A couple weeks back, this poor Aracauna was trying so hard to lay her egg. She just sat in the nesting box and worked on it . . . all . . day . . .long. Poor gal. She was really huffing, and I was pretty worried about her, so we did some reading that evening and learned that she may be "egg bound." A condition more common in pullets, it basically means that for whatever reason she just can't seem to get her egg out. She's definitely our smallest chicken, and we've had some really large eggs lately, so I was concerned that she wasn't going to be able to get it out . . . without help.
That's when we read that it sometimes helps to apply some KY jelly to her "vent" (the opening where it all comes out down there) and feel for an egg with your finger. That's when we decided to give her another 30 minutes to try to work things out on her own. And then another 30 minutes.
And, then . . . yep, I donned those gloves and took care of business. John was very impressed.
We gave her another hour or so, and she still seemed to be in distress, in fact, maybe more distressed than she'd been before the whole "procedure." (Can you blame her?)
So, we decided it was time to give her a bath, which is supposed to help her relax so that things can progress. So, we held her in a warm bubble bath for 30 minutes. Actually, "we" is not exactly accurate. Those are actually John's hands in those purple gloves, holding the chicken still for 30 very-long minutes. He even let me take his picture as he was doing it. It was my turn to be impressed. I was there for moral encouragement, of course. In fact, MeeMee (John's grandmother) popped in and kept us company on the backporch, too. As I was walking her to the porch, I said, "MeeMee, you've had chickens. Did you ever have to give one a bath?" She just stopped walking, looked at me with dismay and exclaimed, "Heavens, no!" I decided not to tell her about the KY. ;)
It seems that bubble-bathing chickens is not exactly common practice. But, we were down to 4 laying hens at the time, and I was determined not to lose this one. Desperate times called for desperate measures.
Is it just me, or does she look pretty much the opposite of relaxed?
This all took place a couple of weeks ago. She never did lay that egg. In fact, she took a break. Until yesterday. And, she laid again today, so she may be back in business. According to our go-to chicken book, there are myriad reasons she may have taken her little laying hiatus.
Anyway, it seems she's recovered from whatever was ailing her and the shock of being so horribly violated.
In hindsight, we may have jumped the gun with the KY and bubbles, but it all turned out alright. We are, of course, novice farmers, just figuring this stuff out as we go. But, the journey is lots of fun, and this episode has provided us with lots of laughs already!