Egg Bound Chicken Treatment

Hi there, I am re-posting the entry on egg bound chickens as the prevoius title didn’t contain the word chicken, I hope it is of help to you and your hens.

After catching the afflicted hen, and placing her under your arm like a rugby ball, head out the back, bum facing up, try the following.

Fistly inspect the vent to see if the egg is trapped at the vent, also look to see if they is a white discharge from the vent, if so this is just the urates passing around the egg, meaning that the solids are trapped behind the egg, futher up the tube.

Now to try and aid the realease of the egg, it is suggested that you don a rubber glove, preferrably( for the hen), that you lubricate the finger with vaseline, ky or olive oil, this will make it more comfortable for the hen, and add lubrication to help the egg past easier.

Inside the vent there are two passages, the top one  is where the egg comes down, word of caution this next detail wasn’t in anything I read, there may(probably is) alot of trapped wind, so you might not want to be looking to directly at the vent when you insert the oilled finger.

So apon entering through the vent you want go immediately up, when I did this I thought I could feel the top of the egg, but only just at the tip of my forefinger, I just very gently massage around the egde of the egg, it did feel soft shelled. It ‘s important not to break the egg, as this may lead to futher complications. I imagine this method alone would only work if the egg was trapped right at the opening of the vent.

The other method I incorporated with the above, was the warm bath, this sounds easier, I thought, well what you do is fill the basin with very warm ( warmer than hen body temperature), then sumerge the lower half of the hen in water, ensuring that her vent gets a good clean, and hold her in in there for 20 mins, this is a long time to hold a hen still in a basin, but it needs to be 20 mins to work, 10 mins won’t always do it, so the longer you can hold her in there for the better, this just generally helps all the muscles relax, loosens everything up. Daphne even closed her eyes for a little while during her second warm bath.

After the bath I gently dried her with an old towel, and let her back out in to the garden with the others, and the very next day her tail was up again, as we let our hens free range I didn’t find the offending egg. So if you have a hen that bum points to ground, try these methods first before taking an expensive visit to the vet.

Below is some sub notes, provided by other visitors. Any thing that may help always welcome. TCK.

If a hen is handled roughly just before she lays an egg, the egg may break inside her. So be sure to handle hens carefully, especially early in the day.
A hen who’s egg bound will sit on the floor or ground. Her feathers will be fluffed, and she’ll be drowsy and act sick. Sometimes you’ll actually see her strain as if trying to produce the egg. More often, you’ll notice her tail pumping up and down.

Moist heat is considered the safest remedy for egg binding in chickens. Put the hen in a cage with a wire floor. Place a large, flat pan of steaming water beneath the cage. Keep the water warm under her, but don’t keep it so hot that the steam burns her.

Provide some overhead heat from a heat lamp, and enclose the whole cage with a blanket or plastic to keep the moist heat in. Make sure it doesn’t get too hot, however. A thermometer can be used to keep the heat between 90 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Water should be available at all times for the hen to drink.

The hen should pass the egg in a couple hours with this treatment. If you see an egg, she should have perked up and will be ready to be removed from the cage. If no egg has passed but she seems more active and will eat, you probably misdiagnosed her. Something else is wrong. If she continues to act droopy and ill, give her a few more hours of treatment. A vet can give a hen an injection of calcium gluconate, which will often cause her to pass the egg.

A hen that’s truly egg bound will die if she doesn’t pass the egg, usually within 48 hours. Don’t stick things like syringes full of oil up her vent; you’re likely to hurt her and cause infection. Trying to break the egg inside her and extract the pieces isn’t usually effective either; it’s likely to result in infection and death.



17 Responses

  1. This worked perfectly. My hen had a bloody egg stuck half way out of her vent when I found her. After I read your post I caught her brought her inside and held her in a sink full of very hot water. After about 15 minutes she straightened her legs trying to stand and two eggs popped out. The one stuck in her vent was normal the other one was a soft shell egg. That was a couple of hours ago and I am still concerned about her outcome as she still has dried tissue protruding from her vent. Thanks for the help.

    • Hi Deb Glad to hear you had sucess, you may want to push the vent back in with a gloved finger using some vaseline or olive oil, this will help the hen, good luck.

  2. Hi I just had an egg bound hen and unfortunately the egg was indeed broken inside her. We dont even really handle them so I am not sure how it broke. Any way I caught the hen and held her with one hand ( this is the easiest way ever to hold a hen ) using my dominant hand i grip the tops of her legs allowing them to fall between my fingers and using my thumb and pinky i hold down the long feathers on the wing tips so she cant flail and flap. I have her head facing my elbow. i can control her whole body this way and they are very relaxed and cannot kick at all. I held her bum over a steaming pot of water and kept my own hand waving the steam into her so i couold easily tell when it was dangerously too hot. The temp flucuates dangerously and if you arent touching the steam you can burn them. While i steamed her I also lubricated her vent with cold pressed castor oil which is a very soothing oil ( must be refridgerated ) and eventually small peices of egg shell came out and i gently and slowly pulled them out- one came out that looked like a whole egg! I paid attention and the hen seemed fine with this. i kept steaming her and lubricating her and gently pushed her vent back inside when i was done. She is much better- but wow, the egg being broken had me really scared! I am going to supplement wiht more calcium from now on!! the limestone grit is obviously not enough. I wouldnt bother doing anythign other than steaming and lubricating and finger massaging- its the most fool proof way and safest for the hens. Good luck!!

    • Hi Angie thanks for your advice, I think the warm bath probably creates the same effects on the bird, always welcome new techniques to resolve issues for our hens. I hope all yours remain healthy and laying.

      • Yes if our hens were more tame that would not have been so up close and personal- but i must say having her close like that i could see her when she was trying to expel a piece and i was able to pull it out slowly with her helping. If it wasnt broken she probaly couldve passed it after steaming?? I thought i would share this since I wasnt able to see anyone elses post for if the egg was already broken. I hope this helps!! Thanks

      • Absolutely Angie, I haven’t experienced a broken egg yet, and I welcome your input, thanks for sharing your tips.

  3. Thank you for you egg-bound advice. I couldn’t find anything on this subject in my chicken book. Your instructions saved my 15 year old bantam-cross hen….I think she is going to go on forever…she rules the year over the Rhode Island Reds!

  4. […] kennel in the basement with a space heater trying to recover from something. Maybe she is egg bound. Or has an impacted crop. I’m doing what I […]

  5. I soaked my hen for twenty minutes, and no egg. I do see, now that she is wet, an egg shape close to the vent. Do I soak her longer, or try to help it out. Shes not trying to push though. Do I keep trying things until the egg comes out, or leave her alone to gradually do it?

  6. Still no egg, seems like several, shes not doing good, any advice

  7. Thanks everyone! The comments here saved my hen. We caught it early. Gave a 20min hot bath. That perked her up a little, about 20mins later she passed the egg.

  8. Gapeworm.
    Can any of you help me. One of my bantam Orpingtons has gone very croaky and gives little coughs. She is very healthy and running around the garden and still laying. Last Saturday she was gasping for breath and her breathing was very loud as if she has a sore throat. Although she still looks well.
    I looked up the symptoms and came up with Gapeworm.
    I have given her some drops of Ivermectin on the back of her kneck twice over a 7 day period.
    She is not as croaky and isn’t gasping for air. She is very lively but still coughing every so often. What do any of you suggest.

  9. my chook has a red bum and a large bump but not sure if it an egg. she has lost feathers and has watery pooh. there is something in there (had a poke) not sure if she is egg bound. did the hot bath but no change. she is eating. what can i do

    • Hi Jules, where is this lump?? It’s sounds like trapped egg from the watery droppings, but it could be something els with the feather loss, although mine are moulting right now too, weather has changed they are growing a new winter coat.

  10. never mind she just laid a second egg. shes fine now. thanks for these tips on egg bound it saved two of my chickens!

  11. Hi from Australia everybody,
    THANK YOU so much for your advice!
    My chicken ‘Goldie’ was egg bound and prolapsed yesterday, I could actually see the egg poking out and the rest in the prolapse. I was amazed at this thin, red, bloody membrane which looked like it was being dragged down by the weight of the egg.
    I had not read about this happening so I panicked and broke the egg and removed as much of it as I could. There was some pieces stuck to the dried edges of the protruding vent that I couldn’t pull off so I left them and put her into her darkened coop. It was evening so I couldn’t do much more then and there.
    I came in and read as many websites as I could to get as much info as I could.
    This evening, the same thing happened. Goldie was again prolapsed and egg bound. I immediately filled up a small bath with warm/hot water and placed her in it. I put wire over the top that made her squat down a bit and a light blanket over half the wire to darken it and left her to it.
    I went back about 1/2 hour later and she was fast asleep. I gently stretched her vent whilst she was still in the bath and the egg popped out easily along with poo, wind and the stuck bits of egg shell from yesterday. (I must admit to having a giggle at a hen making fart bubbles in the bath. My 3yo son would have had hysterics if he’d seen it, he finds anything fart related funny!)
    I stretched her vent a bit whilst I was there and made sure she didn’t have any other bits of shell in there. The prolapse was retracting all by itself whilst I was doing this.

    Now, a further question for all of your chicken knowledgeable brains out there……….is there any way to stop this from happening? Or do I have to put her through this everyday?

    Thanks in advance.

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