A Sick Chicken??

Asked May 30, 2013, 3:16 PM EDT

We thought our chicken got broody in the hot weather. She has not laid well for about a month now. She stopped laying for a time, but resumed with "shell-less" eggs a few times a week (no eggs on the other days)...but she did lay a couple normal eggs in the past month. During the hot weather she would sit on the nest quite a bit, but not all the time (though no eggs resulted)...we hoped the cool weather would return her to normal, but there seems to be no change. She and her coop-mate have the same diet (she is eating well), and the other chicken lays beautiful eggs daily...great, thick shells. They have properly formulated food with some free-range vegetation and bugs, plus oyster shell. We do not feed them table scraps. She shows no signs of being ill, and we cannot see any parasites on her...though her poop is very runny. She laid very well for about 7 months before this. She is too young to be "done" laying, and the shell-less eggs indicate she "still has it in her". I have attached a picture of a strange "double egg" she laid which looked like two shell-less eggs attached end to end. We are not sure if this is a "normal phase" or if she is sick. If we can restore her to laying, we would like to do so sooner rather than later. If she is not likely to improve, we would like to replace her sooner rather than later. Thank you very much for any help you can offer.

Marion County Oregon

3 Responses

I suspect that this condition is physical in nature, a problem with her oviduct (the photo is simply a couple of soft shelled eggs, laid early). She will probably end up, if she is not already, an internal layer. She will probably always have a problem, she may lay a few "good" eggs from time ti time,

If egg production is important it would probably be used to get another hen.

Thank you for your information.

I had never heard of internal laying before, so I went online to see what I could find out about it. From the sounds of it, there is really not much that can be done, and eventually the chicken will die. If that is the case, I would just as soon not postpone the inevitable and put her down before she is sick and miserable.

Am I correct in assuming that there is very little likelihood she is going to get better?

Also, this may not seem like a very sensitive question, but our chickens are not really pets, but food providers. Is it advisable that we dispose of her remains once she has been dispatched rather than use her for chicken and dumplings? It sounds like there is a good likelihood of infection, and I do not think we want to eat an infected chicken.

Thank you again for the information. It was disheartening, but valuable.
~Wendi Manthey

There is no treatment for internal egg laying. The egg yolks that are deposited into the abdomen of an internal layer become infected and I would not recommend eating the hen.