Lash Eggs — Thank Goodness They’re Rare!

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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.

Basket of Happy

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!

Lash egg

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?

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14 responses »

    • I’m sorry I never responded! Glad the post helped — it gets more traffic than anything else on my blog, so apparently lots of people are seeing these. You’d think there would be more information out there on lashes, especially since finding one in your coop is really nothing short of traumatic! ☺ Just curious (and maybe you said this in your BYC post, which I’m going to read in a sec), but do you know which of your hens laid the one you found and how she’s doing? The sickly Buff Orp I mentioned died a few days later, and since I don’t think I’d ever lost a young adult bird to anything but a predator, I’ve always wondered if she laid the lash as a symptom of some underlying problem. Anyway, thanks for reading!

      • Hi Kerry,
        I actually had 2 hens exhibiting the same behavior and both laid a Lash egg. They both perked up after that, though one not quite as much as the other and she passed away within a week or so. She became more lethargic and did not want to eat or drink much. But my other girl is still with me and started laying eggs again about 2 weeks after laying the Lash egg. Giant eggs! She is getting close to 5 years old so is the oldest hen I have had. Since the Lash egg, and some soft shelled eggs following it, I have her on some vitamin D, yogurt and oyster shells mixed all together, once daily. That cleared up the soft shelled eggs. It took about 2 more weeks to get good hard shelled eggs after the Lash.
        With the few hens I have had, I have run into a few odd things, like one of my hens gradually lost the use of her legs but lived for another month, seemingly fine except she couldn’t walk, but the Lash egg thing was really odd. This blog is always my go to blog for information about sick hens and also researching everything else before I got hens.
        Thanks!

      • Hmm, so maybe that did have something to do with my Orp dying. Kind of wish I’d done a necropsy now! Thank you so much for the kind words — I hope I can get back into writing on a more regular basis.

      • Could be. It is so hard to know all the ailments that chickens can have and they hide it so well so it can be last minute before you even notice it. I took my surviving “lash egg” girl (Louise) to the vet today because she seemed to have an impacted crop. I emptied it last night and did the cooking oil down the throat thing and massaging and everything but it was full again this morning. She is either sleeping or drinking water constantly but not eating. The vet did an exam and an ultrasound and said it is not her crop but something further down and the prognosis was not good. So I brought her back home and gave her some cheese (she was interested in that and tried to eat some…its her favorite) and she is now standing in her “swimming pool” outside and I go out and put ice in it frequently because it’s 103 here today. I guess there is nothing more I can do for her but keep her as happy as possible and let whatever is going to happen happen. I hate that. I like more control. She has been my best laying, most social, best personality and longest living hen that I have had. She has always looked the scraggliest and been the smallest with the worst beak cut job of any I have seen (she was a factory rescue) but she will always have the most special chicken spot in my heart.

  1. This just happened to me for the first time yesterday; I got my hens in the Spring under the guise that the were (all four) good layers. They never all settled into a solid routine of laying. One even died suddenly after only a couple of months. Long story short, we now have two if the original golden comet hens & two wyandottes. The later are pretty consistent layers & one of the comets is now the best layer. I am not positive the comet I suspect is the lash layer, but all signs point to yes. The lash was surprising to say the least, but it was so odd that I was simply flabbergasted. The hen seems alright over all & I’m very curious to see if she will lay now since she has never been a good layer. So glad to have found out more information on the topic.

  2. my sussex hybrid has laid a curious thing today. not particularly gruesome, looked fleshy and pale, clean looking not mucky, only small. i thought rather large tapeworm segments but now sounds like a lash egg. i only have 3 hens of different type and no cockerel. they are not a year old yet and had as pol. she was a little down the other day and has had loose poo. she perked up after 24 hrs and then assuming her, popped that out. she seems ok in herself and her companions seem fine. she has been attacking and eating other chickens eggs which i put down to boredom as they spend more time in with the winter.
    so is she likely to need euthanising and what of her friends?

    • I’m sorry it took me a few days to get back to you! I found another post on what causes lash on The Chicken Chick’s site a few days ago, and she says it usually is a sign of problems to come. I do suspect now that the one I found was laid by the Buff Orp who died a few weeks afterwards, but it didn’t seem to cause any problems for the rest of the flock. I wouldn’t jump the gun to euthanize your hen unless you start seeing other symptoms or have photos of what she laid so that someone might be able to confirm it as a lash.

      With a warning that it contains some rather nasty photos, here’s the link to that article: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2014/12/salpingitis-lash-eggs-in-backyard.html

      Good luck, and I hope your hen improves!

  3. hello all,
    Its noce to find something on the net about lash eggs. I have had 5 chickens for 18 months and I had my first (and hopefully last) experience yesterday. It looked like two conjoined eggs (like siamese twins!) with one at nearly 90degrees to the other. When I split them apart it stank! Initially I thought the egg had been stuck for such a time that it had gone bad inside my hen. I discovered about lash eggs afterwards.

    I have to dissagree that a lash is not an egg. When I cut one of them in half there was a discernable yolk inside. I have photos, but dont know how to include them here. I would be happy to email if anyone is interested!

    My hen seems a little subdued, but is eating and drinking. There seem to be different stories regarding survival – some surviving and some dieing. Even some that say you should cull the flock.
    I am worried now …

  4. Hello again,
    just to update you on my chicken that laid the lash. She seemed to recover afterwards pretty well, but i soon realised she was no longer laying. After around 4 weeks, I noticed she was behaving oddly – not socialising with the others and resting more but she was eating a drinking. However I noticed that when she tried to run down the garden for some scaps, she looked like she had something between her legs! Another 4 weeks went past and she ended up hardly moving and struggling to get on her feet. I took the difficult decision to have her put to sleep.

    The vet said she had a huge something stuck and unable to lay. I assume it was another lash.

    I am new to keeping chickens so this was a sad day 😦

    Katy

    • I’m so sorry, Katy! I’ve had chickens off and on (mostly on) for about 25 years, and it’s still hard when I lose one unexpectedly. Hope you have smooth sailing with your other girls!

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