Tag: egg bound

The Chicken Chronicles

I have to begin this week’s post with some unfortunate news.  For those of you who know my wife, I would ask that you not talk about this around her.  She is still taking it a bit rough.  We lost our first hen last week.  Snow White had become egg bound, and to make a long story short, she died from it.  Believe me, there is more to it, which is why my wife is not keen on discussing it, but it ws a good lesson for us.  In the future any hen who gets egg bound more than a couple of times in their first year of laying will be removed from the flock.  It seems this is a strong sign that there is something physically wrong with the hen, which ended up being the problem with Snow White.  This is why I want to add one or two birds a year to the flock though.

Speaking of new birds, the Welsummers are coming along nicely, and they are spending most of their days outside now except when the weather is bad.  They are loving it.  We still haven’t mixed them in with the rest of the flock yet, as we are wanting them to grow some more first.  In fact, I hope to make a make-shift small henhouse for them today so they can stay outside more, but still in their own cage.

Egg-laying is coming along nicely, and even with the reduction of one laying bird, we are still keeping up with our typical totals of 49 eggs per week or 5.44 eggs per bird per week.  I can’t wait to see that number go up when the Welsummers start laying.

Speaking of the Welsummers, how about a picture?

Aren’t they getting big?  It seems we bought them around the first of March, so they are nearing eight weeks old.  Lately they have been trying to establish their pecking order – it is almost like watching a bunch of teenage boys.  😀

The Chicken Chronicles

I am not sure the ladies knew what was coming when the cold spell hit this week.  While they were protected in their coop, I am pretty sure this is the look Charity got this morning when she opened their door to the run:

Thankfully they are protected from the wind, and if you ever wonder how they handle the cold, just place your hand between two of them on the roosting bar.  It is nice and warm!

Despite the shorter days and cold weather, these hens are still laying, and I couldn’t be happier, though I am still expecting a slow down to come any time now.  This week they laid a total of 46 eggs, with the Rhode Island Reds outdoing the Easter Eggers, 25 to 21.

We also had an egg-bound hen again this week, and it was the SAME HEN, Snow White!  I am not sure what is up with her, but I think she must not be getting enough calcium.  Charity and the boys were able to give her calcium dissolved in water, and within 5 minutes out popped the egg!  That happened the first time too, so it seems that is pretty fast acting.  It’s funny, this is the hen most reluctant to let us hold her, but when she is egg bound, we hold her to calm her down.  Perhaps that is what she is after all along, but doesn’t want to admit it.  😀

The Chicken Chronicles

Whew, last week was a whirlwind.  So much so that I never even got around to sharing the record the ladies set last week.  Can you believe they jumped up to 48 eggs‽  That is nine more than their previous week!  Unfortunately, they didn’t hold that kind of record again this week.  Even so, they still produced 43 eggs, which is nothing to sneeze at!

The big event for the chickens this week is that I had one of the ladies who was egg bound.  I am glad this happened while I was home.  I first read up on it on Backyard Chickens and The Chicken Chick.  My initial plan was to let it go for a bit and see if she laid the egg, but after further reading I decided the best time to act was now.  SIGH.

I began by just holding her and trying to calm her down.  She quickly seemed comfortable in my arms as I felt her abdomen to see if I could feel an egg, and indeed I could.  I had one of my boys begin to mix some oyster shells with water, which we would then give to her with a syringe to increase her calcium.  It seem this is one of the causes of a hen being egg bound, as calcium is necessary for contracting muscles.

While my oldest son was helping me with this, my youngest son was filling our bathtub with warm water to give the hen a warm bath.  As crazy as this sounds it helps the hen relax, which often helps them expel the egg.  As I walked toward the house to give her the bath, out popped the egg along with a second one that was not yet fully formed!

I carried her down to the hen house, and after setting her in there she seemed to need a few minutes to recooperate.  Later in the evening she seemed back to normal – potential catastrophe averted.

Had the calcium and bath not worked, things would have gotten more interesting, as we would have had to put mineral oil on her vent.  The problem is not just that she wasn’t laying her egg, but for chickens the vent the egg comes out of is also the vent they defecate from.  In other words, this animal that normally poops every twenty minutes couldn’t go at all.  Ultimately, in the absense of fixing this, she would have likely been dead in a couple of days.

I guess I can now add this to my resume.  😀