So, a couple of days ago we got a mammoth egg from one of our chooks. 110g in fact!
And that egg, as we suspected, was a "double yolker", seen here for breakfast:
Though we didn't know which hen laid the mammoth egg, we might now after yesterday's events...
Mavis was looking a bit worse for wear for a couple of days. First signs were that she was very fluffed up and looking fatter than usual. The more obvious sign that something sinister was up was that when a bowl full of delicious grated carrot was tossed into the pen, unlike her sisters, Mavis decided that sitting on the food was far more appealing than scratching around and eating it... like a normal chook would do.
So a little amateur Google diagnosis led us to believe she may be "egg bound". This means the poor hen may have an egg stuck inside that she is having trouble passing. Among other reasons, it can happen when she is laying over large eggs... Oops!
Some of the signs are:
- That she is restless and visiting the nest often but not producing.
- She will appear a little "swollen" or a bit lopsided, and may look like she is having trouble walking.
- After a while she may become very lethargic, as no doubt trying to pass an egg that won't come will really take it out of you!
- She may go off her food or drink also.
And Mavis was displaying all of the above. So what do you do about it?
Well... To start with, we had a feel around her abdomen for any hard egg like lumps. Unsure. Then it's recommended you warm her up and relax the muscles around the cloaca (vent the egg comes out of). To do this we opted for a warm bath... not the salts and scented candles type, but for a chook I'm sure it would be equally enjoyable. If the chook is indeed egg bound it's likely she will nestle down into the warm water herself. If not, and she is just ill, she'll probably stay standing in the water looking at you wondering "why the devil have you just submerged my bottom half, you crazy human?" Fair enough. But Mavis nestled immediately.
If you're lucky, the chook may relax enough to lay the egg herself right there in the water. If not, and we weren't, you may need to do a little coaxing; have a feel for the egg and push it down to help her along... Yep. That meant some olive oil on a well lubricated finger and pop! In it goes! Though, like I said before, we're amateurs, so we didn't really know what we were feeling for, but nothing felt like an egg. So last resort was to give the vet a call for some advice.
Unfortunately, it wasn't necessary, as poor Mavis passed on mid phone call... with my finger up her bottom! I suppose it was a fairly decent way to go though, a nice warm bath and a little anal stimulation. I'd be happy with that.