What Is a Lash Egg?

Ever heard of a lash egg? Odds are you probably havent. It can be a one-time occurrence or it can be an uncommon symptom of an illness that is actually the number one killer of laying hens. And its a symptom thats good to know if youre raising chickens for eggs in case you spot a lash egg in your flock.

For a backyard flock, this is normally not a problem as fresh eggs are a benefit of having chickens but arent a requirement as many have names and take on pet status. Sometimes the vet can remove the infected mass, but this is risky, costly and not a viable option for many backyard chicken keepers.

When egg production is the goal and makes your bottom line, a reduction or stoppage in laying cant be tolerated.

Is lash egg fatal?

A lash egg, however, is not necessarily a death sentence. While a chicken can die from this infection, it can also fight it off and go on to live a long life, though it may be less productive or stop producing eggs entirely.

What does a lash egg mean?

Lash eggs result from an infection (bacterial or viral) that causes inflammation of a hen’s oviduct. The infection is referred to as salpingitis. The hen’s immune system reacts by trying to wall off the infection with waxy cheese-like pus.

How common are lash eggs?

Rest assured that lash eggs are pretty rare, though. ” Out of all the seven years I kept chickens, I’ve only seen one,” she said. Nevertheless, it’s always best to be prepared and ready to care for your pet.

Can a chicken survive lash egg?

Lash eggs result from an infection (bacterial or viral) that causes inflammation of a hen’s oviduct. … Most hens will not survive more than 6 months with Salpingitis. According to Dr. McKillop If a hen does survive, she is unlikely ever to return to normal egg laying.

A particularly nasty surprise to find in a chicken coop, a lash egg is an egg-shaped mass of tissue, pus and yolk-like material. Expelled by a chicken (in the same manner as an egg), its typically a symptom of a bacterial infection, and it has caught many chicken owners by surprise.

The specific cause of a lash egg is coliform salpingitis, which is inflammation of the oviduct and uterus of a bird due to a bacterial infection. |Photo by Mike OvertonWhen theyre cut open, they reveal layers of tissue and other material, wrote Pam Freeman in her 2017 book Backyard Chickens Beyond the Basics.

Photo by Mike Overton Coliform salpingitis is often caused by bacteria, which can be picked up easily by hens when theyre in the act of laying eggs. Keeping nesting boxes and coops clean and free of fecal matter is one way to guard against the illness, Lichtenwalner said. Other preventative measures include feeding your chickens healthy food, allowing them plenty of movement and exercise and reducing stressors whenever possible.

As of January 2017, stricter federal rules have put a stop to the sale of over-the-counter antibiotics for chickens and other animals that are produced for consumption. The veterinarian can give the farmer good up-to-date information about how to use the drug and how long to wait until you can eat the eggs or meat again, Lichtenwalner said.

A lash egg is a mess of vaguely egg-shape coagulated gunk, sometimes including bits of egg and egg shell, that results from infection somewhere within a hens oviduct. So, even though the thing might be laid by a hen, its not really an egg.

This infection typically affects high-producing hens, because their egg laying muscles tend to be more relaxed, allowing fecal bacteria to migrate up the oviduct. The mass may grow so large the hen cannot release it, or it may be laid in the nest as if it were a regular egg.

Occasionally you may come across an abnormal object in the nest box that is neither egg nor dropping. This may be yellow or flesh-coloured and may look at first glance like a lump of sausage meat (see photos below). This phenomenon is commonly known as a lash, caseous, rubber or inspissated egg and can be an indicator of underlying health issues.

What Causes a Lash Egg?

Although known as a lash egg and having the appearance of an egg, it really isn’t an egg at all. These masses are produced when a hen sheds part of the lining of her oviduct along with pus and other materials. Lash eggs travel through the reproductive system, so they are often egg-shaped. The cause of a lash egg is salpingitis; an inflammation and infection of the oviduct. Salpingitis is caused by a bacterial infection that travels to the oviduct.

Is My Chicken Sick?

When we humans are sick, we’ll usually tell someone, head to the doctor and try to rest and recuperate as our schedule allows. But, we’re a little different than chickens. Chickens are prey animals and they’re flock animals. To show weakness makes you vulnerable to predators and can knock down your place in the pecking order. So, chickens will hide their illness as long as they can. The problem with this is that you often don’t notice a chicken is sick until it’s way past the point of being saved. That’s why it’s good to give your flock a daily once-over just to see how things are going.There are telltale signs that your chickens may be sick. You may wonder why are my chickens laying soft eggs or why have my chickens stopped laying eggs? In many cases, there are other causes besides illness. Like a chicken laying an egg inside an egg is just a laying abnormality. But, consistent laying abnormalities along with lethargy, not eating, excessive thirst, droopy and less colorful combs can be a sign of a larger illness.As for salpingitis, it is not always a death sentence for your hen. Many hens have a strong enough immune system to beat the illness on their own. It can be a one-time occurrence. Others can recover with the help of antibiotics. When a hen does recover from salpingitis, her productivity can be compromised. She may never lay again or may lay fewer eggs going forward. For a backyard flock, this is normally not a problem as fresh eggs are a benefit of having chickens but aren’t a requirement as many have names and take on pet status.Some chickens with salpingitis will not make it and won’t exhibit the symptom of a lash egg. In those cases, the infection spreads and grows inside their bodies resulting in death. A sign of salpingitis is a chicken walking with a penguin-like stance with a swollen abdomen. This is caused because the inflamed oviduct and resulting mass are inside the hen and festering. Eventually, the inflammation will push on the chicken’s internal organs causing the chicken to have a hard time breathing and ultimately death.If you’re unsure of what’s happening with your chicken, it’s a good idea to take it to the vet. Sometimes the vet can remove the infected mass, but this is risky, costly and not a viable option for many backyard chicken keepers. A vet can advise you on the best course of action.In a commercial chicken operation, a chicken that lays a lash egg is culled. When egg production is the goal and makes your bottom line, a reduction or stoppage in laying can’t be tolerated.