Egg Binding in Birds

Egg Binding in Birds - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Depression / Lethargy / Paralysis / Swollen Abdomen / Weakness

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Rated as mild conditon

3 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Depression / Lethargy / Paralysis / Swollen Abdomen / Weakness

Egg Binding in Birds - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What is Egg Binding?

In many instances, a bird may be unable to expel the egg due to lack of contractions or weak contractions from inadequate calcium intake. If you have been feeding your bird seeds only, with no other supplements, you will need to administer vitamins right away. However, it is best to let the veterinarian tell you what amount of vitamins to give her. The complications of egg binding include damage to the kidneys from pressure of the retained egg, peritonitis from a ruptured egg, and prolapse of the cloaca or reproductive tract. It is important to get your bird to the veterinarian if you believe she is egg bound.

Egg binding in birds is a common but possibly life threatening condition in which a bird is having a hard time laying an egg. It is more common in small birds such as canaries, finches, parakeets, budgies, lovebirds, and cockatiels, but the most common reason for egg binding is a lack of calcium or other vitamins. It is also more often seen in birds that are already ill or have other health issues such as advanced age, lack of exercise, and obesity. Another risk factor is inadequate environmental conditions such as not enough nesting materials, too cold or hot, and not enough water or feed.

Symptoms of Egg Binding in Birds

In all birds, the symptoms can vary, especially with the cause of the condition. However, the most often reported signs of egg binding include:

  • Tail wagging or bobbing
  • Straining
  • Visibly swollen abdomen
  • Fluffed up appearance
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Inability to balance on perch
  • Paralysis of a leg or lameness
  • Weakness
  • Decreased or absent droppings
  • All white droppings
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Depression
  • Sitting at bottom of cage
  • Death

 Types

Egg binding in birds is sometimes referred to as:

  • Post-ovulatory stasis
  • Impacted oviducts
  • Egg retention
  • Dystocia
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Causes of Egg Binding in Birds

  • Physical deformity of the reproductive system
  • Lack of calcium or other vitamins such as selenium, vitamin E, vitamin A, or protein are at higher risk
  • Infection
  • Trauma
  • Inadequate nesting area
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive egg laying
  • Obesity
  • Stress from overcrowding or unsanitary living conditions
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smaller birds like canaries, finches, budgerigars, lovebirds, and cockatiels
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Diagnosis of Egg Binding in Birds

The veterinarian will usually be able to feel the egg with palpation and see the distended abdomen. A complete physical examination will include checking the eyes, skin, beak, feet, weight, comb, nares, feathers, breast, crop, wings, glands, and vent. The most essential diagnostic procedure is radiographs (x-rays) because most eggs contain a large amount of calcium and will show up nicely. However, if the x-rays are inconclusive, an ultrasound may be done. In addition, a CBC, plasma biochemical profile, and ionized and total calcium levels should be checked.

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Cannanine

Treatment of Egg Binding in Birds

Egg binding requires immediate emergency care by an experienced avian veterinary professional. Immediate warming and fluids are usually needed in these cases. Other treatments may include an intraosseous catheter to administer fluids if she is in shock, medication to help induce muscle contractions, deflating the egg while it is inside the uterus (Ovocentesis), manually expelling the egg, or surgical removal of the egg.

Warming and Fluids

The veterinarian will immediately check your hen’s body temperature and place her in an area specifically kept at 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit to increase her body temperature. Fluids will be given by injection or with an intraosseous catheter to reduce the chance of shock or dehydration.

Medication

The veterinarian may decide that your bird needs a calcium injection or another medication that promotes contractions such as oxytocin, prostaglandin, or arginine vasotocin. Another option is to apply prostaglandin gel rather than an injection. Antibiotics to reduce the chance of infection and steroids to help with pain may also be beneficial.

Ovocentesis

If the veterinarian is unable to get your bird to lay the egg herself and she is in distress, an ovocentesis will be performed. This is done by inserting a syringe into the egg to remove the contents. Once the egg is smaller, your hen should be able to pass the egg with no problem. Lubrication will be applied to help with this process.  

Removing the Egg

If your bird is unable to expel the egg herself, the veterinarian will try to remove it by applying lubrication and gently trying to ease it out. If this does not work, the veterinarian will have to surgically remove the egg.

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Recovery of Egg Binding in Birds

Once your hen has laid the egg, you should try to keep her in a cage by herself to recover. This is especially important if your bird had to undergo surgical removal of the egg. Continue to monitor her daily to check for complications and call the veterinarian if you suspect anything is wrong. Be sure to provide a healthy diet and fresh water for your bird on a daily basis.

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Egg Binding Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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parakeet

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Possibly Egg Bound

my parakeet is trying to lay an egg but it looks like it is stuck with her vent area hanging out i can't get to a vet until tomorrow how long can she be like this and survive

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If you are able to get your parakeet seen before tomorrow morning, that would probably be better, As that is a very stressful situation for her to be in. I can't say for sure how long she will survive, as every bird is different, but having her seen sooner rather than later would be better. I hope that all goes well.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Cockatiel

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Limping

It's a female. She doesn't have a mate. She often lays eggs. She is active, but she is limping. I don't find any injury outside. Why does she limp?

July 14, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello So sorry to hear that your cockatiel is limping. She may have gotten her foot stuck in the bars or the floor of the cage. It is recommended that you take her to a veterinarian for an exam and x-rays to check out her leg. Also, if she doesn't have a mate, she shouldn't be laying eggs. Is she on a seed diet? If so, please discuss with your vet about transitioning her to a pellet diet. Good luck.

July 14, 2020

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chicken

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Sexlink

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16 Months

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

My hen had an egg hatch inside her. She had problems for quite a while I took her in to wash her backside and noticed she was trying to (I thought) poop. What I saw was a deformed leg. I pulled it out and a hairless deformed chick came out. I washed her some more. but she even looked better. I put her back in the pen. Should I have her somewhere else? Have you heard pf this before?

July 26, 2018

chicken's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Egg binding is caused by a few different causes with nutrition being a predisposing factor, if this is the case where a retained egg has broken/hatched then you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination (there may have been some abdominal laying) and for supportive and symptomatic treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2018

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Silvia

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Rainbow Lorikeet

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4 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Feather Plucking
Loose Vent
Timidness

My four year old lorikeet laid her second egg three days ago. She had a lot of trouble getting the egg out and she was bleeding from her vent. Today the vent is not bleeding but she is not pooping right. It is getting on her tail. She also has plucked the feathers around the vent.

May 23, 2018

Silvia's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Silvia may be egg bound, and should be seen by a veterinarian. They'll be able to examine her, determine what might be going on, and give her any needed treatment.

May 23, 2018

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White Fang

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Budgerigar

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1 Year

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Abdomen

she layed her 1 egg about 1 to 2 months earlier and second exactly 1 months old. now she gave third egg the day before yesterday. she has mated perfectly but the male is sitting on her. IS SHE EGG-BOUND. WILL SHE DIE. WILL SHE LAY HER 4th EGG......HELO,HELP,HELP...

April 7, 2018

White Fang's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

Without examining White Fang I cannot determine whether or not she is suffering from egg binding, you may be able to palpate the egg but most of the time the symptoms are depression, sitting on the bottom of the cage, difficulty defecating and bulging of the vent. Birds can die from this and you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination and an x-ray to be on the safe side, especially since you’re seeing bulging. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 7, 2018

My budgie is eggbound. However I can't take her to the vet until tomorrow. Will she make it that long?

July 24, 2018

Unfunny

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Dodo

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Lovebird

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6 Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weakness
Sleepy
Fluffed Up Feathers
Light Weight
Watery Droppings
Green Droppings After Taking Meds

(All are lovebirds) I received a gift bird named Blue who was sick. I took him to the vet. He was diagnosed with Salmonella. I gave him the meds. He lived for 2 weeks. However, he did not make it farther. Unfortunately, Blue got in contact with another bird I own named Mimi. Mimi also had 2 other siblings who she always stays with. Mimi suddenly started experiencing weakness 2 weeks after Blue's death. I took her to the same vet. The vet diagnosed her with Salmonella just like Blue. The same meds were prescribed but he suggested giving my birds a mix of water, lemon, and honey as well. One day after, Mimi started puking and dropping blood. She died the next day. Mimi's sibling Dodo started having the symptoms added here 1 month after Mimi's death. I took to her to vet and the vet said the same thing. Salmonella. I do NOT trust this vet. Unfortunately, he is the only currently available vet where I live. Mimi and Dodo have another sibling named Yoyo. However, he seems to be doing just fine. Please help, I cannot afford to lose another one of my birds. I'm very terrified and it's going to be a tragedy.

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sindy

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Budgie

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Blood On Tail Feathers And Chest

My female budgie has laid 2 eggs and has been sitting in the nest box for approx 12-15 days now.I went to check on them now and discovered blood on the perches. The blood seems to be on her chest under the beak and around her tail feathers. What could have caused this. When i opened her nest box she flew out and is now sitting with the male on a perch and has not gone back to the nest now for about 2 hours. If she abandons her eggs can they be put under a love bird which is sitting on infertile eggs?She seems ok i just do not know what happened.

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Beanie

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Bird

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22 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weakness

I'm curious what the care should be for a Umbrella Cockatoo that the egg had to be surgically removed, and the bird had not pottied since 3 days prior, and has yet to do so a day after other than a bit of dripping as it was doing before. Would that not be an alarming scenario? Especially if it won't drink, is listless, & puffed up.

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cheep

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finch

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1 Year

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Sleepy
Inactive
Fluffed Up,
Tail On Angle
Straining

My zebra finch was eg bound a week ago, she passed half a deformed egg nd then (i think) the rest the next day. its now been a week and she is still showing symptoms, her vent is not enlarged (as if there was an egg in there) and she has been passing droppings regularly, although the last day shes had watery urates. ive been giving her heat and calcium daily and ive tried warm baths but she does not seem to be improving since she laid the last part of the egg.

Cannanine