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. Yeuch! This is commonly known as a lash.
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, 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.
Antibiotics prescribed by your vet may prove helpful to rule out infection and a hormone implant to take her off lay is also something to consider.
Passing 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.
If you would like to ask Gaynor a hen health question please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Hen Central on 01884 860084.