Occasionally you may come across an abnormal object in your nest box that is neither egg nor dropping. Usually, this is yellow or flesh-coloured and looks at first glance like a lump of sausage meat (see below). Yeuch! This is commonly known as a lash.
Lash eggs result from 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. This pus may or may not contain yolk, albumin (egg white) egg shell, egg membrane, blood or pieces of tissue from the ovarian wall. It usually signals a hormonal change and it is not uncommon to find your hen will go off lay soon after passing one and she may or may not come back into lay.
Lash eggs can take many different forms and you might even find them among the other eggs in the nest box.
What Should I Do If My Hen Lays a Lash Egg?
Although visually seeing lash eggs can be a cause for concern. Seeing a lash is not a sign that your hen is going to die – it isn’t part of her anatomy – in fact, a hen can pass a lash on a regular basis and still maintain a good quality of life.
As lash eggs are the result of an infection, it is advised to contact your vet as antibiotics can be prescribed and be helpful in ruling out infection and a hormone implant to take her off lay is also something to consider.
Are Lash Eggs Preventable?
As with owning any pet, practising good animal husbandry is helpful in preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses that result in salpingitis. As well as cleaning out the coop, run and nest boxes, ensure that your hens are getting a healthy diet and free-ranging when possible. It may be beneficial to introduce Apple Cider Vinegar to your hen’s water as it provides enzymes and important minerals and vitamins in the form of Bioflavonoids, and is widely recognised as a great all-around tonic for hens.