Sunday, January 31, 2010

Chickens- Egg Binding- Warning Graphic Picture of egg below

Winter has been going pretty smooth. Well so I thought. 3 Mornings ago I went and checked on the chickens before I left to go grocery shopping. It had just started dropping back down to the single digits so even though I seen that Big Red was Fluffed up and Standing With both feet down just looking a little uncomfortable I thought maybe it was from the cold. And people normally tell me I am making something out of nothing so I left her alone. The next day John let them out of the coop around 1pm. It was cold out ( Like 5 Degress ) and I didn't want anyone else getting frost bit. So we had left them in part of the day. Most of the chickens wondered out including Big Red. John ran into the house. I was napping. He woke me up saying there is white fluid coming from Big Reds Vent. So I got dressed and ran outside knowing before I even seen it what the problem was.

She was depressed, Fluffed out, not eating or drinking, Standing on both feet, not moving around much, but every few minutes she would strain and try to lay her egg.

So freaking out because this was our first trouble other then Frost bite. I was a little worried. We didn't know exactly what we were doing. I called the vet who said she would she chickens but she was out for the weekend. I called every where. Luckily the last place i called had an exotics vet who said she would see her. She deals with parrots and such so. I thought we had a good chance.

I read my chicken health handbook. And spoke with a large animal vet who said to see if we could puncture and pull out the egg. So as brave as I am I was afraid of hurting her and so I sent John in to do the dirty work :)

It is funny how far he has come since we first got together. He liked animals then but he wasn't a vegetarian. he had never thought about being. He hadn't really been around many animals and didn't really know that much about them. I on the other hand was a vegetarian, which he Didn't hold against me :) and I know a good bit about animals. Over the years he has become so interested and has learned so much. Its really awesome!

Anyways, I John put on the glove and put some oil on his finger and went in... He was in the Cloaca and felt around. He could move something but because it felt fleshy he thought it was part of her. So he brought some yolk back out with he but no egg. This worried me a little. I wondered if the egg was further up then it was supposed to be.

The vet couldn't see us till 4pm. It was around 2pm. Checked on her again and she was straining to lay her egg. A bubble of flesh, part of her cloaca was starting to come out from all the straining. So I called the Vet back and asked if we could come straight in. We live about an hour away. So we still didn't make it there till about 3:30pm. She was really good in the kennel. She did strain a few times on the way there. The vet, Dr. Linner came in and brought the "egg" right out. It didn't really look like an egg. It looked fleshy maybe even a little cooked. Big Red looked relieved as soon as the vet pulled the egg out. She was happy again. Dr. Linner gave Big Red a shot of Antibiotics because she was not sure how long the egg had been stuck. She also said she was kind thin. Which really surprised me because we have feeders out at all times. But a few months ago I had changed from crumbles to pellets. She also told me to make sure she gets more Calcium which I already knew. The Dr was really nice and was alot of help! If this ever happens again and I catch it quick I think we should be able to fix it. But I will probably go to the vet to make sure everything is alright.

O' yeah. she also told me to watch for shock. Because after the stress she could get shocky. Don't put her in with the chickens for a couple days so they don't pick on her and put a little source of heat in their coop. It shouldn't hurt them.

When we left the vet John put straw and food in the kennel and she started eating again. Right away just like nothing had ever happened. She also was drinking a ton of water from a paper cup John had cut down for her.

We came home that evening and put some light bulbs in the coop for heat. It is surprising that 2- 100 watt light bulbs can keep the coop warm enough to not totally freeze the water when it is 1 degrees outside. So they do put of a good amount of heat. I might add a third though. The chickens seem alot happier and stay in the coop even when the door is open.

We have switched them back to crumbles and they have been eating a ton. I also added some more Shell to their diets so that hopefully this doesn't happen again.

Because she was doing so well and because the temperature was supposed to fall and stay cold for the next couple weeks we did put her back into the coop the night be brought her home. The other chickens did not mess with her. But we did check on her about once every hour to make sure she was doing good and no one way picking on her. She showed no Shock symptoms. The swelling that was around her vent was totally gone by the time we placed her into the coop as well.

But Big Red is back to her normal self. and this morning I even found a fresh egg in the coop. I was hoping her body would hold off making eggs for a few days But... I guess her system is back to normal. and I am so happy that everything worked out so great!

Egg Binding


Anytime a chicken or any bird for that matter has its feathers all fluffed out and is standing still on both feet something might be wrong. So this is a definite sign of alot of things.

not eating or drinking
Staining to lay an egg- If you know anything about chickens you will know the sound they make when they are trying to lay. They will also kinda squat down and blink their eyes.
Fluid coming from the vent.

In Big Reds case her egg didn't appear to have a shell. So her case was different then most.

If their is a vet you can go to take your chicken there. If not there are a ton of sites to help you through trying to remove the egg. I would write about it. But I feel for the first timers that you should have someone experienced show you how its done. This way you do not hurt your birds. Because a shell is sharp and can do damage if it is not taken out carefully. So look up Egg bound or Egg Binding. There are also other conditions that can cause an egg to get stuck.. Some of these will need a vet. Prolapsed oviduct, false layers, internal layers, Salpingitis, tumors, etc are all things that could be wrong. So do some research about chickens before you bring them home. Vet cost for this visit... was a lucky $44.08 but the look of relief on Big Reds face: Priceless :)

This Chicken Health Handbook has alot of information!

Warning: Graphic Picture Below

This is what it looks like. It has been frozen for 2 days so it doesn't look as felshy as it did. But it really did just look like thick flesh that had been peeled off in the shape of an egg and it really doesn't smell good at all. If you wasn't vegan before you might be one step closer thanks to this picture.. :) I wish I would have gotten a picture before I froze it! I might have to let it de thaw and take another picture later....

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