Is this a tumor?


Sustainable Newbie
Sep 22, 2020
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I was processing out some old hens that weren't laying or were teaching the younger ones to eat their eggs today, and one of them had a very strange growth inside. This was right above the vent once I cut inside and was sitting on top of all of the other organs (while laying on its back). I could feel it when attempting to grab under the breast bone but just thought it was a lot of fat until I got her open and saw how dark it was. I carefully took it out and then decided to throw out the whole bird due to not knowing what it was. Here are two pictures showing my hand for scale and then with it cut open. It felt like holding a deer heart and was quite heavy, relatively speaking. I've definitely not seen anything like it in any of our other birds. My thought was a tumor or an enlarged organ.


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Mountain Sage
Jul 12, 2008
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Mountains of WV
Yep...tumor. FYI, chickens eat eggs mostly a couple of times a year...and this is one of those times, during molt. Egg shells thin as chickens come into and out of laying cycles, so they get damaged easily and this causes the chickens to clean up the nests, which is a good instinct and isn't a bad behavior that needs to be corrected. It's natural and chickens don't "learn to eat eggs"...they are born knowing how and will opportunistically eat any egg that is damaged.

Just wait a couple of weeks and egg shell glands line out during these seasons...either regular laying cycles even out or the bird stops laying altogether. Older birds that no longer lay a regular cycle each spring during peak season will start laying irregularly and their egg shells will be thin for a long your bird with the tumor. That tumor is a reproductive tumor, most likely, and she's likely eating eggs because her egg's shells are thin and brittle.

A good way to avoid that is to cull all birds that do not lay daily or every other day during peak laying season(end of March/beginning of April to end of July/beginning of Aug.). This will eliminate birds that would be likely to develop laying issues like thin shells, egg tumors, etc.