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.
Lash Eggs (Salpingitis)
- Often non-specific.
- Weight loss.
- Ruffled feathers.
- Enlarged abdomen.
- Soft shell, caseous or inspissated eggs passed.
- Usually none other than finding the object in the nest box.
- 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. This pus may or may not contain yolk, albumen (egg white), egg shell, egg membrane, blood or pieces of tissue from the ovarian wall (Dr Annika McKillop DVM MSp VM DACPV).
- It usually signals a hormonal change and it is not uncommon to find your hen will go off lay soon after passing a lash egg, and she may or may not come back into lay.
- Passing a lash egg as a one-off occurrence is not in itself a cause for concern. If other symptoms develop veterinary guidance should be sought.
- Passing a lash egg is not a sign that your hen is going to die, in fact a hen can pass a lash on a regular basis and maintain a good quality of life.
- Taking the hen off lay will eliminate the hormonal factors that may be creating the lash eggs; your vet will advise on this and may offer a hormone implant to prevent further egg production.
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