Bronwyn Soiled Herself :-(

Bronwyn is a very good layer (like all Isa Browns) and produces really big eggs every day. Unfortunately twice she’s had a bit of a hiccup where she laid a malformed egg that had a funky shell. Make that 3 times.

The first indication that anything was amiss for this 3rd (may it please be the last) time was when Bronwyn started chewing on her belly feathers with help from Isabel. This was while I was handfeeding them their morning treat before cleaning their coop. Bronwyn looked like she had paddled across a pool before breakfast – all wet and glumpy underneath.  I immediately guessed what was wrong and went down to find the malformed and very messy egg under the girls’ perch (kind of a shock to my system at 6 AM).

Malformed chicken egg

Malformed chicken egg

The egg was easy to clean up (straight into the compost) but Bronwyn was another matter.

I left her alone for a while but she just didn’t stop pulling at her messy feathers (can’t say I blame her) so Frank and I washed her. First we used a wet cloth to wipe her down; I held her, Frank washed her. We met with some initial resistance but then all she offered up was a bit of bored resignation.

The sponge bath worked partially but she was still pretty sticky so I got a tub of warm water and we dunked her. Poor thing, Frank grabbed her feet and tipped her while I whisked water under her wings and all over her underside. Again resignation – maybe she knew she needed help.

Frank towelled her off a little and then she staggered away looking undressed and a bit drunk (did we unbalance her somehow?).


She went straight to a corner of the garden and pulled her feathers some more (with a bit of help from Rosie).

IMG_1225We countered with a tempting kohlarbi plant to distract her. In the end, she dried off and all is right with her world. Thankfully she’s still got feathers on her bottom half which I suspect wouldn’t be the case if we hadn’t washed her. And she’s back to laying like a real trooper. You go girl!



About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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6 Responses to Bronwyn Soiled Herself :-(

  1. The things you have to do when you keep animals! She does look gorgeous again once she has dried out.

  2. Oh goodness. We have had one chicken bath here as well, but with the winter weather it had to be done inside and did not go at all as smoothly as yours did. I really hope she is done laying those type of eggs so you don’t have to deal with the mess again!

    • Everything’s so much easier in Sydney than in most places in the world. I hadn’t even thought about what a hassle this same little drama would have been if it was freezing outside. I’m counting my blessings as I type!

  3. Bee Mary says:

    I’ve had my hens lay similar eggs on occasion, soft membrane without a hard shell. It’s usually a lack of calcium in the diet, the shell hardens on it’s way through the hens body (or not). Try drying out old egg shells in your oven and then grinding them in a coffee grinder (or mortar and pestle), this egg shell powder can then be put into their feed as a calcium supplement. This just saves you the cost of buying shell grit.

    • I’m pretty sure it’s not a lack of calcium. We do grind up all their old egg shells (mortar and pestle) and mix it with their feed which already contains grit and shell both (and is 16% protein). All my chickens have really hard shells and it’s sometimes a challenge to crack them to cook with them. I think poor Bronwyn just has some girly problems down there. I’ve heard it’s not uncommon with Isa Browns to have laying problems because of the way they were bred to produce an egg every day no matter what. I’ll just keep doing my best to keep my girl happy and healthy.

      Thanks for the tips. I definitely like to save the cost of buying whatever I can.

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