Being egg bound means that your hen is unable to lay eggs. This is obviously not healthy for an egg laying chicken. There are several things you can do to help your chicken recover from being egg bound. It’s also important to learn to recognize the symptoms, and also think about ways to prevent egg binding from happening.
Monitor her appetite.
If you are concerned that your chicken is egg bound, there are several signs you can look for. In addition to noticing that she hasn’t laid any eggs, there are other symptoms of the condition. For example, you can pay close attention to her appetite.
If your hen has not eaten any food or shown any interest in her feed for a day, she could be egg bound. An egg bound hen will likely not drink any water.
When you are observing her eating habits, pay attention to whether or not she defecates. An egg bound hen will sometimes have trouble relieving herself.
Observe her behavior.
Egg binding is extremely uncomfortable for chickens. The physical pain can cause her to act differently than normal. If your chicken seems apathetic or depressed, that is a sign that she might be egg bound.
There are other behavioral signs to look for. Take notice if she goes in and out of her nest repeatedly.
Remember that hens will sometimes take a break from laying for other reasons, such as an intense heat wave. That is why it is important to look for multiple behavioral and physical symptoms when monitoring your hen.
Look for physical signs.
Your chicken might look different than normal if she is egg bound. For example, her face and comb might appear pale. She might also walk differently. Egg bound chickens often waddle, similar to penguins.
Your chicken will appear like she is trying to lay an egg. Abdominal straining is a symptom of being egg bound, along with a hard abdomen.
Pay attention to your hen’s feces. Egg bound hens will often have watery diarrhea.
Gather your supplies.
It is possible to treat an egg bound chicken at home. You will need a few things to help you cure her. Gather a tub warm water and epsom salts.
You will also need some type of lubricant. You can use vegetable oil or petroleum jelly.
An egg bound chicken can die within 48 hours of not being able to pass an egg. If you are going to treat your chicken at home, do it sooner rather than later.
Keep her warm and comfortable.
Your chicken will likely be very anxious if she is not able to lay an egg. Do your best to make her feel at ease. Handle her gently and make sure that she is in a warm space.
If she doesn’t object, have her sit in a warm tub of water for about 30 minutes.
Try keeping her in a steamy room. A small bathroom with a hot shower running is ideal. The temperature should be between 80-90 degrees. The heat will help her muscles relax so that she can more easily pass the egg.
You can apply gentle pressure to try to help your chicken pass the egg. Using one hand, carefully rub her abdomen. Stop immediately if the hen is uncomfortable or anxious.
This method is often successful, but it is important to very carefully handle your egg bound chicken. Use light pressure so that you do not accidentally break the egg inside of her.
While you are treating your chicken, keep her hydrated. You can offer her water with electrolytes.
You can help your chicken expel the trapped egg more easily. Using your hand, apply lubricant such as vegetable oil to her bottom. You will want to wear latex gloves for this step.
Give your chicken some time to relax. Leave her alone in a warm space for about 30 minutes and then check back on her.
If the egg has not passed after massage and lubricant, you may want to consider taking further action. It is possible to insert a sharp object into your chicken to break the egg. However, this is not recommended. The egg shell could shatter and puncture the chicken’s uterus.
Consult your vet.
If you are unable to help your chicken pass her egg, you will want to seek medical help. Call your vet and ask if you can bring your chicken in for treatment. Your vet will have treatment options that are not available to you.
He may recommend giving her a calcium shot, which will help the hen to pass the egg.
If this problem is chronic or hereditary, the vet may recommend spaying your chicken.
Learn about the causes.
When you are keeping chickens, it is important that you understand common health concerns. For example, you should be familiar with common causes of egg binding. Age can be a factor. First time layers or senior chickens are most likely to become egg bound.
Egg binding can be passed down between generations. There may be nothing you can do to prevent your hen from becoming egg bound.
An abnormal egg can also cause binding. This occurs when an egg is overly large or an odd shape.
Provide proper nutrients.
Your hen’s diet is important to your overall health. If she is not receiving the right nutrients, she is at a higher risk for becoming egg bound. Calcium and vitamin D are especially important for chickens.
If her calcium levels are low, you can try placing a calcium block in her coop. Ask your vet before giving her any supplements.
If you live in an area with limited sunshine, your chicken might need more vitamin D. Consider adding sun lamps to her enclosure.
Make sure she is active.
Chickens need to move around in order to be healthy. Provide her with plenty of space to roam around. Make her enclosure as big as your yard allows.
Scatter her food widely so that she will have to walk in order to get to it. Let her remain outside of her coop for a few hours each day.