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Egg Binding

Egg Binding in Ducks Overview

Egg binding is a common reproductive condition in domestic female ducks and is defined as the failure of an egg to pass through the oviduct within a normal period of time. When this happens, it can result in the obstruction of oviposition or cloacal function, due to the presence of the egg in the distal oviduct for longer than it should be. The oviduct is a female duck's reproductive tract, and it consists of five different sections---the infunidibulum, magnum, isthmus, uterus, and cloaca. Most avian species, including ducks, normally produce a shelled egg from a follicle in less than 24 hours.

There are numerous reasons why ducks can develop egg-binding, which include malnutrition, obesity, mechanical tears or damage to the oviduct, oviductal infections, inadequate exercise, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, excessive egg laying, metabolic disease, genetic predisposition, systemic disease, and environmental stressors. Egg binding tends to occur more often in the spring and summer months, due to the increased daylight.

Clinical signs of egg binding vary depending on the cause, the severity, and whether any secondary complications are present.


No egg laid
Irregular egg-laying
Abdominal distension
Tail bobbing
Difficulty breathing
Wide-based, penguin-like stance
Leg paralysis/paresis


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Radiography
  • Ultrasonography - Useful for visualizing non-mineralized eggs which may be present in the oviduct behind a larger, mineralized egg
  • Serum chemistry - Elevated total and ionized calcium, hypercholesterolemia, and hyperglobulie


MethodMethod Summary
Spa timePlace duck in a lukewarm bath in shallow water, secluded from other birds to try to get her to relax
Message the duck's abdomen very gently with olive oil. (Be careful not to rub too hard as if the egg breaks inside the bird it can be life-threatening)
KY jellyapplied on the duck's vent
SaunaRun the shower in the bathroom until the mirror and windows steam up and place the duck inside on a wet towel.
Hormone shots
Dinoprostone tromethamine (Prostaglandin E)0.02-0.1 mg/kg applied topically onto cloacal mucosa or administered IM, once
Oxytocin3-5 IU/kg IM


  • Hormone implants: Used to stop ducks from laying eggs
  • Feed a balanced diet: Female ducks that are actively laying eggs should receive a complete feed that is intended for breeder/laying waterfowl. Don't feed excessive amounts of treats or table scraps as it can offset the proportional balance of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D.
  • If living in areas with acid soil and high rainfall - Lime the ground with slaked lime or calcified seaweed.



Risk Factors

  • Getting fed an imbalanced diet, often associated with incorrect or stale feed and/or getting fed excessive amounts of table scraps.
  • Ducks with a smaller body frame usually experience more severe clinical signs and have a higher risk of acute death
  • Overweight and/or inactive ducks
  • Increased hours of light
  • Ducks just starting to lay eggs
  • History of irregularly laying eggs, or passing soft-shelled and shell-less eggs
  • Cold, wet weather

Also Consider