The grossest egg your hens will ever lay October 21, 2016
While most of the eggs your hens will lay are going to be very normal, to start off October on a Halloween-ey note, I thought we’d take a moment to discuss the grossest egg you’ll ever see from your flock… if you enter the Twilight Zone!
BWA-HAHAHAHA! (That was my evil laugh.) But the tale I’m going to tell you is true.
Hens will lay some strange-looking eggs from time to time in the darkness of their nests. Here’s how it happens: Within their secluded and private nesting chambers, your feathered fiends enter their egg trance. Their eggs are laid after some labor and effort, after which they emit that mad, bloodcurdling egg cackle! Okay… it’s not exactly blood-curdling, but work with me here.
Your feathered friends may lay eggs with ridges on the shell, or calcium “pimples.” Sometimes eggs can be misshapen. Sometimes they may be tiny “witch eggs,” or gigantic eggs with blood on the shell (poor girls!). You might find blood spots on the inside. You might see a soft egg–all membrane and no shell! Or you might get an egg within an egg.
Icky! How’m I doing? I just want you to be in the Halloween mood.
The grossest egg
The grossest egg your hens will ever lay, however, is the infamous LASH EGG. Although this post is clearly tongue in cheek over-dramatic, I promise you calling it “the grossest” is really not an exaggeration.
Behold, child of Franken-hen!
“Lash” egg is probably the creepiest names anyone could come up with, evoking thoughts of whips and punishment. Where did that name come from? I have not been able to find any etymology, except that these have been referred to as “lash eggs” since at least 1830.
In fact, the production of a lash egg could mean your hen is ill with salpingitis… because what she has laid is not an egg at all. This fleshy mass takes on the shape of an egg, because it passes through her reproductive system. It consists of parts of the lining of her reproductive tract, plus pus and other disgusting materials that can be the consistency of cheese or cooked yolks. Cut open, it can unfurl like fleshy ribbons, with layers like some accursed onion-of-the-damned, or a tell-tale artichoke heart.
I make light, because this is an Octobery, Halloween-ey post, but in truth salpingitis is a serious matter, essentially the Pelvic Inflammatory Disease of poultry. It’s a potentially fatal infection caused by a viral or a bacterial infection in the oviduct. You may think you need to call in a priest for an exorcism, but you should really consult a vet if your hen lays a lash egg–and do it as soon as possible.
It does happen sometimes that a lash egg is a one-time occurrence, a relatively minor infection from which your hen may recover, but it is more likely to be serious and need treatment. If your vet diagnoses your hen with a bacterial infection, she could respond to antibiotics if you’ve caught it early enough. So, your Hen Horror story could have a happy ending.
The bottom line is: if you get a lash egg, don’t freak out.
I take that back… feel free to freak out a little. But remember your hen may be saved with help from your veterinarian, and in the future this whole nightmare could just make for a good scary ghost story to share among your chicken friends.
Please tell us about your lash eggs (or scariest eggs) below in the comments. If you have a good photo of a lash egg, we’ll be happy to post it here. Just email your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll credit you.