The trouble with Haley.

This post is not for the weak of stomach. You know who you are. What is seen cannot be unseen.

Those of you who follow Heedley’ Hens Facebook Page will know that I was very worried about Haley last night at bedtime. While all of 1.0 and 2.0 were panting and holding out their wings at roost time, Haley was exhibiting more serious symptoms. More serious, even then the heavy, feather-footed Brahmas, who generally suffer first and most.

She’d made her way up onto the roosts; her wings were out from her body, but not tucked up. like the other girls. Her wingtips were hanging down to past her feet. Her eyes were closed. She wasn’t panting like the other girls; her beak was closed, but her chest was heaving with the effort of breathing.

I tried to bring her closer to the fan, and to get her to drink, as the other girls were all doing, but she struggled away from me. I began to be truly concerned when a trickle of watery yolk and egg came from her vent. I’m no expert, but this looked bad.

Haley hasn’t laid a proper egg in a very long time. She has been laying these monstrous egg-like messes, with no shell, sometimes in a nesting box, more often, on the floor somewhere. You can catch up here.

I have to assume that what ever she’s going through inside was making it harder for her to bear the heat than her sisters. I wasn’t sure she was going to make it through the night, and went to bed prepared to let Mother Nature do what she had to do. Our chickens are more livestock than pets.

When I opened up the run this morning, I held my breath. Haley came out with Hermione, looking herself. She began to pasture as soon as she got out, but something didn’t seem right. She stayed very close to the run, letting her sisters fan out without her, and she just seemed…off.

She’s more with it now, but I found this on the barn floor:

You were warned.

This is as substantial as Haley’s eggs get these days. There is a rubbery outer coating, almost like the white of a poached egg, and some liquid in the center. The dark patch, which just looks like fecal matter in real life, looks much more sinister magnified.



9 thoughts on “The trouble with Haley.

  1. I would have taken your chickens for more pets than livestock :P

    I have a buff orp that has been suffering from egg laying issues. I know what you’re going through. My girl Olive had a triple yolker that broke inside her a week and a half ago. Her vent was really large and red. She laid a normal egg the day after. This past Sunday she had another large egg (double yolker this time) that also broke inside her vent. Each time I brought her in and soaked her in my laundry room sink. Gloves and Vaseline helped me remove all the egg shells slowly. They broke right in front of me.

    After the last one, she is on a sunshine diet. Only 7 hours of light a day. I need her to heal before getting her egg machine running again. So far so good. No eggs, no struggle. She’s feeling better every day.

    I’ve read many tips on treating this. Yoghurt, egg shells, ACV, and scrambled eggs are some of the ones I’ve tried. On top of the oyster shell she won’t touch.

    Her egg shells are a bit brittle, but they are not shell-less eggs. They are just really, really big.

    Egg binding is very serious though. It can be deadly if not treated in time.

    I find they really love the yoghurt treatment.

    • Thank you so much for the benefit of your experience. I’m taking all ideas at this point! The girls have ACV in their water, they get egg shells regularly, as well as scrambled eggs, organic milk, and lots of seriously green leafy veggies full of calcium. Thing is…it’s only Haley, and they all have the same diet.

      I was just reading about restricting light to halt laying and it may come to that. It would just be so brutal, though. I guess I could put her in Buffy’s crate and cover it…poor thing.

      • Well Olive goes in a daze when put in her crate. You know how they get when they can’t see. I bring her in the garage and she goes right in, so it’s not too awful for her. She gets out at 1:30 and has until roost to be with her flock.

        I’m thinking she ‘may’ have laid today. Judging from the shape/colour it’s either her or my Rhode Island Red hen.. I sure hope it’s the latter..

        At least Haley’s eggs aren’t breaking inside of her. Egg shells can really cut those sensitive areas. That’s why I mentioned I’m giving her time to heal. There was blood and swelling. She’s on the mend though, and feeling 90% her regular self.

        It could be the heat for her.

        “What causes soft-shelled eggs?
        They may be the result of diseased organs of reproduction and especially of the oviduct.

        **Note this part*** Excessively fat hens are liable to lay soft-shelled eggs when the layers of fat are so abundant as to force the egg out before it can receive a sufficient coating of shell.

        Heavy laying birds are also thus afflicted, by reason of the egg passages being weakened by continual strain and not being able to retain an egg after the shell begins to harden.”

        Could also be the reason Olive is laying them.. She is very large.. :/

    • Oh, MY. Haley is average sized, even a little thin. I’ve been worried my girls might be on the thin side lately, but that could just be summer. I am VERY grateful this isn’t an eggbound situation. She doesn’t seem to be ale to produce shells at all. I am going to give her a little longer, say, until Buffy runs the course of being broody and releases that crate, and then try the sunshine diet.

      Poor Haley. She does seem more herself today, now that the heat has broken.

      • Haley is one of your prodcution reds. I should have figured that out before saying the weight thing. They rarely have issues with weight.

        If you think they look thin lately, it could be worms. I know I keep mentioning that, but worms also create issues with shell-less eggs.

      • I did treat them with cayenne pepper, and I am really dreading going the whole Wazine route and losing two weeks worth of eggs. Have you ever used Wazine? Can I dose an individual chicken?

      • You can. Separate and mix with food. Remove anything uneaten. I use piperzine, and only do it in the fall when they are moulting, or on individual chickens.

      • Yes, I was planning to do 1.0 in the fall when they hit their first molt, but am concerned that Haley might not make it. I am also hoping the molt will reboot Trixie’s eggmaker. With two broodies and two eggmakers on the fritz, and Alexia laying smalls, a perfect egg day is now five. Out of TEN!!! Grrr.

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