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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28575
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have a Buff Orpington hen that is having trouble laying.

Customer Question

I have a Buff Orpington hen that is having trouble laying. About four days ago I noticed she "layed" a white liquid substance and she was acting very solitary instead of roosting with the other hens. Two days later she "layed" a yolk colored substance. I tried rubbing oil on her vent area yesterday to see if that would help, but no luck yet. What should I do? She is approximately 32 weeks old.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would be glad to speak by phone if needed.(###) ###-####Thank you
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. We don't have many avian vets on this site. It's not unusual for hens to produce defective eggs sometime during their egg laying career. Stressors of all kinds can interrupt the regular egg producing steps within the ovary and oviduct. Infections of the oviduct (salpingitis) can occur. We need to understand too, however, that systemic disorders can also disturb egg production and the number of those disorders is legion. You'll need the services of an avian vet (please see here: to perform a thorough physical exam and tests predicated upon the findings in the exam in order to identify such a disorder. Unfortunately, oil on her vent won't do. The expense of her exam and testing might be warranted if you have just a few hens who are also pets for you. If this hen is part of a large egg production flock, however, she's usually culled for financial reasons.

I regret that I can't be more specific for you from here. Have any other symptoms appeared that might help me understand why she's ill? I regret that my state board of veterinary examiners doesn't allow my speaking with customers by phone in this venue. Please stay in this conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We have five hens, so they have become pets! This is this particular hens first attempt at egg laying. She has not been ill. I will check out the website to see if there are any avian vets in our area.Thank you,
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thnak you for the additional information. Hopefully she's just "revving up" as an egg producer. The first few eggs can be less than normal looking, shall we say. I am concerned, however, that her behavior is that of an ill bird rather than a primavera. You're welcome, Kris. I can't set a follow-up in this venue and so would appreciate your returning to our conversation with an update - even after rating - at a time of your choosing.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I checked the website you shared and did not find an avian vet in our area, so I guess we will have to ride this out and see if nature will take its course. I will send you an update.Thanks again!
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I understand, Kris. I'll watch for your next post. Check with regular vets in your area who might work with birds. They needn't belong to AAV.