No one wants to see their chickens in pain. They serve you well and you want the best for them. You will go all the way to make sure your chickens are safe, happy, and healthy.
However one question arises, does it hurt when chickens are laying eggs? Do they suffer in order to provide eggs for breakfast? Is there something you can do to make the process bearable?
Chickens feel some pain when laying eggs. The pain is not that intense and goes away soon after the egg is laid. However, there are some scenarios where egg laying can cause unbearable pain and even tears. In these cases, you might even find bloodstains on the egg. This is the case when young hens with underdeveloped systems reach the point of laying or when the chicken lays eggs that are bigger than their usual size.
The egg-laying process involves stretching the oviduct. If the chicken lays a larger egg than normal, the oviduct stretches more.
Young hens have a tight cloaca that has not adjusted to laying. When they begin laying, the cloaca is stretched and with time it adjusts to the normal sizes.
Eggs develop in about 24 hours, with 20 hours dedicated to eggshell development. At the end of the laying process, the chicken has to push the egg out of its system. This process takes between 20 seconds and 2 minutes.
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Is laying an egg like giving birth?
People will compare experiences from other life forms to their own. Egg-laying is usually compared to childbirth. Some people compare it to giving birth to a child each day. Ouch!
While both processes involved passing an object through the reproduction system, human labor is way more painful than egg-laying. It takes about 9 hours for human labor, while it takes 20 seconds for a chicken to lay an egg. The head of a human baby is usually large and stretches the pelvis. This involved a lot of struggle and pain. Sometimes the human process is unbearable and needs intervention.
Fully mature chickens with developed reproductive systems do not feel any pain. They might experience some minor discomfort. Some chickens will be carrying on with other activities like eating and drinking while laying. I have seen one of my chickens lay an egg as she was walking about.
Why do chickens squawk after laying an egg?
Chickens will make some sounds before and after laying an egg. This can be confused with pain. The squawking noise, also known as the egg song is a happy song of pride and relief that the chicken has laid an egg. Some people think squawking is meant to draw away predators from the eggs. Confuse them by singing!
Do chickens get sad when you take their eggs?
We might not fully know if chickens experience sadness when we take their eggs.
Since egg laying is a process of reproduction, broody hens will protect their eggs with all they got.
They will chase away any chicken that tries to come close to their eggs. They will peck you when you try to take their eggs.
In the event you succeed in taking all her eggs, she will spend some time looking for them.
Factors that may cause Chicken’s Laying Pain
In some instances, the egg laying process can be painful for chickens. This can be the normal development pain to severe cases like when a chicken is egg bound.
The factors that can lead to painful egg laying are age of the chicken, size of the egg, thin shells or severe health issues.
- The age of your chicken
Younger hens can have a painful experience when they begin laying eggs. This is because their oviducts and cloaca are not yet wide enough to accommodate eggs.
If you notice your chicken wheezing during egg laying, chances are that they are experiencing some discomfort or pain. As the young chicken matures, their cloaca and oviduct adapt and the process becomes easy.
- The size of the egg
I have had my chickens lay eggs that dwarf the other eggs in size. Some are double the normal size! Once in a while they have blood stains.
It is obvious that when a chicken lays an eggs that is bigger than their normal size, the chicken went through some pain and some blood vessels erupted as the oviduct and cloaca was stretched more than it normally does.
Larger than normal eggs are produced when they is a glitch in the egg production process or when two yolks are released into the system at once.
- A thin eggshell
Thin eggs shells are caused by lack of enough calcium. The hens will lay eggs that have thin weak shells.
Sometimes these weak eggs shells migh break inside the chicken, causing a lot of pain and discomfort.
These broken shells cut the vents causing bloody injuries. While sometime the cuts are minor and heal by themselves, they may lead to infections that need to be addressed immediately.
- Egg binding
Chicken eggs can get stuck stuck when being laid. This is called eggs binding where the egg gets stuck in the oviduct. Chickens that are egg bound experience excruciating pain and stress. If not attended to, it may be fatal.
A chicken that is egg bound will sit alone, whot feathers fluffed out. Its eyes will be closed. The chicken may stand with her tail down. The wings will be droopy. The cloaca will be pumping and some liquid will be oozing from the vent.
When you notice a chicken that is egg bound, you need to at quickly or the hen will die. Incase you do not know what to do, call a veterinarian immediately.
How to ease chickens’ egg laying pain
The good news is that you can make the laying process less stressful.
Ensure that your chickens have a good comfortable nest box that is spacious and provides the much needed privacy.
Do not try to speed up the onset of egg laying by feeding them with more protein than required. This will lead to hens that lay earlier, but have poorly developed reproductive system. This may lead to egg binding and vent prolapse.
Balanced age appropriate diet is recommended at each stage of your chickens life. This will not only help in development of their reproductive systems but will also help the chicken develop eggs with strong shells that are easy to lay.
Chickens may experience pain when laying. This includes the normal pain of stretching of their cloaca to severe pain. Severe pain means that you need to attend to your chickens and make the process bearable. Normal pain and discomfort lasts for a very short time. This goes away as the chicken matures and gets used to laying eggs.