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

(Warning. Graphic Content.)

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

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.

lash-egg-1

 

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

Double barf.

 

lash-egg-2

 

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 what I’ve come to find out is 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 is 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.




138 Comments

  1. 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 !!

  2. 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!

  3. Kent Major says:

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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! 🙂

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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. 😀

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

  10. Shuckclod says:

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

  11. Missnicoleo says:

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

  12. Stephbo says:

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

  13. Meghan says:

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

  14. Vanessa says:

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

  15. 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 🙂

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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.)

  19. Luanne says:

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

  20. Auntiepatch says:

    Gross and funny, too!

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. Barbie says:

    Looks a little like a cheese omelet to me.

  25. 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.

  26. Karen says:

    I have always known it was a bad idea to eat those things. This is what most eggs look like to me. Which is why I prefer mine well hidden by lovely crusts and cheeses and veggies.

  27. Jane says:

    Great post! This may not have been the most pleasant post however we got an education along with your hilarious humor. I loved learning something and having fun. You would have been a great teacher!

    Thanks,
    Jane

    • Karen says:

      Well that’s what I’m doing now Jane. Teaching. 🙂 And I had a HUGE amount of fun teaching my how to turn your blog into a business course last week. ~ karen!

  28. Catherine says:

    I have to agree about your haircut, in fact I took your pic to my hairdresser who laughed because my hair is fairly thin and wavy and obvs would not work. But a girl can dream eh?

    I was drinking coffee when I steeled myself to look at the egg monster – it looks like an embryo doesn’t it? I am now not going to have an egg for breakfast. Just to be on the safe side. Bit queasy…..

  29. Carole Larose says:

    Really-that was fascinating.
    All I can say is Cuddles must be feeling so much better after passing that Blob! Phew!
    Do a little dance , get down tonight’

  30. I love how the vet refers to your Cuddles by name!

  31. Kim C. says:

    Oh no she’s at it again! I kept telling myself, ”Don’t do it, don’t scroll through the pictures.” Your way with words kept curiously stringing me along though, from one ewwwy image to the next. Okay it was fascinating, if only with one eye open! I’m sure I’ll still be gagging when I bake cookies later…that paint scraper coming down…shudder.:-)

  32. Jody says:

    I didn’t find that gross at all. Interesting actually. Great explanation from Dr Petrik.

  33. Beth says:

    Excellent post! (and your pics are fabulous, btw). I teach science to home-educating families (lifelong learning starts early) and love to find other seemingly-normal adults who are fascinated by nature/science/critters. Science rules!

  34. Tigersmom says:

    Did no one else see a badly preserved (in bleach, apparently) severed penis sitting in hay when they saw this?

    I usually pore over your pics, but you could have hidden gold and diamond encrusted pigs in these and I would not have lingered long enough to notice.

    I hope you keep disposable gloves on hand at all times. I would have needed ten foot tongs. And I would have never been able to cut it open.

    Go Cuddles!

    • BethH says:

      Yes! That’s what I saw, only the severed penis was preserved in vinegar! As a science experiment, I used to put a whole egg in a jar of vinegar and it would turn so rubbery that you could actually bounce it. The two images sort of merged in my mind. When that image cleared, I thought, “Wow, I bet that came out of Cuddles! ” I’m glad you cut this open; it looks just like I thought it would on the inside, what with my experience in rubber eggs and all.

    • Carol says:

      I saw a penis, too. And I was wondering about what it said about me. I’m glad to know I’m not alone!

  35. Su says:

    I usually love what you share with us…. this though I could have past on…. I zipped by the pics and I’m still grossed out…. yuck… but I’m glad that Cuddles seems to be on the mend…..

  36. Erica Filpi says:

    I was thinking about getting chickens.. Then I saw this post, thank you for making that decision so much easier. I’m going to barf now.

  37. Beckie says:

    That was fascinating.

    And not gross. At All.

    what does that say about me??

  38. Dagmar says:

    I found that to be very educational. I guess I’m not grossed out, because I am a vegetarian, though not a vegan so I do eat cheese, and mayo sandwiches. But I wonder- where exactly do all of you people think that your hamburgers, or steaks, or pork chops, or crab cakes, or bacon bits, or really anything that is just delicious comes from? Well the animals that are part of that process sometimes have a hiccup or some gross anomaly happen to them. You just know nothing about it. Don’t kill the messenger.

  39. Ev Wilcox says:

    Just back from hugging the porcelain convenience. Well, mentally anyway. Poor Cuddles. She must have been miserable. Glad “the thing” is out of her. Yikes! You are a good poultry mama.

  40. Lynne says:

    I feel compelled to note that you used a putty knife/paint scraper to dissect that thing rather than a piece of cutlery you would use for food. Good call.

  41. Laura says:

    For some reason this just didn’t gross me out! It was near how the egg is cooked from a fever! But poor Cuddles. I hope this means she’s back on track!

  42. Jane P says:

    Educational, hilarious, and Gross! There is something interesting that happens when one does not know if they want to look…but you do… and then yuck and yuck again…but really interesting!!

    So glad your Cuddles is feeling better, chickens are pretty amazing.

  43. Meghan says:

    Oh my god that is SO disgusting!!! I hope it’s from Cuddles and that does mean she’s all better! I have never seen nor heard of such horrible things!

  44. Diana says:

    That would scare the shit out of me… uhhhh. More thinking about the x-files then exorcism….
    (on the 2nd Pic it looks like a penis ;o) Helloween, here we go!

  45. Jan In Waterdown says:

    Cringeworthy!
    :-/

  46. Jan In Waterdown says:

    OK me again . . . I just googled “lash egg” and Karen, I gotta tell ya your blog is right near the top! Does that get you some kind o’ bragging rights? And if y’all want to see more disgusting, barf inducing pics, click on images! I’m going to take a shower now.

  47. Jebber jay says:

    oh my. :o/ Welcome back cuddles. :o) <3

  48. Rondina says:

    I’m glad I just had toast for breakfast.

  49. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    I nearly gagged sitting here at my desk…at work…twice. That is probably the grossest thing I have ever seen. Pure YUCK! However, I did find this post most interesting. Thank you for preparing me for when I can have children, I mean chickens. My children think I’m crazy wanting chickens. Just wait till the grandkids come over and think I’m the coolest cause they got to gather fresh eggs from the coop. Thanks, Karen!

  50. Teresa says:

    Wow! Won’t be eating an omelet anytime soon after this one. Hey, you warned us! Thanks for the information….I think!

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