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I had never even heard of a lash egg. It had been over 10 years since we first began chicken keeping. In all that time, not once did I have a lash egg laid in my chicken coop. Until one day, a strange looking “thing”appeared. We had occasional strange eggs, bumpy shells, extra pigment, weak egg shells and one or two rubber eggs (no shell at all). And then, there it was. What is a Lash Egg you might be asking?
What is a Lash Egg ?
The first time you see this anomaly in the nest box or somewhere in the hen house you will be shocked. They are pretty gross looking objects. The lash egg may be rubbery and hard or a bit squishy but the many layers of material inside are the true markings of a lash egg.
The correct term for the condition causing a lash egg is Salpingitis which is an inflammation of the oviduct where the egg begins its travels. The lash egg is not a true egg but may contain bits of egg material and a lot of pus and other material. They are rather disgusting and odd. The reason they are sort of egg shaped is because they still travel through the reproductive system, as an egg does. The one I found was very green. The inside, on further inspection, did show the layers and different material inside.
Is a lash egg a health problem?
Is it a big problem? Lash Eggs, or Salpingitis can be a big problem. The inflammation may be due to an illness or infection and often by the time the lash eggs are seen, the hen is too sick to be saved. Or it could be a one time occurrence.
As with many things when dealing with chickens, we often don’t see the symptoms of a problem until it is too far gone. In our case, I looked at all the hens trying to determine which one might have laid the lash egg. All of our hens seemed very healthy and happy, eating well, interacting and dust bathing. None of the hens had any lethargy, cough, drainage or discharge.
Do You Need to Cull the Hen?
I definitely do not believe you need to cull a hen because she laid a lash egg or if she lays any abnormal egg. Many factors can contribute to upsetting the natural egg production. In the case of a lash egg, an infection or illness may irritate the Fallopian tube and oviduct causing an abnormal secretion or presence of pus. This may be serious or transient. Hens can recover from illness on their own or they may succumb. I would not recommend letting any animal suffer pain or serious illness but I believe a wait and see approach can be taken. A vet can be called to assist and may prescribe antibiotics. (read Lash Eggs And Dangerous Advice From Bloggers)
Be Wary of What You Read on the Internet
A lot of the information available on the internet recommends an immediate death sentence and here is why I think some people say this. In a commercial chicken business, the bottom line is production and profit. Now I am not saying that the operators don’t care for the chickens or want them to be healthy. I am saying that feeding a potentially, seriously ill chicken would be counter productive to the goal.
This is why I state over and over that we need to know the purpose of the information on the internet. Why was it written, and who was it written for. Information written for poultry production houses can vary greatly from a course of action a small flock owner can take with non-communicable health issues.
What should a backyard chicken keeper do?
In the case of backyard chicken keepers and non- contagious illness, we can usually afford to take a few days to observe the affected hen, if we can even determine who laid the lash egg. Also, seek professional veterinary help if you feel you need it. No one can diagnose anything with one hundred percent accuracy, on the internet.
What can be done?
If a hen is acting unwell, I would certainly take all precautions and start good bio-security practices. Naturally, I would treat the hen with an antibiotic, prescribed by the veterinarian. In addition, keeping the hens healthy on a day to day basis is extremely important. Good preventative health care for chickens can include probiotics and herbs along with quality layer feed.
Keep the hens healthy with natural care
Building a healthy immune system by feeding fresh herbs, apple cider vinegar in the drinking water and garlic added to the feed does help boost the immune system. We do all of this. Since all of my hens seem perfectly healthy, I am going to just watch for signs of illness and hope the lash egg was an anomaly.
And again, anytime you feel unsure of your chicken’s health, consult an avian veterinarian.