BDN speaks with Lichtenwalner about lash eggs

The Bangor Daily News spoke with Anne Lichtenwalner, director of the University of Maine Animal Health Laboratory and associate professor of animal and veterinary sciences, for the article “If a chicken’s egg doesn’t look quite right, it could be a lash egg.” A lash egg is not an egg at all, but an egg-shaped expulsion of tissue and yolk-like material that is a symptom of coliform salpingitis, the inflammation of the oviduct and uterus of a bird due to a bacterial infection, according to Lichtenwalner. The disease is one of the most common causes of mortality in commercial layer and breeder chickens, but is treatable and not necessarily fatal, the BDN reported. Poor ventilation, respiratory diseases and overcrowding, among other stressors, may contribute to the illness. “It’s not contagious. It’s not going directly from bird to bird, but it’s often being concentrated in the environment because the environment isn’t maintained the way it should be,” said Lichtenwalner. To prevent disease, she recommends keeping nesting boxes and coops clean and collecting eggs with gloves. Other preventative measures include feeding the chickens healthy food, allowing them plenty of movement and exercise and reducing stressors whenever possible, the article states. If a chicken does contract the disease, some owners may want to let it fight the illness on its own, while others may take it to a veterinarian for antibiotics. “The veterinarian can give the farmer good up-to-date information about how to use the drug and how long to wait until you can eat the eggs or meat again,” Lichtenwalner said.