The Lash Egg.
Or, what the hell just came out of my chicken?

There is no end to the gross oddities that you’re exposed to when you have chickens. Chicken keeping is not for the faint of heart. Or fainters in general. Partly because of the lash egg.

Now I’m not a farmer. I’m a regular gal in a regular house with nice shoes, an affinity for gold plated flatware and expensive haircuts. I also have chickens. So my shoes get chicken crap on them and I once left the grocery store realizing I had a piece of straw sticking out of my expensive haircut. That straw had chicken poop on it.

So even though the chicken poop part of me could handle what I found in the nesting box the other day, the nice shoes part of me was aghast and disgusted.

When you have chickens, most days things go without incident. It’s just you and your gorgeous chickens as they romp in the straw, scratch in the dirt and dance in the sunshine (everything seen through a filtered lens in slow motion). No, seriously, they dance in the sunshine. For real. Then one day you go to the chicken coop and you find something new. Something unusual. Something horrifyingly gross.

Such was the case last Tuesday.

Last Tuesday I went to check the nesting boxes, (where the chickens lay their eggs) like I normally do.

nesting-box

 

And I found an egg like I normally do.

 

lash-egg-in-nesting-box

 

 

Only it wasn’t an egg, it was a horrifying rubbery blob.

I knew right away I had a problem. One of my chickens clearly needed an exorcism.  Barf.

Double barf.

 

 

The chicken owner part of me removed the offending rubber blob from the nesting box, but the gold flatware part of me refused to touch it.

 

This, dear readers, is a regular egg sitting beside a lash egg.

 

lash-egg-and-real-egg

 

A lash egg isn’t an egg at all, only it is.

I asked poultry vet Dr. Mike Petrik, The Chicken Vet, what the hell this is and what causes it.

This was our email exchange:

 

Dear Mike,

 

What the hell is this and do my chickens need an exorcism.  I have some sage around here somewhere and I think I can find a priest.

 

Karen Bertelsen

 

Dear Karen,

 

This is the result of an egg partly forming, then getting “hung up” in the oviduct.  If you squint, you can imagine that the bigger piece is the yolk and the funny shaped part is a collapsed membrane that is folded around some amorphous material.  The membrane is the part where the shell would have formed and the amphorous stuff is the protein from the egg white, once the water is removed.  

This often happens with sick chickens, since the first response to illness is to conserve resources.  The egg stops whereever it is in the process.  If you cut it open you can see the yolk is cooked.  The result of a fever.

It is quite possible that this is from Cuddles and is a sign that she is fully recovered and ready to come back into production.

 

Mike Petrik

 

Okey doke.  So let’s cut it open!

longpin

 

opening-lash-egg

 

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I’m losing count here but I think we’re up to triple barf.

 

 

opening-lash-egg-2

 

The inside of the disgusting lash egg.

 

dissected-lash-egg

 

And just as Mike predicted, some of it is cooked on the inside.

 

 

parts-of-lash-egg

 

Now let’s cut each half in half again.

 

lash-egg-gross

 

Now you can really see the eggshell membrane in there.

 

 

 

egg-shell-in-lash-egg

 

So this was definitely an egg that was just about finished forming when something went awry.

The morning after this happened, Cuddles was back in the nesting box but she didn’t lay anything. In fact she hasn’t laid anything since. But she seems to be happy and healthy.

Other than that whole head spinning around incident yesterday.

Meh.  I’m sure it was nothing.

The Lash Egg.<br data-lazy-src=

141 Comments

  1. Louise says:

    Oh, I’m so glad you cut it open – I just had to see what was in it! And then you cut it again (you wonderful woman) and scraped out the stuff so we could see the membrane. Fascinating stuff! I’ve sometimes been accused of having a morbid interest in things, so it’s nice to know there are other “weirdos” out there!
    (I’m sure it’s actually a mark of intelligence!)

    • Debbie says:

      Louise, here is something for your morbid interest in things: http://muttermuseum.org/. I took my middle son there over the summer and it is an awesome place. You would have enjoyed the special exhibit of art made from blood (though unless you knew it was blood, you wouldn’t know it was blood). We spent an entire day there and didn’t see everything. If you are ever near Philly, let me know – you can stay with us and I’ll take you! Oh, and it is definitely a mark of intelligence. :)

      • Louise says:

        Thank you so much, Debbie; it looks great! I’ve bookmarked the site to look at when I have some free moments. As for morbid curiosity, that’s how science and medicine make progress, right? I think a lot of “weird stuff” is an instinct in us to learn how to better our chances for survival. I’m sure that’s why people have listened to scary stories though the years; to learn what to do when the monster kicks in the door and snatches you up!
        Oh, and here’s a link for you! http://all-that-is-interesting.com/doctor-removed-own-appendix
        Maybe Karen should post something where we all send in our weirdest or scariest stories!

      • Debbie says:

        Thanks for the link, Louise. That was amazing – and in 1960! Morbid curiosity and battlefield medicine are how we learn. (As long as the morbid curiosity is civilized.) I like the idea of weird/scary stories. While I love the ER shows, I’m awful with suspense.

  2. Barbie says:

    Looks a little like a cheese omelet to me.

  3. Mary Edmondson says:

    P.S. What you spend on your haircuts is obvious because your bob (my favorite classic hair style) is stunning. Mine is long now, as doesn’t befit an old lady, but when it was your length and style for several years, it never looked as good because I don’t have that sexy neck/nape line in back. Strut your stuff Karen. You’re a stunner.

  4. Mary Edmondson says:

    Hmmmmmm. I wonder what that egg would taste like. (Image of me throwing up!!!) Aren’t animals fascinating? I have ants that inhabit nests made below a crack in my concrete patio and I watch them sometimes for several minutes as they go about their busy-ness. Lately I have been feeding them flies I steal from the spider webs in my yard and I put them and some dragon like slender insects right at the crack where armies immediately converge and salvage the treats in no time at all, forcing them down the crack and into their nest. The other day I put out a small tin with about 2 Tbsps of peanut butter. They love it and the PB is already about half consumed. As a reward for their industry tongiht, I gave them fruit flies that I caught by leaving a bit of wine out in a glass. So tonight they had wine with their dinner. It doesn’t take much to amuse me. Do you suppose at age 75 I might be a tad senile?

    On another subject, as soon as I open your posts, I click on the X of the banner ad at the bottom to get rid of it. Easy peasy and no more blinking and bothering.

    • CeCe says:

      I get a vision of you with your loyal army of ants protecting you. Or perhaps taking revenge on your enemies – Ben, the loyal rat pal. Hey, it could happen!

  5. Cynthia says:

    Yikes! That is worse than a Thunder Egg, which is half poop and half egg. Enormous and gross. Bigger than anything that should come out of a chook’s bum.

    I keep imagining the feeling of resistance as you chopped through it with the paint scraper, right through to
    the bottom…..and the reddish bloody looking bits. Not sure I can eat dinner tonight.

    My last lot of silkies did thunder eggs all over my patio and it was so traumatic I sent them off to live with a nice little boy in the country. (that is not a euphemism for chopping their heads off, I am not lying.)

    • Karen says:

      LOL. Here’s hoping the roosters have the same fate. The boy in the country that is. Not thunder eggs. ~ karen

    • Stef says:

      Hi, can you tell me more about this thunder egg? I cannot find any info at all online but am interested, I have had chickens for years and never heard of this.

  6. Auntiepatch says:

    Gross and funny, too!

  7. Luanne says:

    And yeah. It does look a little like a breakfast wrap. Or huevos rancheros.

  8. Luanne says:

    Whew. Gross. I feel like we just bonded, there. Like… gross like popping someone else’s zit. That’s bonding.

    (I was enthralled. And grossed out.)

  9. Grammy says:

    That’s disgusting and fascinating. Thanks for the science lesson.

    I ‘d like to know when Dr. Mike Petrik gets an international prize for being such a genius. Really. Who else could have described so perfectly what you would find inside? Seriously. Tell Dr. Mike he’s got a fan club, even though most of us down’t live with chickens.

    And yay, Cuddles!

  10. Shelley says:

    Although this is rather disgusting, I am also finding great hilarity from this post. Karen, you just have a way with words!!! Enough said.

  11. Nicole says:

    Karen,

    That was highly educational and disgusting, but I am curious and probably would’ve cut it open too! Now I can’t wait to make eggs soon!

    Thanks,

    Nicole :)

  12. Vanessa says:

    Rollerblading Christ, KAREN.
    Now I can never eat eggs again.

  13. Meghan says:

    It looks like an egg, cheese, & tomato sandwich… which will be repulsive to me from now on. :(

  14. Stephbo says:

    A little gross, but absolutely fascinating that a fever cooked it. Thanks for sharing it!

  15. Missnicoleo says:

    Sigh. I was planning all day to have a fried egg sandwich for breakfast tomorrow. And now that is ruined.

  16. Shuckclod says:

    That was interesting :) I guess it’s like a miscarriage. Peta says eggs are their periods. Whatever they are yummy.

  17. Michelle R. says:

    COOOOOOOOOL! Just saying.

    • Louise says:

      You are a sick woman, Michelle! But I guess I am too, because I agree . . . COOL!

    • Ruth says:

      I kinda thought it looked like a child’s rubber toy (and pondered its bounce-ability) before she hacked it open. The crafty part of me wanted to get some Sharpies and googly eyes and get busy. :D

      Since I don’t even eat eggs in the first place, this was a nice ‘science-y’ activity. Hah! ;-)

  18. victoria says:

    Oh gross!!!! That is truly disgusting looking! So has Cuddles not laid any eggs since she got sick?
    That image makes me want to vomit.

  19. Sherry says:

    EEEEEEYUK! I still can’t look at the thing. I used to keep chickens and the girls laid an occasional soft shell. But I have never seen anything like that. I would have had to wear gloves to even touch that. Here’s hoping Dr. Mike is right and it’s a sign Cuddles is all better.

  20. Pati Gulat says:

    So this is how I am ending my day….looking at something that is truly nauseating….but I’ll take one for the team as long as Cuddles is doing well ! LOL

  21. Tracey says:

    Hi Karen,
    I’m really, REALLYglad that cuddles is feeling better.
    I won’t be eating eggs again for a really long time.
    I’m kind of allergic to them, but I do like the taste. Soooo, this was all I needed to quit.
    Thanks Karen! :-)

  22. Lin says:

    Well that was a grossly facinating and interesting post! I was happy living in my fantasy of cute little balls of feathers hopping about and giving us those lovely little orbs of tasty goodness. I’ll probably have nightmares now. Thanks so much….While I’m here…have I mentioned how very annoying the floating ad at the bottom of the screen when one opens your blog is? It’s damn annoying. ( I know why it’s there and what it does, doesn’t make it less annoying tho) OK, I feel better now.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lin. I’m not very fond of that ad either Lin. But … I have no idea how to get rid of it. Swear to God. It only happens on mobile devices. That much i know. I tried to get rid of it in Google a while ago but … it’s still there. Believe me I’d get rid of it if I could figure it out. ~ karen!

  23. Kent Major says:

    At first glance of the cut open lash egg it looks like a breakfast wrap from McDonald’s!

  24. Kim from Milwaukee says:

    Ok, I should put a picture of that on my fridge…I’ll never be hungry again.

    Glad Cuddles is feeling better!

  25. Zoe says:

    Well firstly woohoo Cuddles is almost 100% recovered.
    Am I maybe a little scarred but more educated from those pictures – absolutely.
    However it definitely helped keep me awake while nursing my non-sleeping child. Hoping for happy Cuddles is great dreams when I get to go back to sleep and not lash egg nightmares !!

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