For the past year or so we have had 7 chooks (one of our 8 having died from unknown causes). Happily they have scratched in the garden, and chased the dog for her bones, and followed me round as I tend our veges. And, every day they have given us a bounty of beautiful eggs.
Until....a few days ago one sat at the bottom of their house, feathers all fluffed up and looking sickly.
I checked her over, very compliant when I handled her, very (ahem) large distended rear end. Pulsing rear end. UH OH! eggbound was my diagnosis.
The internet gave lots of advice, some of which I was loathe to follow. Do I really want to risk breaking the egg and all the ones backed up behind it? No...so any physical work on her was out of the question.
Eggs are produced in a real "factory line"! there are about 5 or so in production within the chook at any one time, from the one ready to be laid, all covered in shell, back to ones without shell, smaller and smaller up inside the chook. When one gets stuck, all the others then exacerbate the problem.
The method I ended up trying was the "warm bath". The idea being that the muscles of the chook relax and release the egg, hopefully.
I filled up a large bucket with warm water, popped in my chook, where she promptly hunkered down, and put a cardboard lid on top with a small stone to keep it in place. I left her for 20 mins as instructed by the internet. Then took her out. She just flopped on the deck and lay there for some time.
Eventually Mark took pity on her and dispatched her with a carving knife.
A sad, sad, day for a lovely hen.