What is a Lash Egg? Causes and Treatment

lash egg chicken featured image
A lash egg is a nasty-looking mass of pus, tissue, and yolk-like substance and can be a sign of an underlying health issue. This rare phenomenon is also known as a rubber, inspissated or caseous egg and is expelled by a laying hen in the same way as a normal egg.

Ever come across a lash egg? Chances are you haven’t seen one yet even if you have been keeping chickens for years. Although it is a rare occurrence, a lash egg can be a symptom of a serious illness in laying hens.

Here’s everything your need to know about lash eggs and what you should do as a backyard chicken owner.

What Is A Lash Egg?

The first time you come across a lash egg in your chicken coop or nest boxes, you’ll be shocked.

A lash egg is a nasty-looking mass of pus, tissue, and yolk-like substance and can be a sign of an underlying health issue. Other names include rubber, inspissated or caseous egg and affects chickens between 2 and 3 years old.

Although it’s called a lash egg and has the appearance of a normal egg, a lash egg is not an actual egg.

This mass is produced when a chicken loses part of her oviduct lining. as such, the hen lays a combination of pus, tissue, and other substances in one egg-shaped object.

Lash eggs are egg-shaped because they pass through the hen’s reproductive system.

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A lash egg is caused by salpingitis, an infection and inflammation of the oviduct. The condition results from a viral or bacterial infection that reaches the hen’s oviduct.

Causes Of Lash Egg

As mentioned above, lash eggs are caused by a viral or bacterial infection known as salpingtis that leads to the inflammation of the chicken’s oviduct.

The infected chicken’s immune system responds by attempting to ward off the inflammation with rubbery pus—which may or may not include egg yolk, egg white (albumen), blood, tissue, egg membrane or egg shell.

It typically indicates hormonal changes and the hen may or may not return to its egg-laying cycle.

Although the exact cause of salpingitis is still unknown, possible risk factors include:

  • Overcrowding: overcrowded chickens are at risk of catching salpingitis since it is said to be contagious.
  • Viruses and bacteria: salpingitis is caused by viruses or bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella. These microbes enter the hen’s birth canal before making their way into the reproductive tract. Infections can also move to the oviduct via the bloodstream and affect other internal organs.

The signs and symptoms of salpingitis and lash egg include:

  • Malformed or shellless eggs
  • Excessive thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Ruffled feathers
  • Lethargy
  • Bloody, soft-shelled eggs
  • Wrinkly egg shell
  • Trouble breathing
  • Thin or pale egg white
  • Reduced activity
  • Abnormal walking style
  • Reduced egg production

Preventing a Lash Egg

A lash egg does not spell doom for your hen. In fact, a hen can expel lash eggs regularly and still enjoy a high-quality life, although salpingitis is difficult to prevent.

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Good husbandry can help prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria that cause salpingitis. This includes:

Many backyard chicken keepers also add apple cider vinegar to their hen’s water to keep it clean and improve their hens’ immune systems.

Preventing your hen from laying can also help eradicate the hormonal issues that may be casing your hen to pass lash eggs. Contact your vet for professional advice on this as they may recommend a hormone implant to help stop egg production.

Treating a Lash Egg

It’s possible to treat salpingitis with antibiotics. In backyard flocks, however, it can be difficult to identify the hen that produced the lash egg as chickens are good at hiding sickness.

Salpingitis can sometimes be spotted by assessing the bird’s abdomen. In a healthy hen’s abdomen, you can feel an egg in her oviduct. However, it should not feel hard, watery or bulging.

If you suspect your hen is infected, take her to your vet immediately for treatment. Your vet can give you professional advice on how to use the antibiotics and how long you should wait until you start eating the eggs again.

Many backyard chicken keepers who come across lash eggs will simply give their hens time to fight off the infection. Birds with strong immune systems generally get through this phase just fine.

You can assist your hens by cleaning the chicken coop and nest boxes, providing fresh feed and drinking water and minimizing stress triggers.

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Is a lash egg a serious health problem?

Salpingitis or lash eggs can be a serious health condition. The inflammation can be due to an infection or an underlying illness. Sometimes when the lash egg is found, the chicken may be too ill to be successfully treated (and may die as a result), or it may be a one-time incidence.

Are lash eggs safe to eat?

No. Lash eggs are a combination of pus and other layers of material, and you certainly wouldn’t want to eat them.

Can Lash Egg or Salpingitis Kill Chickens?

Salpingitis is definitely bad news for your hens but is unlikely to be a death sentence for them. The problem may have been hiding in the hen for weeks or months. If an infected hen makes a full recovery, she may not be able to lay eggs again since the infection may result in infertility.

Patrick Anampiu

Patrick is an avid pet lover and passionate writer who enjoys crafting stories and feels most alive when telling stories about people whose lives have been enriched by their pets. He enjoys adding more chickens to his flock and loves sharing insights on how to take better care of pets and other animals in our lives. When not writing and raising chickens, Patrick enjoys traveling and exploring nature in all its beauty.

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