Egg binding

What is egg binding? Egg binding is a serious condition that can occur in female birds when an egg gets stuck in the oviduct and she is unable to pass it. This can cause damage to internal tissue, bleeding, infection, prolapse, and even death. If you think your bird may have a stuck egg, please take her to a vet as soon as possible.  When eggs pass through the vent, the passage to the intestines is blocked off to prevent contamination so quick action must be taken if a bird is egg bound as they can die within 24-48 hours if she can’t defecate.

What are the symptoms of egg binding? No interest in eating or drinking, abdominal straining, depression, pale face, comb, and wattles, hard abdomen, walking like a penguin, watery faeces or no faeces at all along with a full crop and going in and out of a nesting box repeatedly without laying. 

What are the causes of egg binding?

1. Low calcium levels – If a bird is low in calcium she will not be able to produce a hard shell. If the egg is soft it is unable to move through the oviduct as easily. Calcium also plays a role in the contractions of the oviduct and shell gland so if she is calcium deficient, the muscles won’t contract as well to expel the egg.

2. Malnutrition and a poor diet – Birds low in Vitamin D3, magnesium and phosphorus have trouble making the calcium in their bodies usable.

3. Large or misshapen eggs – These types of eggs are harder to pass through the oviduct and can result in eggs backing in on each other and becoming stuck.

4. A sedentary lifestyle and obesity – Birds that have too much fat in their abdomen or a lack of muscle tone will have trouble passing eggs.

5. Dehydration – Dehydration can dry out the oviduct, making it harder for eggs to slide through properly.

6. Illness – Any health issue affecting the oviduct or other body systems can result in abnormal eggs or weakness leading to egg binding.

What is the treatment for egg binding? At the clinic, the vet will remove the egg/s that have become stuck in the oviduct. Depending on the situation, this may be done while the bird is awake or under a general anaesthetic and surgery may be required to remove the egg. Calcium supplements and hormone therapy may be started after egg removal. The hormone implant is inserted under the skin on the back. This implant functions to stop the bird from laying eggs for 3-12 months to give the birds reproductive system a break.