Answered by poultry vet Victoria Roberts BVSc MRCVS

Question: I have a four-year-old Light Sussex who recently started laying things that look like sausages. The first one had what looked like a cooked yolk inside, since then just skin with a sticky coating. What is it?

Answer Victoria says: When a hen is coming out of lay, some anomalies are bound to happen. The normal body temperature of a hen is 40-42°C, which is enough to ‘cook’ (change the proteins) of a yolk if it has stayed inside the hen for too long without the protection of the shell. Also, what you have seen (‘sausage-like’ items) are in fact solidified egg white (albumin). The reason that it is brownish is that it has probably been in the oviduct longer than the normal few hours until the shell would normally be added – you can see similar colour appear if you leave an open egg in a warm place for a few days.

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