Is My Hen Egg Bound?

I am often asked how to tell if a hen is egg bound. A hen is egg bound when they cannot lay their egg. This may be because;

  • the oviduct is too small for the egg to pass through,
  • the egg may have broken and cannot slip through or
  • the shell of the egg is too soft to let the egg pass through.

Young pullets sometimes find it difficult to lay the first few eggs and it is not unusual to find that the first few eggs that they lay are elongated in shape or speckled with blood.

Sometimes it is obvious that a hen is egg bound as they will be straining, but sometimes your hen can just go quiet or can look unwell or has  tail down and looks bulky underneath and sometimes they keep re-visiting their nest area but no egg is laid.

You need to check if she straining and walking funny as this could indicate that she is egg bound.

If possible you need to carefully pick up the hen and again carefully feel underneath the hen to see if an egg is low down and ready to come out.

If she has an egg then you can dab olive oil around the vent area to help the egg out when she pushes.

Egg binding can sometimes be relieved by gently massaging the egg out.

If the egg breaks inside the hen then there may be a risk of infection so the hens vent will need to be bathed.

If the egg doesn’t come out easily then the hen needs to be kept warm.

Sometimes holding a hen over a sink of hot water can help the vent to relax and the egg to come out.

You could place the hen in a box and then place the box on the radiator to keep the hen warm and to help relax the vent area.

Hope these tips help. If you have any tips for egg bound hen then please let us know by leaving a comment.

If you keep hens or are interested in keeping hens then visit the farmingfriends hen forum for the latest chat about hens and then check out the books shown below about keeping hens which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced hens keeper.

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