The Egg Bound Gouldian Finch 


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“On the phone again!!, Mom, we need you!” Anna was frantically trying to get my attention without interrupting my conversation. Clutched in her hand was my little yellow backed Gouldian hen that is kept in the hutch in my living room. A month ago, she had just given us her first clutch and we had seen her pecking at the cuttlebone. This is a sure sign that they are storing up calcium to lay another clutch. 

I motioned to Anna to set up the hospital cage for her and saw the girls jump into action. The hospital is Lisa’s bathroom which is small and easy to fill with humidity. We place the finch in the cage with water, seed and millet down low and a paper towel on the grate on the bottom. Sometimes they thrash around and get hurt during the process if we don’t put a paper towel down. They comes the magic cure.  

The warm air humidifier has saved so many Gouldian hens for us who are egg bound! I position the cage so it literally sits about 1 foot above the humidifier, lay a heating pad on the side of the cage and close the door. The bottom of the cage gets warm and condensation forms all over it. The hen lays on the paper towel on top of the grate so she is not overly hot, but very warm and humid

Anna opened her hand to show me an egg bound finch that looked just about dead. She kept stretching out, not holding her head up and fluttering and shaking. I wondered if we had been too late in finding her. I checked her again about 3 hours later at midnight and she was still looking close to death.

To the hospital I headed the minute I woke up. I was so excited to see her un-fluffed, sitting on a perch and a squishy egg was down in the corner of the cage. We have saved about 6 egg bound hens in this manner and had it work every time. And every time, I am amazed for they look so terrible when the process starts. Her lonely "dilute mate" would be so happy to see her again!

Egg binding can be caused by various factors: too little exercise, too little calcium, cold, an overweight hen and sometimes, too young of a hen. Do remember that it takes Vitamin D for calcium to be absorbed. our Lord gave us our sun for that good ole Vitamin D!

In addition to the humidity, I put millet and her mash dish down low. I am careful about putting water too low for one time a hen drowned in the water dish. This happened because they can get incoherent with pain while flipping around being egg bound and not pull their head up. I do hang a dish fairly low so that a bird standing on the bottom of the cage can reach it. Add a calcium supplement to the water.

I do add a drop of mineral oil to her vent area, but do not push on that area. You can break the egg inside and then, the hen is lost.

I returned her to her mate in the "hutch" and added some calcium gluconate to the water. In addition, there is a dish of finely chopped hardboiled egg and shell in the hutch. I also crush human calcium pills in my coffee grinder and keep that in her cage in a separate dish.


The "hutch" is just that. It used to house chaina! A mural on the back was painted by Sheila Garcia, shelves were added, doors were cut in the side and I had a mess free cage in my living room! You can faintly see the pair in the upper left corner of the glass.


Here are foods rich in Calcium: Egg shells; low fat cheese; low fat yogurt; mineral block; collard greens; turnip greens; mustard greens; chicory; kale; dandelion; broccoli; almonds; brewer’s yeast; buttermilk; oats; kelp; cooked dried beans and peas; sesame seeds; tofu; oranges; berries; parsley.

Click here to watch some hens lay eggs.

Recently, a Lineolated hen became egg bound. Her egg popped out after about 4 hours of an intense sauna bath. I believe this warm, humid air is a life saver!!!

What if your pet bird is laying eggs, what should you do. Click here to learn more



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