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I am a 50+ yr old stay at home wife of a scientist/Military man.  I raise chickens for eggs, rescue dogs & cats & spoil them all.  I am a silver/metal smith & stained glass artist.  I, at one time was an secondary art teacher & Social Studies teacher.  I am sorta a eclectic earth mother who recycles everything I can get my hands on.  Enjoy working with power tools & even built my own 10ft by 6ft chicken coop.  am pretty much interested in learning everything I can thur books, magazines & friends. I enjoy veggie gardening & doing gardens just for the chickens. I also sew & love making pioneer style comfortable clothes for myself & adding vintage lace when I can find it. I am pretty easygoing, but need my coffee first before I am ready to face the world & day.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Egg bound hen..VERY graphic so BEWARE

Hello to all my wonderful chicken friends!

Now those who have read my Blog know how much my 'kids' mean to me & how I will do everything possible to help them even if that means putting them down as gently as possible.

Before I go on I want you to know there is pictures here that may turn some tummys so if you have a tender tummy do not go on beyond this point.

Rosy is a brown leg horn hen I have had for at least 3+ years, she has been a great hen besides being a bit skiddish, she has always been a gentle hen who i have grown to love quite a bit.  Well this winter with our odd hot days & cold days she had a on going chest cold that I did steam treatments for, vicks, heating bottles & so on to try & help her through.  Well needless to say she has had a rough tome but seemed to be getting a bit better until about a week or so ago...

My Rosy girl

Her coughing got worst as did her breathing is she got stressed so I just watched her & tried to make sure she didn't have any sudden events happen to getting out of the door so CeeCee could chase her.

I have noticed her weight was getting higher whenever I picked her up & her tummy area seemed to getting a big I watched that as well....She hasn't laid any eggs in quite awhile but since the winter I wasn't worried cause I know the chest ailments might have stopped that.

but yesterday morning when I went to put them in the outside pin I noticed she was doing the feathers down to the ground & legs spread bit which is a sure sign of egg bound.  So instead of putting her out I kept her in the house & did an oil treatment...for those of you who don't know this, I take a needle-less syringe & fill it with mineral oil & gently place it up in her vent & shoot it at an upward & to the right angle...this helps prevent it from being poo'ed out as quickly & will help oil the areas for her to hopefully lay the egg.

I put hot water bottles under her & sat her in my old rocking chair with a sheet over it so it would be quiet & private for her.  I also did up a dish of feed with some warm water in it for her & sat that in front of her so she would not have to move to eat.  I left her alone for a good 2 hours then checked on her.  she had poo'ed but no egg so redid the oil treatment. All this time her tummy is getting larger so decided when Thomas came home to put her in a warm bath with his help...didn't need him cause she did not fight me, I gently pushed on her sides to help open up the vent to get water inside her so maybe she would pop out the egg...  After a good 15 minutes decided she had been in there long enough so took her out & wrapped her in a towel, added the hot water bottles inside the towel & let her rest.
After about 30 minutes she started coughing again so I went down & got her & held this time she was struggling to breathe so asked Thomas to get the Chroloform to end her suffering.  After she had passed I noticed her vent area had started to work its way outside her body.  So knew right then & there I had to do an autopsy the next day on her...being today

Now some of you would never do this but for me I have to know why or what happened so I can try later on to prevent it...its not pleasant & since I love my 'kids' I have to cover their heads when I do this.  I was shocked by the first cut, all this yellow nasty smelling stuff came out through her small cut...actually it poured out & I hadn't even gotten through the skin area yet.  Well by the time I gently & carefully cut her open I had a huge amount of light yellow mass like things that felt like boiled eggs or semi hard cheese in feel....

beware pictures are now coming up.

Vent area outside of body

last egg up inside her

this poor hen had so much inside her it tore open the lining that carries the eggs & the old eggs that never made it out  had spilled into her body.  these old eggs had turned into firm yellow masses & there was no way for any egg behind them to travel out.  I don't know why this happened but somehow these trapped eggs had locked themselves into the traveling tube & stayed there preventing her from moving the others as these masses blocked the areas.

I was gentle so not to tear up anything inside her so I could look to see if anything else might be wrong.  Her gizzard was healthy & the intestines were in good shape but I did notice a few air pockets that could have been caused by her struggling to breathe at times & may have swallowed too much air.  so even with all this inside her she was still able to eat & digest the food so that explains why she was not skin & bones  but I am surprised that with this much stuff inside her she could eat or want to eat...

Ok for what I have learned by this...If the tummy area is not a semi hard mass you can maybe save them but once it gets to this you should put them down....Her tummy area looked like what a duck looks like a flatter tummy area instead of the nice rounded area a hen should have....The mass I felt up inside her was the last egg pictured but there was no way I could have helped her work it out since she had torn the insides & had old rotten eggs all through her body...tell you how bad this was she had pushed some of the old eggs up over her back area trying to get them out.

For those who think you might still be able to eat the hen I wouldn't recommend it as this was all through the gut area & was spoiled/rotten which means it may have tainted the meat so better to bury/burn the chicken than eat it.  Thomas dug me a hole in the older chicken cematary so she has others around her & I feel better knowing I didn't just bury her anywhere.

I am very sad to have to put her down but am thankful I am strong enough to do it to end her suffering......I adore the leg horns that I have as they are good laying hens when they lay & have Xtra large white eggs & are fairly easy chickens to work with..from my experience that is.

Oh a nicer note, Bowzer is still laying on the 4 eggs I let her have from CeeCees hens & am hoping in another week or so to have at least one baby chick for her to mother.  She so wants to be broody I couldn't say no this time around for her...I think she will be a fine mother & can't wait to see how large the babies get since she is a tiny hen & they will be big chickens eventually.

Well I do hope you all have a wonderful chicken day & I have helped you in some way...Until next time...M'



  1. Sorry about your hen. What an interesting story. I had no idea this could happen to hens. It is hard to believe she had so much inside her.

  2. How terrible but how brave of you to figure it out. That's just something like what I would do. This was very informative for my future as a chicken mom. Thanks for the info.

  3. thank you ladies for your comments & I am so glad I was able to give you good information first hand on this..though i must admit it was not pleasant & I hate cutting into one of my kids... I am so amazed at the amount she had in her & to be able to survive as long as she did...I was blessed to have her as part of the family for the years I had her thats for sure.....again thank you for the comments...M'

  4. I am so sorry about Rosy. I can tell you loved her. You are some kind of farm woman. Thanks for posting.