Chicken Hunched Up Tail Down.

Chicken are pretty expressive birds through vocalization and body language.

They enjoy activities and human interaction.

Chicken keepers know that hens make different voices and noises which have a meaning.

You can understand through their vocals whether they are happy, curious, scared, aggressive or just chattering with their chicks and flock mates.

But when it comes to sickness or any underlying health issues, they first go silent and do not speak.

In this case, their body language refers to their health conditions.

This is why it’s important to understand their body language

Now if your chicken is hunched up and their tail down it can be a cause of concern

Let’s find out why your chicken is hunched up

Carry on reading

Why Is My Chicken Hunched Up?

Is your hen standing like a penguin, walking weirdly, or straining repeatedly?

It is an indicator of a health problem in your chicken.

If you notice that one of your chickens looks bizarre and less active compared to your other chicens, it’s time to be concerned and help your bird.

There are only two reasons you will experience your chickens hunched up with their tails down. 

  1. It is a sign of sickness or constipation (initial stage).
  2. It’s an indicator of being your chicken egg-bound.

This article will help you identify the reasons and provide solutions for a hunched-up chicken.

First, let’s see what it means to be a hen egg-bound. 

What Are The Signs Of An Egg-Bound Chicken?

Sometimes, an egg-laying hen looks lazy and isn’t its perky self as typically it is.

Instead, it is hunched up with its tail bent down.

It indicates that the egg is stuck in the oviduct and ready to be laid, but the hen is unable to expel it even after trying to push it.

It could happen due to the size of the egg.

Either the egg is bigger in size than average, there is inflammation in the oviduct, or the hen’s vent may be narrowed.

What Should I Do If My Hen Is Egg-Bound? 

Egg bound is extremely painful for chickens, and you have less than 48 hours to help and save your hen.

Although, it seems daunting to deal with because the longer the egg is stuck inside, the more damage it could cause to the chicken there are some tips to help your hen at home. 

  1. DIY tip — Put your hen in a lukewarm water tub added with Epsom salt and soak the vent area of the chicken for about 15 minutes. Take it out and towel dry the area. Apply musturd oil/vaseline/ any lubricant to soften the vent area and gently massage the chicken’s abdomen. After this, isolate the chicken from the flock. It will help her relax and save her from the other hens’ pecking. Hopefully, the hen will be relieved and able to lay the egg. 
  2. Visit a vet — Do not wait too long if the chicken is still in pain and cannot make it even after trying several times. See an expert avian vet to help the chicken immediately. Because egg binding can be potentially fatal for the oviduct of your chicken if not treated timely.

Is Being Egg-Bound Dangerous For Chickens? 

Egg binding is not something trivial; it can be catastrophic for your chicken if therapeutic steps are not taken promptly.

You may have observed your chicken repeatedly straining, trying to push the restrained egg effectively.

The restrained egg can cause severe damage to the oviduct of the chicken if it sticks inside for longer.

It’s very important to help your hen or take them to the vets as it can be dangerous! 

Is My Chicken Egg Bound Or Constipated?

Is your chicken standing with a slightly curved body and tail bent toward the ground?

Have you lately observed your chicken adopting an upright stance like a penguin, waddling around strangely or lazier than before?

Then don’t waste time and help your chicken immediately

Hunched-up chicken could be egg-bound or suffering from constipation.

In both cases, chickens tend to display similar signs and symptoms.

But identifying the minor difference in some symptoms will help you figure out the correct reason for your chicken hunched up and lethargic.



Potential causes of constipation are primarily related to food.

Factors may include less access to fresh water, an excessive amount of protein in their feed, or irregular feeding schedules.

Egg binding can also cause constipation in chickens.

An oviduct with a restrained egg will suppress the chicken’s faecal tract and interfere with the defecation process.


If a chicken is constipated, its abdomen will feel stiff, from the gizzard to the back side, and the chicken will look gloomy.

Constipation causes reduced food intake, which even worsens the condition. 


Responding to the different remedies depends on the individuals.

Try out the following therapies and see what works for your chicken best.

  • Isolate the affected chicken from the flock and notice its reactions.
  • Increase the amount of food and fresh water.
  • Add more fresh vegetables and fruits to the diet and reduce commercial feed.
  • Break molasses into small edible-sized pieces in a minimal amount, just like candy. You can mix it in water and use a dropper if your chicken is not willing to eat molasses in its solid form.
  • Use hot suppresses, abdomen massage and lubricate the vent area using some oil or petroleum jelly twice or thrice a day and continue the remedy for up to 5-7 days.
  • Feel the abdomen if there’s no egg stuck in the oviduct causing constipation. A physical vent check will ensure whether it’s an egg binding or constipation itself.

Hopefully these tips will help relieve a constipated chicken 

If you realize your chicken’s condition is not improving, consult a credible avian veterinarian who will administer proper medication to cure the affected chicken. 

Related article – Chicken has runny poop 

Egg binding


Egg binding is a life-threatening and severe problem to be concerned about.

If an egg is not passed within 48 hours, it can endanger your chickens life 

  • Elderly and obese chickens are more prone to egg binding, contrary to the younger ones. Their mussels are not strong enough to strain the egg effectively.
  • Worms can also cause egg binding in chickens by developing calcium deficiency in chickens which causes abnormal-sized eggs.
  • Poor diet — lack of nutrition, fibre and fresh water can result in egg binding and other health issues.
  • A lack of proper nesting area can cause egg retention because a hen will not lay the egg if it doesn’t like the nesting area.
  • If a hen is prematurely forced to lay eggs through steroids and heat lamps, it could suffer from egg binding.


An egg-bound hen can exhibit a few symptoms different from constipation. 

  • The chicken stands like a penguin bending its tail down, and looks gloomy.
  • Less active, pale comb, stands still, abnormal sitting, and walks strangely with unstable wings.
  • The chicken’s abdomen is firm in feel, and there’s a noticeable egg-shaped big lump under the vent area.
  • She visits the nesting box more often and tries to expel the egg effectively but fails to make it.
  • Contrary to constipation, the abdomen will feel warmer when touched.
  • The egg will probably be visible an inch inside the vent stuck in the oviduct if examined through the vent area. 
  • You will notice wet droppings to no poop at all. (Egg binding causes constipation)


If you do not have a vet nearby and you feel like successfully taking the matter into your hands, here are a few tips to prevent egg binding or cure an egg-bound chicken.

  • Physical examination of the vent will confirm the egg stuck in the oviduct, which you can try removing with the same method as for constipation. Hot water soaking and lubricating the vent area can help expel the egg. But you should not wait too long, or they will injure the oviduct, causing bleeding and eventually death.
  • Avoid supplemental heating when chickens are too small, as it will develop premature laying, leading to egg binding.
  • If your chicken is too weak to push the egg, you can help it by rubbing the abdomen towards the vent area.
  • Cut down the number of treats from their diet to 10% only. Add fresh, nutritious and fibrous foods to help them conserve more energy.

Consulting a vet is the only best way to save your egg-bound chicken if nothing seems to work for a few hours.

Wrapping Up

Egg binding is not so common yet a fatal health issue in chickens which needs to be addressed immediately.

Constipation is sometimes wronged with egg binding and vice versa.

But identifying the minor difference between the two (Constipation/Egg-binding) is the only way to save your chicken.

Some tips have been shared in this article to help your chicken at home.

Still, if symptoms persist, consult the nearest Vet as soon as possible.


We at write about bird health and diet however it should not be taken as medical advice. For advice on your bird you need to seek out an avian vet. The information you find on is for educational purposes only. At we are not liable for any information that you may find on here. Birdcageshere is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice about your bird.