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Oviduct Impaction

Other Names: Obstructed Oviduct

An impacted oviduct is a frequently fatal reproductive condition seen often in hens selectively bred for high egg productivity (ex-battery or ex-factory egg laying hens). Oviduct impactions often occur secondary to salpingitis, tumors, torsion, or adhesions. Oviduct impactions can be acute or chronic. Hens with chronic oviduct impactions often have a previous history of an abrupt stop in egg laying for several months or years prior to presentation with symptoms. Just because the egg isn't being laid, doesn't mean the bird isn't continuing to ovulate every 25 hours. However, instead of expelling the egg outside of her body, the egg material becomes stuck inside the oviduct which eventually becomes distended with a mass of caseated material and misshappen soft shelled and shell-less eggs. The presence of the yolk material also puts hens at an increased risk of developing egg yolk peritonitis.

Symptoms of an oviduct impaction

An impacted oviduct can often be difficult to diagnose in hens, since the symptoms are vague and representative of several different reproductive disorders. The most common signs include a history of not laying eggs, an enlarged abdomen, persistent 'broodiness', and depression.

Treatment options for an oviduct impaction

Treatment for an oviduct impaction most often requires surgery, to remove the bird's impacted oviduct which is usually found packed with a mass of caseated material and shell-less or soft shelled eggs.

Clinical Signs

Persistent 'broodiness'
Erratic or no egg production
Abdominal distension
Loss of appetite


  • History
  • Physical exam
  • Radiographs
  • Ultrasound
  • Blood chemistry
  • Exploratory coeliotomy


Supportive careIsolate the bird from the flock and place in a safe, comfortable, warm location (your own chicken "intensive care unit") with easy access to water and food. Limit stress. Call your veterinarian.
SurgerySalpingohysterectomy (surgical removal of the hen's oviduct, which is often found packed with a mass of caseated material and shell-less or soft shelled eggs).
Hormone implantsSuprelorin® (deslorelin implants) to stop further ovulation (egg production) in hens.



Hormone implants: Suprelorin® (deslorelin implants) to stop ovulation (egg production) in hens.

Scientific References

Age Range

Occurs more frequently in adult hens.

Risk Factors

  • Chronic egg laying
  • Increasing age
  • Modern day egg laying breeds (ex-battery hens)

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