Aug 25

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What To Do With An Egg Bound Hen

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egg bound hen - lil' suburban homestead

Hazel our Buff Orpington chicken was not moving at all yesterday morning I worried that it was an egg bound situation but was not sure and had to leave for work. I did not know if she had a disease or something major wrong with her and wasn’t super familiar with a chicken that is egg bound. It’s tough when you are working full time and are a Suburban Homesteader so much to fit in and so little time. In the best interest of our hen the first thing my husband did was quarantine her to a dog crate and he then realized that she had been acting strange the day before.  This is my chicken that sits and sits to lay anyway for hours so we have often wondered if she has been egg bound prior to this.  So we realized she was egg bound and by the way this will be a little detailed for some if you are squeamish you may want to leave but if you are serious and committed about raising chickens stay because you will need to know this.  So he checked her over and soaked her in a warm water bath(feels warm to your skin not hot) which she was grateful to be in and he was pretty sure she had an egg up there the issue is you really need someone to hold her head downwards while you check.

So when I got home from work I donned on my gloves and I lubricated my finger with a little  olive oil you can use vaseline or KY Jelly too but I had read olive oil is okay and I put just enough on to make this entire process go easier.  You really need to feel around up there and when you go in the vent there are two holes obviously the chute the egg comes out and the intestinal chute I checked in both you can go up or down but the chute that goes downward toward the intestinal tract I could really feel the egg through the membrane tissue you have to be very gentle you do not want to break the egg while you are in there feeling around that can be fatal to the chicken.  So after I was sure there was an egg in there we put her in a bigger bin of warm water at first she was afraid but while she was in there I massaged her abdomen with some pressure but again not too much pressure.

We then put her back in the crate with a heating pad under it and a tablecloth over top of it and we went out for the evening.When we got back lo and behold was the offending egg shown below:

offending egg lil suburban homestead

It did not look at all like her usual eggs it was very pale and just odd-looking so we are not eating this one as we are not completely sure how long it was hung up there.  So we let Hazel continue to recuperate in the coop overnight and put her back in the run this morning and trust me she did not really want to leave the infirmary as I am sure the accommodations are quite cozy and warmer….however we think she is going to be okay we will keep you posted.  We were relieved as this condition is fatal in chickens and well Hazel is a favorite of mine….she walked right past that rat snake with no fear or shear stupidity last year she’s just strong for a chicken.

If you are raising chickens at some point or another you will most likely encounter this situation. Hope some of my tips and information helped! There is a lot of information out on the subject but this process worked for us!


Hope it helps some of you that deal with this for the first time. Happy Saturday!


Karen Lynn



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  1. mysimplecountryliving

    Thanks so much for sharing this post KarenLynn. I am a newby chicken keeper and I know this will come in handy someday. I am very glad you and your hubby were able to help your little hen Hazel. I pray she makes a speedy recovery.

    1. KarenLynn

      I was hoping other chicken keepers would read this post and tuck it away for future reference…glad you found it useful by the way Hazel was doing fine the last time I checked 🙂

      1. MawMawof 4

        Thanks so much for the TLC information. I’ve never had an egg bound hen, in fact, my hens haven’t even started to lay yet. I will keep this in Pinterest and refer back to it if/when it happens.

        1. KarenLynn

          Glad this was helpful and I must say I was nervous the first time but I think each time you get a little more relaxed about it but still careful. Thanks for stopping in 🙂

  2. kitsapfg

    Bless you for taking good care of this hen in her distress. Knowing what to do and doing it are the keys and you did both. Being good stewards of our animals is very important to me.

    1. KarenLynn

      I so agree I believe if you are going to own farm animals you need to care for them and to the best of your availability do what you can to help them. So glad you commented on this post!

  3. CurtissAnn

    Karen, the thought of this situation unnerves me. But likely I may encounter it. Thank you for your detailed instructions and encouragement.


    Sent from my iPhone

    1. KarenLynn

      CurtisAnn it unnerved me I was worried all day but I am glad that some patience, TLC, and a few tricks that have been around helped her in her moment of need.

  4. Tammy

    Way to go Hazel! Nice job taking care of your girl. Thanks for the informational post!

    1. KarenLynn

      Thanks Tammy and she is still doing great! I actually saw her go in today and lay an egg and then come out just fine!

  5. Diane

    We had a egg bound bantam about two years ago and unfortunately even though we got the egg out she didn’t make it. I believe she prolapsed. We have been blessed to not have any issues with any of the other hens.

    1. KarenLynn

      Diane I am so sorry……it is scary isn’t it and while I am glad that didn’t happen to Hazel I know it could have. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

  6. oceannah

    Karen that is some ‘day spa’ you made for miss henny 🙂 smalll wonder she was reluctant to return to the coop. Sounds like a very interesting day 😉

    1. KarenLynn

      Anna she did not want to leave at all….but it was a worrisome moment for us as homesteaders. I am so relieved that this time it worked. Thanks for stopping in.

      1. oceannah

        I’ll bet she’s relieved too 😮

        1. KarenLynn

          She sure looks it 🙂

  7. kelly

    I’m glad I read this, I never would have thought of this. thank you 🙂

    1. KarenLynn

      Glad this was a helpful blog post to you!

  8. Alana

    Ive never heard of this. Thanks for the post.

    1. KarenLynn

      Thanks Alana! I was really hoping to help others as I was so worried about her and worried the egg wouldn’t come out. So glad you stopped by!

  9. beth

    Hey. I think one of my chickens is egg bound. my problem is I got this chicken when she was older and is too fond of being held. Any suggestions for a stubborn chicken?

    1. KarenLynn

      Beth I think the heating pad really helps I have also sat in the bathroom with one of our chickens and visited with her while she was soaking in warm water and yes I massaged her belly….it helped and it worked. Good luck I know its concerning and please let me know how it goes.

  10. Tlnitstr8

    Being Egg bound is a problem you can have with any bird…and you really need to know about it, the signs, and what to do.
    I’d had birds for years and never had a problem. And then one week, about 6 years ago, I left my Conure in the care of a friend (who also has birds) while I was on vacation. I knew she was starting to nest, but that’s nothing new. My friend would check on and play with her daily and give me updates. Thursday she said she was acting funny and being really mean. She did not check on her Friday since I was going to be home that day. By the time I got home my Conure was lying on the bottom of the cage, dead. Her whole backside was a bloody shredded mess and her claws were snagged in her skin near her cloaca. It looks like she tried to claw the egg out of herself. I’ll never get that image out of my head. It was obvious she suffered terribly. I haven’t owned a bird since.

    1. KarenLynn

      I am so sorry what a sad story 🙁

  11. lisa peterson

    Okay I am in this situation right now and my poor hen! Can feel the egg and am going in with the olive oil, She is one of our oldest and a fav of my grand children. I have had her in warm water twice. Hope she comes out okay

    1. KarenLynn

      Lisa I agree it is a very scary situation and I am always nervous when an egg gets hung up but I have had good results with this a couple of times….please update when you can.

  12. Karen

    As a retired exotic bird breeder, I have dealt with egg binding problems and would like to offer some insight.

    Egg production by a hen creates a high demand for calcium. Birds that receive a sufficient supply of calcium must also have an adequate supply of D3 or the will not be able to absorb the calcium. Birds obtain D3 through sunlight.

    Exotic birds are often housed indoors and reptile UV light bulbs are substituted for sunlight.
    Most chickens live outside with access to natural sunlight. Hmmm…

    Watch your hen. Is she staying in the coop, out of sunlight all day due to being bullied or broody or just likes to be in? Has she been laying forever and ever and depleted her calcium reserves (Exotics do and chickens don’t – usually)? She might just have a metabolism that requires more D3.

    Short of holding her closer to the sun or buying reptile lights (not as good as the sun and VERY expensive), give her calcium such as oyster shells or whatever your supply stor has and also give her D3, like those in vitamin capsules for people.

    I hope this helps, and you did a great job helping Hazel out.

    From another Karen

    1. KarenLynn

      Thanks Karen wow you are a wealth of knowledge about birds….thank you for sharing your wisdom. In our case that is partially why we scaled back to a small flock of hens and they all have lots of space and elbow room and sunlight! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  13. Pinky

    Karen I love your story I have 2 brave gunieas that are the runts of my flock. One is named Nugget and I have been trying to think of a brave name for the littlest one as she is fearless… I think I’ll name her Hazel as a tribute to your brave girl! Know that in California there is a little brave gray Guinea name Hazel.

    1. KarenLynn

      Pinky that is awesome! I have always wanted to raise guineas are they difficult? That is so cool wait until I tell the Viking that we have a guinea named after Hazel so cool! Glad you liked our story and thanks for stopping by!

  14. donna dean

    Exactly what was it that helped release the egg? Thewarm bath? I just wondered if it was necessary to go inside and check her? Or can the warm bath be enough?

    1. KarenLynn

      Donna I really think it was a combination of all of the above…..well I waited a while before I went in and checked on things…..I think it may have helped loosen things up for her….but I think the warm water or a warm heating pad 90% of the time will do the trick….not always though. Thanks for stopping by.

  15. Sandi Sinicrope

    Great article I had no idea how to get relief for an egg bound hen

    1. KarenLynn

      Thanks Sandi! I was so scared the first time I ran into this situation so I am happy to help others.

  16. jilly tamba-nhabay

    Very useful article and I love the way you write ! Problem here is with a friends chicken. poor little lady seems to have a prolapse, any help ?

    1. KarenLynn

      Jilly I am so sorry I am just getting back to you…..the problem is each chicken is so individual so being there is the most helpful way to diagnose a chicken. Most areas have some sort of chicken expert at their local farm store etc…and that might be your best bet. I wish I could have been more help. Best wishes for your friends chicken!

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