Egg Bound Chicken: Causes, Symptom, Treatment, Prevention

Do you know how to care for an egg bound chicken? Egg binding in chicken is traumatizing for a hen and her owner. It is a severe condition that demands attention as soon as it occurs. 

However, if the hen is not attended to as quickly as possible, it might lead to fatal consequences.

Though egg binding in chicken is not standard, some will suffer from this condition in their lifetime. It is good to have the proper knowledge of what egg binding is. 

In this article, we have put together a lot of information on dealing with this emergency. 

Together, we will learn about the unique symptoms, causes, and prevention of egg binding in chicken. The hen will leave a long life and lay more eggs with proper care and intervention.

What is an Egg Bound Chicken?

egg binding, egg bound chicken, Causes, Symptom, Treatment, Prevention
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Egg binding, which also means having a retained egg, is a situation whereby an egg is stuck inside a chicken, and the chicken is having difficulty passing it. In this type of situation, we can call the sick bird as Egg bound chicken.

The egg-laying process stops at the portion of her reproductive tract, unlike coming out like they usually do.

An egg travels in the hen’s body the pointy end first as it heads to the uterus or the shell gland. Once the shell is laid over the egg, it turns, making its blunt side come out first. In some cases, egg binding can start at this point as the egg tries to maneuver.

Naturally, a hen should lay one egg every 25 hrs. It is usual for it to skip a day once in a while. Though egg binding is rare, it should be treated as a medical emergency.

Causes of Egg Binding in Chicken

Egg binding is caused by several things, both physical and environmental. Here are some of those causes:

Genetics

Such a situation is hard to correct. The hen may be inherited the problematic gene from her mom and dad. This is rare and very hard to solve. In genetically induced egg binding you may need to do treatment according to the emergency situation.

An infection in the reproductive tract

An infection in a hen’s oviduct may not be visible, but it may lead to significant issues, including muscle weakening and blocking of eggs. This type of egg binding happens mostly in hens that lay lots of eggs because they are prone to reproductive tract disease.

Lack of calcium

To have strong bones and muscles to push out an egg, hens must use a lot of calcium and other nutrients. With calcium deficiency in their bodies, hens lack enough muscle energy to push out an egg.

Here is our detailed guide on vitamins and minerals for chickens.

Egg retention by the hen

In some cases, a chicken might decide to retain or not lay the egg until a nest is free. She will also retain her egg if she feels the environment is unsafe. This may lead to muscle damage making her egg bound.

Here are a few best DIY ideas for the best chicken nesting boxes

Obesity

One of the side effects an obese chicken might suffer is muscle weakness. When a chicken cannot contract as strongly as it should, it can quickly become egg-bound.

Unusually large or oddly shaped eggs

When a chicken lays malformed eggs, it could be a tragedy in waiting. The extra big ones might get stuck.

Internal parasites

Deworming chickens occasionally is very important if they are not eating well or eating more. Most birds with a high internal parasite load are prone to egg binding problems. 

Use a good quality chicken wormer liquid to solve this type of issue.

Laying eggs prematurely

Laying of eggs when the body is not fully developed is a recipe for egg binding. This is often common when young pallets are artificially forced to lay eggs.

Here is our guide if your hens are laying soft eggs.

Stress

New chicken to the flock or moving the hen from one environment to another may cause stress leading to hiccups in the egg-laying system.

Symptoms of an Egg Bound Chicken

Chickens are good at hiding their symptoms when they are ill or unwell. It is an adaptation considering it is a prey bird. This means you have to pay attention to your hens to realize these symptoms. 

These symptoms include:

Lack of appetite and drinking less water

monitor your chicken often, and if you notice a hen that is eating less and consuming less water longer than 24-36 hours, pay close attention to it. Dehydration is a leading cause of egg biding. You can check it by looking at the poultry waterer.

Tail pumping

When your chicken starts to stand with legs far apart as she squats low to the ground pumping her tail up and down, most likely she is egg bound. This is an effort to lay the egg. In some cases, tail pumping works.

The penguin walk

An egg bound chicken will walk like a penguin looking distressed and uncomfortable. From far, the hen walks in a standing position.

Shaking from exhaustion

Trying to expel an egg takes a lot of energy, and the hen might start shaking out of fatigue after a few hours. In this type of situation, you must provide them oral rehydration solution.

Taking long rests after a short walk

They may look miserable and depressed because walking is not easy. 

Lack of or very wet fecal matter

When the hen is egg bound, her digestive tract is blocked. She can only pass very wet foul-smelling poop in tiny quantities. In some cases, you may see no droppings on the coop floor.

Effects of Egg Binding in chicken

If an Egg bound chicken is not treated at the time it may lead to severe consequences like:

Treatment of an Egg Bound Chicken

It takes 48 hours for an egg bound chicken to pass the egg in most cases. It is paramount for her to lay her egg as soon as possible. 

Otherwise, it can be fatal. Do not waste any time if you suspect your hen is egg-bound.

Before starting any treatment you must have to ensure the stuck of the egg. Put a latex rubber glove with vaseline on your hand then insert your index finger gently inside the vent area of the hen.

Slowly insert your finger up to 1-2 inches in the upward direction of the vent. If the issue is egg binding then you may find an egg stuck. 

Treatment for egg binding should be immediate. Warming the bird and feeding her warm fluids may help if the bird is in shock. 

Administering medication is also another option. The medicine might help induce contractions that will help expel the egg. For this, you can contact your nearest vet.

Here are some basic steps to treat an Egg bound chicken:

  • Give the chicken a dose of calcium, preferably in liquid form.
  • Gently lower the hen into a warm bath. It will be better if you soak the lower abdomen and vent area of the hen for 20-30 minutes in a tub.
  • For better treatment add 70 gms of Epsom salt to 1 gallon of tub water.
  • Massage the chicken’s abdomen and vent gently by applying KY jelly or Vaseline.
  • Avoid breaking the egg. Put the hen in a quiet, dark, small, and comfortable space to encourage her to lay the egg.

If, after an hour, the hen has not yet laid the egg, you need to call a vet urgently. They can assist your hen in successfully laying the egg.

After trying home remedies that do not work, contact a vet for manual or surgical expelling of the egg.

How to Prevent Egg Binding in Chicken?

Disrupting a chicken’s regular routine should be avoided. Make sure you give your chicken feeds with the appropriate nutrients for better egg-laying.

  • Add shell-grit to their diet for a calcium boost.
  • Ensure you keep young hen away from artificial light. This is because it may induce the laying of eggs prematurely.
  • Add a sufficient amount of layer feed to your chickens’ diet. This will offer the hen all the nutrients they need to lay eggs.
  • Avoid offering your hens unnecessary treats that may cause obesity or interfere with their nutritional diet.

Here is a list of best chicken treats to understand what chickens eat and what not.

Summary

Though egg binding is not common, it can be chronic for a specific hen. The best thing to do is put the hen under egg-laying hormonal suppression or remove its reproductive tract. 

Some will have one bad experience, recover and continue being good egg layers.

Giving your chicken the care they deserve with good nutrition and hydration; you are a few steps ahead on egg binding.

I hope this guide will help you to treat your egg bound chicken.

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I am Bijaya Kumar and I have been raising chickens for the last 10 years. Backyard poultry farming has been our family business for the last 30 years. We raise multiple chicken breeds in their backyard.

2 thoughts on “Egg Bound Chicken: Causes, Symptom, Treatment, Prevention”

  1. hi my name is brooke from auz i have had chickens now for 9 years losing a few each year to climate change i gess but recently in the last year i have lost 4 to being egg bound, 3off them were related the last one two weeks a go was my amazing austrolot she even had a spur lost all her feathers one year only to grow them all back with the claw. it seems my chickens only live for 2 to 3 years i have one thats 5 and 2 that are two what am i doing wrong, they are free range lots off water layer mash fruit and veg. place to rost and shelter when they need. All of my chickens past and now have layed huge eggs not fitting in egg cartons. they all so lay up to to 2 eggs each i feel terrible about my last death i was to scared to try and releas the egg as the last time i did this only months before i managed to get the egg only for my beloved pecky died in my arms as i said before i have two high liners 2 and half old and one austrolote left. im so scared of losing them too. my husband went out and bourt me 3 bantams baby caring for them in side for now but worried two ?????????? please help i loved all my girls

    Reply
    • Hi Brooke,

      I’m sorry about your loss. After reading this, I can see you are unable to get the good lifespan for your few chickens and few are dying because of egg-bound.
      I have already provided the causes of egg binding in our article. Looking like you are not providing the proper nutrition in their feed, which cause the small lifespan and egg-binding issue.
      If your chickens are free ranging it’s better to provide some extra calcium and vitamins and if you are raising them inside the tractor, try to provide them few greens and supplements.
      Also check the quality of chicks you are buying. You should buy pure breed if you want to get good lifespan of 6-8 years.

      Regards

      Bijaya Kumar

      Reply

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