Egg Binding

Hen Egg Laying Diagram
Hen Egg Laying Diagram

A hen lays one egg roughly every 25 hours and normally the yolk is produced and drops into the infundibulum, staying there for 15 minutes before passing down to the magnum. The yolk stays in the magnum for three hours where the white is secreted.

The egg passes into the isthmus and is here for one hour while two membranes form around it. It then spends the next 24 hours in the uterus where the egg shell is formed before being laid via the vagina and exits the vent.

Failure to pass the egg from the shell gland to the vent is referred to as Egg Binding (Dystocia) or more commonly as a hen being Egg Bound.


  • Excessive time in nest box.
  • Tail pumping (repetitive tail bobbing).
  • Lethargy.
  • Failure to produce eggs.
  • Apparent straining.
  • Sudden onset of the above.


  • Failure to pass from the shell gland to the vent.
  • Mechanical obstruction, tumours and nutritional deficiencies as well as oversized eggs can all cause dystocia.


Note that this home remedy is not intended to offer a cure or replace veterinary treatment, but may alleviate symptoms where no professional support is easily available. The suggestions are based on experience gained with our own hens.
  • A warm bath followed by a lubricant such as Vaseline placed just inside and around the vent may help the hen to pass the egg.
  • Place her in a dark secluded place to nest away from other birds.
  • Seek urgent veterinary help if the hen is still unable to lay the egg and is showing signs of distress.


  • Avoid disruption to the normal daily routine.
  • Feed the correct feed for your hens nutritional needs, we recommend the Small Holder Range of products for good shell quality.