It has been over 7 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 last week. 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; a lash egg.
What is a Lash Egg?
Here’s an egg fact for you: 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 to see. 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, and 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. Unfortunately, we often don’t see the sick chicken symptoms until it is a real problem. In our case, I have looked at all the hens trying to determine which one might have laid the lash egg. All of our hens seem very healthy and happy, eating well, interacting and dust bathing. (Dust baths for chickens are essential for parasite control.) None of the hens have any lethargy, cough, drainage or discharge. So time will tell, I suppose. I am not one to borrow trouble.
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 a antimicrobial prescribed by my veterinarian, if it was determined that this would help. In addition, keeping the hens healthy on a day-to-day basis is extremely important. 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.
Commercial poultry production facilities will often cull the hen laying a lash egg, mainly because it is good for the purpose of egg production. The all-business approach would be necessary if every hen needed to be a fully producing part of the operation. Most of us raising backyard chickens, however, are able to be a lot more lenient and take a wait, watch and see approach. The laying of a lash egg in and of itself, is not a contagious issue for the rest of the flock. However, the underlying problem causing the infection in the oviduct may be. Repeatedly finding lash eggs in the hen house should be a warning to check for signs of illness, and possibly further testing for the presence of contagious bacterial infections.
Lastly, any time you feel unsure of your chicken’s health consult a reputable avian veterinarian.
Have any of your hens produced a lash egg?