Monday, February 21, 2011

Egg Bound Hens

Until the other day, I'd never done much research on hens that are egg bound, but someone asked me about it so I pulled out a bunch of my chicken books and dug in. I've been fortunate not to have experienced having this happen to any of my layers before, so had kind of glossed over all the info.

I hope none of your hens gets egg bound, because it's one of those life and death situations, many hens don't live beyond 48 hours. It'll be better, though if you know what the symptoms are so you can react quickly and avoid losing a favorite pet. But first of all, please know that this doesn't happen often in backyard flocks.

Here are the symptoms:
  1. You'll find your hen 'just sitting there', on the floor or the ground.
  2. Her feathers will be all fluffed out.
  3. She'll behave as though she's drowsy and ill.
  4. You might find that her tail is pumping up and down and she may appear to be straining to lay an egg.
  5. Her stomach may appear swollen; it's best to take her to the Vet if this happens.
  6. She may be struggling to breathe, another indication that a Vet visit is needed.
  7. Her droppings may look abnormal, or she may be constipated.
Causes:
  1. She could be infested by worms.
  2. She may be genetically susceptible
  3. Her diet may have been poor, lacking in sufficient nutrients.
  4. An egg may have broken inside of her, caused by rough handling during the morning hours.
Treatment:
  1. A trip to the Vet is always a good solution, but there is one home remedy I've seen recommended.
  2. Put the hen in a wire cage (with wire floor). Boil water, then cool down to the point where it isn't hot enough to burn her, but is still steaming. Put the water in a flat, large pan and place it under the wire cage. Put a heat lamp above the cage and cover the cage with plastic or a blanket. Place a thermometer inside and keep it at between 90 and 102 degrees. After about 2 hours of this moist heat treatment, the hen may lay her first egg and be on her way to recovery. If not, but she seems better and able to eat, she probably wasn't eggbound, but still may be ill. If she still doesn't eat and appears ill, use the treatment a while longer. If you don't experience success, but she hasn't laid an egg for several days it's best to take her to the Vet. He can give her an injection that will help her to lay the egg.
Hopefully, you'll be fortunate in not experiencing this condition in your hens as I've been after many years of raising chickens..

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