ready. You'll probably have 361 days per year that things go great, and 4 days where they ALL go whacky and everything seems to go haywire at once.

Oops, sorry to be so long-winded. Got a little carried away. Sun is shining and the wind has died's going to be a better day.

Wheeeew !

Vernon, FL(Zone 8a)

I was wondering about the sharp edges too. I just ignore it when people think I'm weird when it concerns my chickens. I treat them like I do my dogs and I worry about them like I do them. Oh well.......

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

I just figured that it's only fair that I treat them well. After all, I chose to buy them and bring them home. The least I can do is try to give them the most humane existance I can. I owe them that much. My choice, my responsibility.
My daughter has worked for vetenarians for the past 7 years. You'd be surprised how many stories she has of people who buy animals and then don't have enough concience to take care of them.

I checked on my hen again. She's doing 99% better today. She's interested in eating and drinking now. Her bottom is all red and sore looking though. She probably needs a little Preparation H, lol. I read one article that said if they get prolapsed, put some on it. LOL Wonder what people would think of that ? I bet they'd like some if it was their bottom that was sore. LOL I know I sure would. hehe

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

I think the Prep H is perfectly fine for them. I agree with you: we owe it to those we're responsible for to take good care of them.

So glad she's better!

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

that hen is lucky to have you to care for her, Peggy....

New Iberia, LA(Zone 9a)

How's hen doing? Just checkin...

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Oops, sorry. I've been so busy trying to get my veggie and flower gardens going (have had to spend hours watering because of drought here) that I just neglected to get back and tell you all how she was.

She's doing pretty good now. I put the prep H on her and let her rest a couple days. I then put her back in the pen with her girlfirends. She stayed all red and sore looking for a few more days, and wouldn't jump up on the roosts at night for a few nights. (I think she was just too sore to jump)
But she finally got better and got up there.

She didn't lay any more eggs for about 10 days and looked like she was molting. She still looks a little skinny and frumpy.

Then she laid an awful looking egg. It was two-toned brown and white, and looked like it had part of another egg (without a shell) attached to the outside of it. Gross. She laid it on the ground in the middle of the pen before she felt like jumping up on the nests. I cracked it open to examine and it looked otherwise normal inside. She's back to laying now, but her eggs look a little smaller than before and a little smoother. She seems to be ok now. Poor ole girl. Hope it dosen't happen again. Whew !

Thanks for all your concern, you all are great !

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

Man, that's weird. The things you see when you don't get eggs at the supermarket. So glad she's doing better.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

"The things you see when you don't get eggs at the supermarket" LOL. Luckily the other things we get to swee are HAPPY HENS ;-)

glad she is OK Peggy, you were a dear to help her!


Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Thanks, Half the time I'm sure I don't have a clue what the heck I'm doing, but I try.
Guess she just got lucky this time, lol.

Gotta get my daughter to tell you the story about the time we set the cat's broken leg. It was on Halloween...........the neighbors must have thought we were doing some kind of evil ritual with that poor cat. Poor kitty. lol
We were just trying to make him better. 2 popsickle sticks, gauze and some plaster of paris................good as new......................sorta.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

good as it gets! ;-) was he black? LOL

Gravois Mills, MO

Be careful where you squeeze to try to break the egg!!!
There is an organ that feels sort of like an egg in the lower abdomen. If you mistake it for a stuck egg, and try to break or move it you can cause serious internal damage!!

In the illustration, the area where the organ is held is highlighted in RED.

The area where the egg is held is highlighted in BLUE.

The reason why Iím here is that I am currently having problems with a prolapsed vent in one of my own chickens as well. I found her like this today. She is only a year old. I would hate to see her life cut short because of this.

I purchased her along with the rest of my sweet chickens. She is a white leghorn I think. Her waddle flops over to one side. So cute!
I am so worried about her because last year I lost my saipan jungle fowl from a prolapsed vent laying her second egg.
I am also, seeking answers on helping my chicken get through this.

So far my research has provided me with these answers:

1 Separate from other chickens,
2 Neosporin,
3 preparation H,
4 warm bath,
5 clean bedding,
6 feed them oil?
7 aspirin,
8 sugar,
9 and discourage egg laying. (darkness?)

Also, my personal recommendation is keeping the feathers around the vent clean of poo to prevent infection.

photo Courtesy of: Extension Service of Mississippi State University

This message was edited Apr 27, 2006 4:16 PM

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Gravois Mills, MO

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Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

dirtandbugs, welcome to DG.

Sounds like you're doing everything you can. I hope your hen pulls through. Witholding food's another way to keep the hen from processing more eggs. is a really great resource. You can search the forums ("eggbound") and find many miracle stories of an owner curing a prolapsed hen. Good luck to you.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

hope your hen recovers soon dirtandbugs!

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