4/30 Update: Despite several warm baths and one attempt, by me, to make tactile sense of what’s on the nether side of a chicken’s vent, our chicken remains the same. If there’s no change tomorrow, we may have to take that most drastic of measures. Thank you for all your good wishes, and for the very sound advice.
One of our chickens is sick.
We’re almost certain that she’s egg-bound. Her vent is swollen, and she sits in the nest box, trying to pass the egg. Her comb is droopy, she’s lethargic and slow-moving. She’s not eating much.
We’ve read that the best thing to do for an egg-bound chicken is to give her a warm bath. That helps the tissue soften and the muscles relax, and helps her get the egg out of her system. Yesterday, that’s what we did.
This morning, she’s no better.
Some chicken people advise palpating the abdomen or trying to remove the egg by breaking it and taking the pieces out. Others say that’s a recipe for peritonitis.
Feeding the chicken oil is another strategy, and I’m going to make her a bowl of oatmeal with olive oil. I’ll give her another bath. If these don’t work in the next day or two, we may have to put her out of her misery.
And, as best I can tell, she is miserable. It’s hard to watch a creature in your care suffer. While I don’t relish the idea of sending her to the Cone of Silence, I’d rather see her die a quiet death at my hand than wait to let her die, in pain, of her own accord.