Egg Bound Hen - How to Recognize, Treat and Prevent

| 6/19/2012 4:26:33 PM

Imagine one of your hens is acting funny.  She is fluffed up, her eyes are closed and she is lethargic.  You notice her sitting on the ground and maybe dragging her wings.  Her tail is down and most likely she is straining or pumping her backside.  Upon closer examination you notice that liquid is dripping from her vent and you may feel an egg-shaped lump.  All signs of an egg bound hen.

Considering the process that a chicken goes through nearly every day to lay a perfect egg, it's no wonder that things go wrong sometimes.  Fortunately, being egg bound is not all that common, and there's a good chance you may never have a hen suffer from it, but it's still good to know the signs and how to treat it. 
laid an egg

An egg bound hen literally has an egg stuck in her oviduct. It is most common in young chickens.  It could be due to a large or double yolked egg that is too large to pass through, genetics or a calcium deficiency. Calcium is needed for proper muscle contraction.  Too much protein in a hen's diet can also cause egg binding.  Other potential causes are internal worms, low quality feed, dehydration or weakness from a recent illness.

You want to handle your egg bound chicken carefully to avoid breaking the egg inside her, which can lead to infection and possible death.  Peritonitis is caused by egg material stuck inside the hen and must be treated immediately with an antibiotic, such as Baytril, and probiotic powder to build up her good bacteria. 

Even if the egg is not broken, the condition must be treated quickly.  An egg bound hen will die if she is not able to pass the egg within 48 hours, so once you have made your diagnosis, treatment should start immediately.

The easiest thing to do is to carefully bring the hen into the house and soak her in a plastic tub in your bathtub. 
lucy in tub
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6/22/2012 1:10:35 AM

Lisa, sounds like you have a handle on the egg bound situation. I've never heard of such a thing so I guess we never had that problem or maybe didn't know why the hen came up missing. Have a great egg bound free day.

6/20/2012 2:42:03 PM

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