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Oviduct Impaction

Other Names: Obstructed Oviduct

Oviduct impactions occur from accumulation of eggs or egg material or excessive production of albumin or mucin within the hen's oviduct, and usually associated with chronic salpingitis. Metritis, egg binding, dystocia, cystic hyperplasia, and the presence of space-occupying tumors can also lead to oviduct impactions.

Clinical Signs of Oviduct Impactions in Chickens

Hens with oviduct impactions usually exhibit vague clinical signs such as progressive lethargy and reduced appetite. Abdominal distension and ascites may also occur. There is often a history of sudden cessation of egg laying several months or years prior. Some hens may appear as persistently broody and spend more time in nest boxes.

Oviduct prolapse or torsion of the oviduct may occur secondary due to the buildup of egg material and prolonged contractions.

Treatment Options for Oviduct Impactions in Chickens

Hens with oviduct impactions require surgery to remove the contents causing the obstruction (salpingotomy). Severe or chronic cases may require the complete removal of the oviduct (salpingohysterectomy). Hormone implants are also indicated to help prevent impactions from reoccurring.

Clinical Signs

History of cessation of egg laying
Abdominal distension and ascites
Loss of appetite
Persistent 'broodiness'


  • History - Cessation of egg laying.
  • Physical exam
  • Exploratory coeliotomy
  • Endoscopy with aspiration of the oviduct contents
  • Ultrasound

Reported Cases

  • Case 1: Impacted oviduct, colibacillosis and egg yolk peritonitis in a Chicken A 1-year-old golden comet hen was presented because of an enlarged abdomen, cessation in egg production, difficulty in ambulating, and difficulty roosting. Results of radiographs and ultrasound examination revealed a radiolucent oval area in the right coelom and fluid with flocculent debris throughout the coelomic cavity. Escherichia coli and Proteus species were cultured from a sample of the fluid. Antibiotic therapy was temporarily beneficial, but the problem persisted and the hen was euthanatized. At necropsy, the oviduct was impacted with yellow caseous material. The diagnosis was colibacillosis and egg yolk peritonitis, which may have originated from an impacted oviduct. Ref

  • Case 2: Oviduct Impaction in a Chicken A large oval mass was found in the abdominal cavity of two different hens. The mass was firm and adhered to peritoneum and visceral organs. The abdominal mass in one bird contained several masses of yolk, each surrounded with concentric rings. Cut surfaces of the mass were laminated, and loosely attached to one another. Each layer was composed of fibrous connective tissue, heterophils, macrophages, cellular debris, and fibrin clots. Ref


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.
SurgerySalpingotomy in acute cases and salpingohysterectomy in severe or chronic cases.
Hormone implantsSuprelorin® (deslorelin implants) to stop further ovulation and reduce the risk of the impaction reoccurring.



  • Hormone implants: Suprelorin® (deslorelin implants) to stop hens from laying eggs.
  • Give your birds regular health exams so you can catch the underlying issue, and bring the bird to see a veterinarian for treatment before it advances to the point of an impaction.

Scientific References

Age Range

Occurs more frequently in adult hens.

Risk Factors

  • Breeds with high egg production rates.
  • Increasing age
  • Obesity
  • History of reproductive disease
  • Suspected mycoplasma carrier

Case Stories