This is a basket full of perfection fresh from the coop at my parents’ house last month. In the background, you can see my nephew apparently being crept up on by a giant bee while he waits for his turn at the Slip’n’Slide. Kind of bizarre. Also, in the upper left, you can see the big flat rock where Ben and I got married eight years ago next month. Anyway, what’s in this basket is what’s supposed to come out of chickens.
What’s next is what came out of one of my chickens recently. Warning: it could be considered graphic. If you get grossed out easily, stop scrolling now! You’ve been warned!
The hens would probably have eaten it if I hadn’t been in the run when it was, um… laid? Exorcised? From its mother’s womb untimely ripped? Whatever. A couple of chickens were scratching in one spot, and when they moved on, one of them had left this behind. At first, I thought it was a large but normal egg. Then I got closer and actually saw it. And then I picked it up. Not because I really wanted to, mind. I just knew if I didn’t, it would get torn apart pretty quickly, and I wanted a chance to study the thing.
After some Googling (“weird egg,” “hen laid ovary,” “hen laid alien life form,” etc.), I figured out that it’s called a lash egg, or just a lash. There are several posts on Backyard Chickens about similar occurrences, but I found this one most informative. The original poster did some research after finding out a name for the thing and then shared this:
“Experience of hard-core chicken keepers (official experts enough, imho) seem to suggest it is a sloughing off of the reproductive system, usually thought to be lining. It is discussed on forums in hens of all ages but evidently going though either a hormonal change at the beginning or end of their laying production period overall. Sometimes lash is connected to a stressful incident that caused them to stop laying for awhile or a change from broodiness to laying again. Hormonal changes seem key in producing lash. What “lash” material actually is, is debated. Photos show various textures and sizes which make it extra hard to pin down. I suspect “lash” is a broad term used to describe anything that comes out of the hen’s reproductive tract (usually coated with a rubbery layer of material in pink to yellow hues) that is not easily identified. It is obviously flesh material, though, and not egg.”
Seems to sum it up pretty well. I don’t know which hen produced the lash, so I can’t say if she’s laying or not. I do have one Buff Orp that’s acting a little “off” right now, but she’s only been like that for a few days, and the lash was laid several weeks ago.
Has anyone else had a lash experience?