Egg-Binding: What Is It and How To Treat It

by Backyard Chicken Coops August 26, 2014

Egg bound chicken being checked by a farmer

Sometimes things don’t go exactly to plan during the egg-laying process. Despite the hens best efforts, the egg can sometimes become stuck inside her while it's travelling inside the oviduct. This issue is known as egg-binding.

Egg-binding is not particularly pleasant for anyone involved, and if not treated quickly, can unfortunately have fatal results.

What causes it?

There are a number of causes as to why your chicken may become egg-bound:

  • A lack of calcium or other nutritional issues- overweight chickens are also at risk.

  • If the egg being laid is unusually large or oddly shaped.

  • An infection in the oviduct.

  • If the hen is laying eggs prematurely, before her body is fully developed.

  • The hen retaining the egg (due to a lack of nesting boxes/safe place to lay the egg).

What are the symptoms of egg-binding?

If you’ve noticed the following symptoms,

  • A loss of appetite, and/or disinterest in drinking.

  • Irregular walking pattern

  • Sitting frequently

  • Shaking

  • Not excreting any fecal matter, or excreting very wet fecal matter.

Then your hen may be egg-bound. You can assess further whether this is the case by very gently feeling around a hens vent and abdomen. You should be able to feel the egg stuck inside.

What do I do if my hen is egg-bound?

  • The first thing you should do is give them a dose of calcium through vitamins, electrolytes or in liquid form.

  • Gently lower them into a warm bath for around 15-20 minutes.

  • Gently massage the chickens abdomen.

  • Put her in a small, dark, quiet space so she is as comfortable as possible to lay the egg.

If none of these options work and she hasn’t laid the egg within the hour, then a simple phone call to your vet is required. This way they can assess the situation and have your hen happy and healthy in no time.

How can I prevent egg-binding in my hens?

There are a number of ways you can do your best to prevent egg-binding in your flock, which involve making a few simple changes to their feed and their environment.

  • Ensure that any young hens who aren’t ready to lay eggs aren’t exposed to artificial light. This can cause the hens to start laying eggs before they are physically meant to.

  • Ensure that your hens are receiving layer feed - this feed has been formulated specifically to meet the nutritional needs of laying hens.

  • Add shell-grit to your chickens diet to give them a calcium boost.

  • Don’t give your chickens too many treats- especially when the weather is hot!

If hens don’t have a safe, comfortable environment to lay eggs in, their chances of becoming egg-bound increase, as she might try and retain the egg. So having a chicken coop with ample nesting box space is essential to keep them laying as normal! All of our coops are designed to keep the hens healthy and happy - and ensures they have a private place to comfortably lay.

Sources and further reading




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