Egg Bound

A book that has guided me in figuring out chicken diseases is called The Chicken Health Handbook, by Gail Damerow.

My New Jersey Giant, Opal, died from being Egg Bound. This is when an eggs gets stuck or cracks in the oviduct, which stops other eggs from laying, and builds up, creating a bulge in the bottom of the hen under the vent. I dissected Opal and found over thirty rotten soft full size eggs all throughout her body. And in such an extreme case a hers, the best thing to do is put her out of her misery. But Opal died before I could luckily. But it is not always fatal.

Here is a way to treat it if you catch it early enough: 
"Moist heat is considered the safest remedy for egg binding in chickens. Put the hen in a cage with a wire floor. Place a large, flat pan of steaming water beneath the cage. Keep the water warm under her, but don’t keep it so hot that the steam burns her. Provide some overhead heat from a heat lamp, and enclose the whole cage with a blanket or plastic to keep the moist heat in. Make sure it doesn’t get too hot, however. A thermometer can be used to keep the heat between 90 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Water should be available at all times for the hen to drink.The hen should pass the egg in a couple hours with this treatment. If you see an egg, she should have perked up and will be ready to be removed from the cage. If no egg has passed but she seems more active and will eat, you probably misdiagnosed her, " 
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-treat-egg-binding-in-chickens.html ).

You can also put your hen in a sink or tub and fill it with a few inches of warm water (as hot as you would want it while taking a shower) for 20-30 minutes at a time. My hen, Edith, liked it a lot. It was probably more relaxing than being in the wire cage. But you also have to be with her the whole time, making sure to keep the water warm. If the egg doesn't pass through then try again later. You will also need to dry her completely before putting her back outside. I used my blow dryer and she loved it! (Be sure not to get it too close so it doesn't burn her.)

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