Egg Bound Hens

“When I was a child, I seem to remember that one of our neighbor’s hens got an egg stuck and she died. I don’t remember the details, I was young at the time, but it made an impression on me nevertheless. Now I have a family of my own and we’ve started keeping chickens. I’ve been thinking about that chicken from years ago and wonder if you could tell me how to know if an egg is stuck and what to do about it in case it happens to us. Thank You” ~ Marlene Muller

Hi Marlene,

Isn’t in interesting the memories we hold onto from our childhood?

But I guess that’s another newsletter.

I believe what you remember is an egg bound hen.

It happens when an egg is stuck within the oviduct and the hen is unable to move the egg towards her vent to lay it.

If your hen seems sluggish and keeps her head or tail down, check to see if she is egg bound.

Gently feel her abdomen to see if you can feel an egg caught in her oviduct.

My husband suggested that the best way to help her pass the egg is to blow really hard into her beak – he’s the real comedian in the family.

He said that he saw it work once on a kid with a bean stuck in his nose.

His father held one of his nostrils closed and blew into the boys mouth and the bean popped out.

As funny as it is to picture blowing into a hen’s mouth, the application of heat to the area where the egg is lodged will usually help her to pass the egg.

If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to coat her vent and as far inside as you can safely reach with petroleum jelly or oil (mineral or vegetable) and help her by massaging her abdomen, working the egg towards her vent.

Care must be taken to ensure the egg does not break before it has been laid.

If the egg does break, you must make sure the entire contents of the egg is expelled from inside the hen’s body.

You can likely avoid the whole situation if you keep your hen’s healthy and active though because it is fat hens that are most likely to become egg bound.

This happens because fat deposits build up around the oviduct, hindering it’s ability to move the egg through properly.

I hope you and your family have a lot of fun with your hens Marlene, I hope this information has been helpful.

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