Egg bound chicken

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Nothing is quite as upsetting as when one of our animals is sick. This article will walk you through an egg bound chicken so you can help them with support and care when needed.

Watch for issues when raising chickens so you can help if you can or call for assistance when needed.

As a homesteader, owning chickens can be enjoyable and entertaining. Watching them go about their day is still something I enjoy watching. However, when raising chickens, it is important to be aware of the health issues that can arise in your flock.

One of these concerns is an egg-bound chicken. If you suspect your hen is egg-bound, it can be a stressful situation for both you and your hen. With some useful tips, you can help and maybe even save the life of your bird. In this article, we’ll discuss the symptoms to look for and the steps to take when caring for an egg-bound chicken.

What does egg bound mean?

An egg-bound chicken is a condition that occurs when a hen is unable to pass an egg that is stuck inside. The egg gets caught in the reproductive tract, causing blockages and a buildup of fluid or mucus. Left untreated, the condition can be fatal for the hen. It is essential to act promptly and prevent the situation from worsening.

a golden chicken in a nesting box

What causes a chicken to become egg bound?

A few factors can contribute to a hen becoming egg bound.

  • Too much protein in a chicken’s diet
  • A poor diet overall
  • Stress in the flock
  • Continuous laying year round
  • Overweight
  • Young chickens with large eggs
  • Worms or parasites

Symptoms of an Egg Bound Chicken

There are a few symptoms to look for that will alert you there may be an issue with an egg.

  1. A noticeable change in the chicken’s behavior. Egg-bound chickens may seem lethargic and unable to move around much.
  2. They may also be hunched over.
  3. They may not be eating or drinking water.
  4. They may show signs of straining.
  5. The most significant symptom is a hunched back with the tail pointing down.

In addition, egg-bound chickens may experience abdominal swelling and expulsion of mucus or blood from the vent while straining. If you observe any of these symptoms, it is crucial to act immediately to ease your hen’s distress.

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What to do if your chicken is egg bound

If you suspect that there’s an egg-bound chicken in your flock, there are a few things you can do to help your hen. It is important to know that, if left untreated, your chicken may not survive, so working quickly is crucial. You have about 48 hours to help before your chicken becomes critical or dies. This is not to scare you, just to let you know time is of the essence.

The only way to remedy an egg bound hen is to get the egg out of her immediately. The best option is to give her a bath and massage her to help pass the egg.

Supplies needed:

  • Wash tup large enough to hold your hen
  • Warm water
  • Epsom Salts
  • 1-2 towels

Step #1. Place your chicken in the warm bath, being sure her vent is submerged.

Step #2. Keep her in the bath for 20 minutes. She should be calm and willing but be prepared for a struggle just in case. Keep both hands on each side of her as this will help her to feel more secure.

Step #3. While she is in the water, gently rub her abdomen. Be slow and gentle, so you are not causing additional stress.

Step #4. After 20 minutes, remove her from the water and gently blot her dry with a towel. You can also use a hair dryer on a low setting to dry her off more quickly.

Step #5. Lubricate her vent by rubbing olive oil or vegetable oil on with your finger.

Step #6. Put her into a dark and quiet area and give her some time to pass the egg. We like to use a dog crate for our hens and find this works well. If you do not have a create, you can make one with a large box and some chicken wire.

a blue cardboard box with chicken wire on one side and 2 chickens inside

Step #7. If she does not pass her egg, soak her again for another 20 minutes. Repeat the process until she passes her egg.

If there is no improvement, it may be best to contact a vet. Yes, it’s true many vets will not treat poultry, but they will help or give advice over the phone. If not, you can try calling a neighbor who has chickens themselves to see if they have any advice to give.

Books For Chicken Care

How to prevent chickens from becoming egg bound

Prevention is always better than cure. You can prevent your chickens from getting egg-bound by following some precautionary measures.

  1. Ensure that your hens have access to calcium-rich feed, such as oyster shells, which will help strengthen the reproductive system.
  2. Inspect your chickens regularly for worms or parasites.
  3. Watch for hen pecking in your flock. Provide toys and distractions to keep a more tranquil coop.
  4. Make sure your chickens are hydrated and receive a balanced diet.
  5. It’s also essential to monitor and track your chicken’s laying habits and decline or change in behavior.
a group of eggs in a nesting box

What Causes an Egg Bound Hen?

A few factors can contribute to a hen becoming egg bound.

  • Too much protein in a chicken’s diet of a poor diet overall.
  • Stress in the flock.
  • Continuous laying year round.
  • Overweight or young hens.
  • Worms or parasites.

Having an egg bound chicken is not common; actually, you may never experience it at all. However, it is important to know the signs and treatments so that if it does come up, you are ready to help.

More Chicken Healthcare Resources:

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