Like many other chicken owners, I became a chicken mom during Covid. I grew up in farm country, have many friends with chickens but was waiting until my boys were a bit older to have chickens. I’ve learned a lot. Chickens are a lot of work and just like any other living create, they develop medical complications and issues like being egg bound. Here’s how I successfully treated my egg bound hen.
Even before my chicks arrived, I started creating a chicken first aid kit. I wanted to be prepared for everything! To my surprise, I could not find a local vet who sees chickens. Not even livestock vets who see horses and cows at local farms.
I learned very quickly that It’s me, the internet, Amazon and tractor supply.
I had been reading about medical issues that occurred in chickens for months and love chatting in groups and with other chicken lovers. That’s why when I walked into the chicken run and saw my hen standing in the corner with her feathers puffed up, legs spread and a look of discomfort on her face. I knew that egg bound hens carry certain symptoms and she fit all of them!
I am not a veterinarian. I am not a chicken expert. I’m a chicken Mom with a flock I love and no local vet care for chickens. Obviously, the best solution is to get your hen to a vet. However, in my case, it wasn’t an option and I literally had to take saving my egg bound hen into my own hands. Here’s how it went.
Egg bound hen symptoms I noticed
- Generally looking weak and ill
- Decreased appetite and thirst
- Not moving much
- Appearing fluffed up
- May look shaky
- Walks like a penguin or not at all
- Abdominal straining/trying to pass the egg
- Tail movement as if pooping
- Feeling the egg in the abdomen or vent area
Thankfully, I had Epsom salts ready in my chicken first aid kit and I was ready to give her a soak.
Treating my egg bound hen:
First, I tried soaking her in a warm Epsom salt bath directly in the tub. Major fail.
Unfortunately, the water wouldn’t get high enough to reach her vent and stomach without really filling the tub. She was also trying to get out and making a mess flapping her wings.
Next, I found a tractor supply bucket and did the soak in there. She wasn’t trying to get out and generally seemed really happy to be soaked. My kids and I were surprised by how pleasant and content she looked in her bath. The epsom salt bag had instructions on it for a water/salt ration I followed.
Third, when she was finished soaking for a good 20 minutes or so I brought her out and looked at her vent. The egg wasn’t out yet but there was what looked like a broken soft shell egg hanging out. I found some gloves in my cupboard and sterile gel. I have heard that using mineral oil is good but this is what I had on hand. I reached in slowly with one finger and could feel the egg. I was able to remove the soft shell egg leftovers without much effort from her vent The hen didn’t seem to mind.
Finally, after removing the softshell egg leftovers. she very soon after passed a soft shell egg. It was in deeper so I didn’t try to remove it, I feared it would break. I did try to run my finger around it as best I could without hurting her or busting the soft shell egg.
Blow drying our hen.
After treating our egg bound hen I had my boys spend time blow-drying her with our dryer. I read that a hen can become ill from shock so we made sure to not let her catch a chill. She then spent the night inside in a crate with food and water. The next day I watched her and slowly moved her from the house to cooler and cooler rooms before placing her outside with the rest of the flock.
Soft shell eggs?
This hen has not since laid a soft shell egg. I am guessing that this was a glitch in her laying cycle and hopefully it was a one-time thing. I know a primary cause of soft shell eggs is lack of calcium. However, my flock eats a layer feed and has access to crushed oyster shell for calcium. I’m hoping this was a fluke and I’m thankful she recovered. Like many other chicken owners, our girls and roosters are pets and would be a difficult loss. If I can help them recover I do.
Your thoughts? Have you also treated an egg bound hen? Please leave comments below to help others who may be in this situation and unsure what to do. Thank you for stopping by –