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Fresh eggs smell rotten

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

I know this is extremely bizarre but in the past 2 weeks, one of our hens (not sure which one) is producing an egg that smells bad from the moment it's laid. 

At first, I thought maybe either she or the nest had had a broken egg in it previously which was causing the smell.  But that is not the case.

We have even started collecting eggs 2 and 3 times aday.  However, we keep getting one egg that smells rotten.   

We tried washing the eggs when we brought them inside but then we'd notice a bad smell every once in awhile while we were cooking them. 

Then I started breaking the eggs individually.  And sure enough, ever so often, one of them smells rotten even when we are gathering them practically as soon as they are laid; collecting immediately, washing & refrigerating immediately, too.

I have a pretty sensitive nose.  From the process of elimination that we've gone through (outside of figuring out which hen is the culprit) we have pretty much deducted that the smell is originating from inside the egg and working its way out to or through the shell.  When the egg is cracked outside of smell, there is nothing obviously wrong with the egg and none of them show signs of being fertile; no blood spot or embryo speck.

In 20 years, we have never come across this situation.  Has anyone else?  What is going on?

3 Aussies, 1 yellow lab/mix, 1 cat, 4 horses, more chickens than I really need, and an awesome husband.
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3 Aussies, 1 yellow lab/mix, 1 cat, 4 horses, more chickens than I really need, and an awesome husband.
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post #2 of 32

Wow, that's weird! I never cease to be amazed by all the interesting ways that eggs can go wrong. Egg-laying is a pretty fascinating process!

My questions are, how often does that particular chicken lay an egg?  And is every single egg that she lays a stinker?  And in what way does it stink - does it smell like sulfur, or funky in a different way?

I've read that what they eat can taint the taste/smell of their eggs. So maybe she's found a way to eat a particularly smelly food. Or maybe the food affects her differently than the others (I'm thinking of the "asparagus pee" phenomenon in people).

If it's a sulfur smell, and she only lays say one egg a week, then maybe it's getting stalled in her oviduct and going rotten before it comes out.  But if she's laying every day, that's probably not the problem.

Just brainstorming - sorry I don't have an actual answer, but I'll be watching this thread!

2 Buff Orpingtons (Martha and Ethel), one Rhode Island Red (Harriet), one Black Sex Link (Dolly), hatched March 24, 2009.
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2 Buff Orpingtons (Martha and Ethel), one Rhode Island Red (Harriet), one Black Sex Link (Dolly), hatched March 24, 2009.
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post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 

I'm not sure which hen is doing the laying.  I'd have to sit with them all day and crack each egg as it was laid. 

But I get one about every 2 to 3 days, so I am making the assumption that it is the same hen doing the laying. 

It smells rotten; not sulfery or anything else.  It smells like an egg that's not fertile and has been sitting under a broody hen when its broken open.  If the egg is allowed to stay in the nest for, say up to 6 hours, then you can smell it as you are gathering eggs; the shell smells rotten.  Apparently, when we gather more frequently throughout the course of the day, you can't smell it until you crack it open.


It is the craziest thing.  All the hens eat the same thing - same grain and same forage in my very well clipped & grazed horse pasture.  Due to drought, there isn't anything new growing out there - barely even grass.  The water source hasn't changed and it appears to be only one hen producing the rotten egg.  My husband kept accusing me of having a broken nose or not cleaning the skillet properly (as one morning, I could smell it as I was cooking it).  But as he was cooking this morning's breakfast I made him let me crack the eggs individually.  The third one I cracked had that smell.  When I made him smell it, he could smell it too and let me off the hook.

I like your idea of the egg getting stuck in the hen for a bit.  In this incredible heat wave we've been having this year, that seems like a possiblity.  I need to figure out which hen the problem is coming from.

3 Aussies, 1 yellow lab/mix, 1 cat, 4 horses, more chickens than I really need, and an awesome husband.
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3 Aussies, 1 yellow lab/mix, 1 cat, 4 horses, more chickens than I really need, and an awesome husband.
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post #4 of 32

Eurgh! And also, Neat!

Upon reflection, I think your problem isn't identifying the HEN, it's identifying the EGGS. Assuming this is just a seasonal problem, the combination of a slow "egg assembly line" inside her and the high temperatures.

Have you tried putting your eggs into a container of water before opening them?  I've heard you can tell fresh eggs from bad ones this way, because the bad eggs will float and the good eggs will sink .

Worth a shot to see if you can identify the stinkers this way before cracking them into the pan!

2 Buff Orpingtons (Martha and Ethel), one Rhode Island Red (Harriet), one Black Sex Link (Dolly), hatched March 24, 2009.
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2 Buff Orpingtons (Martha and Ethel), one Rhode Island Red (Harriet), one Black Sex Link (Dolly), hatched March 24, 2009.
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post #5 of 32

HEY LOOK!!! ---> UPCOMING FLORIDA Swaps/Sales/Shows/Events

---> Florida Fair Schedule 2013/2014 and  FLORIDA!!!!!ALWAYS SUNNY SIDE UP!!!

Heritage Rhode Island Reds, Rose Comb Rhode Island Whites and Rose Comb Rhode Island Reds

Member of the American Poultry Association &

Central Florida Poultry Breeders Association. NPIP Certified Participant

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HEY LOOK!!! ---> UPCOMING FLORIDA Swaps/Sales/Shows/Events

---> Florida Fair Schedule 2013/2014 and  FLORIDA!!!!!ALWAYS SUNNY SIDE UP!!!

Heritage Rhode Island Reds, Rose Comb Rhode Island Whites and Rose Comb Rhode Island Reds

Member of the American Poultry Association &

Central Florida Poultry Breeders Association. NPIP Certified Participant

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post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mechagrue 

Have you tried putting your eggs into a container of water before opening them?  I've heard you can tell fresh eggs from bad ones this way, because the bad eggs will float and the good eggs will sink .

Worth a shot to see if you can identify the stinkers this way before cracking them into the pan!


Tried the water thing this morning.  The stinker dropped to the bottom like a rock; just like the good ones.

The smell is the only thing that gives it away.  The rotten one looks exactly like a good egg even when cracked open.  The yolk & white are perfect but with an odor that makes breakfast seem like a bad idea.

But thanks.  Process of elimination continues......

3 Aussies, 1 yellow lab/mix, 1 cat, 4 horses, more chickens than I really need, and an awesome husband.
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3 Aussies, 1 yellow lab/mix, 1 cat, 4 horses, more chickens than I really need, and an awesome husband.
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post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmom 

Here are a couple of good sites that might help.

http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/library/lvstk2/ep127.pdf

http://www.thepoultrysite.com/ourbooks/1/egg-quality-handbook/


I bookmarked these links.  Thank you.  Very informative.  Everything but temperature control is in check here.  Unless I can get my husband to go for A/C in the hen coop (which most of the nesting boxes are actually outside underneath very large Arizona Ash trees; shadiest place around) I can't think of what else to do.  I have to wonder if its the heat but then, if so, why is only one hen affected?

When you consider that I keep birds for the egg production, this is quite a troublesome mess going on right now.  I don't even feel comfortable giving the eggs away right now and I can't eat 6 to 8 eggs a day.

It boggles the mind....


Thank you for the suggestions.  I do appreciate them.

3 Aussies, 1 yellow lab/mix, 1 cat, 4 horses, more chickens than I really need, and an awesome husband.
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3 Aussies, 1 yellow lab/mix, 1 cat, 4 horses, more chickens than I really need, and an awesome husband.
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post #8 of 32

Perhaps your sensitive nose can tell you which chicken is laying smelly eggs? Does she have a low level bacterial infection in her plumbing?

Eat local! Backyard food if possible!
8 Production Reds, 7 EEs (1 roo), 4 GLWs, 3 SLWs (1 roo), 1 Silky cross roo.
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Eat local! Backyard food if possible!
8 Production Reds, 7 EEs (1 roo), 4 GLWs, 3 SLWs (1 roo), 1 Silky cross roo.
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post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by siroiszoo 

Tried the water thing this morning.  The stinker dropped to the bottom like a rock; just like the good ones.


Damn!  And I didn't realize you're selling your eggs.  I agree with Uppity Peon, I think you'll have to try and figure out which hen is laying the bad eggs. Then you can try putting her in a separate pen to see if the problem clears up when the temperature drops, giving her medical treatment, or possibly culling (if you're a culling kind of chicken keeper - I'm not, but I can understand why people do, particularly if it's a business situation).

Do you have a way to divide your flock into smaller separate areas?  If you can divide the flock, then you just have to figure out which sub-group laid a stinker.  That would narrow down the number of possible culprits, anyway.

2 Buff Orpingtons (Martha and Ethel), one Rhode Island Red (Harriet), one Black Sex Link (Dolly), hatched March 24, 2009.
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2 Buff Orpingtons (Martha and Ethel), one Rhode Island Red (Harriet), one Black Sex Link (Dolly), hatched March 24, 2009.
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post #10 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mechagrue 

Do you have a way to divide your flock into smaller separate areas?  If you can divide the flock, then you just have to figure out which sub-group laid a stinker.  That would narrow down the number of possible culprits, anyway.


I may have to find away.  My baby Orps & Australorps are taking up the place I would use to seperate.  Good idea though, may have to think of a way to do that.

3 Aussies, 1 yellow lab/mix, 1 cat, 4 horses, more chickens than I really need, and an awesome husband.
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3 Aussies, 1 yellow lab/mix, 1 cat, 4 horses, more chickens than I really need, and an awesome husband.
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