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Eggs with fishy taste! - Page 2

post #11 of 20

Dragon 16 posted this:  "I've had the same problem. In doing research, it's a genetic defect in a brown egg laying hen that causes the "fishy" smell and taste. It's called trimethylamine and it's when the hen ingests, canola, flaxseed or rapeseed. Choline chloride which is in most feed will not produce the fishy smell.(or at least diminish it) . I give my dogs the fishy eggs and they don't seem to mind. :) Rhode Island Reds and Barred Plymouth Rocks may have tis defect." 

(thread link http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/635753/fishy-smelling-egg#post_13960542 )

 

I wonder if it is something like ragweed or pigweed, lamb's quarter or what?  Here's my post from another thread, just copied and pasted here as my experience with fishy eggs: 
 

So frustrating having that smell/taste and not knowing what to do about it.  I ask every chicken person I come to, even the county extension agents, nobody knows.  We had chickens years ago, kept them in the next neighbor's old henhouse across the fence and free ranged in our yard and the pasture.  Every year during the growing season, we'd get a couple of hens laying fishy eggs.  I mean picked up fresh-laid same-day, not even hot days, and bring them in to crack in the pan and the smell would nearly blow you away!  We had to have 3 bowls out.  One to crack into then pick up and smell of it.  At one point I couldn't smell the fishy unless I forked the yolk and smelled of it that way, and that's not good if you wanted them fried sunnyside up.  2nd bowl on hand for if the first one received a stinky egg, because even the remaining moisture from the white of the first would taint the next one.  At that point, 1st bowl became the dump bowl for 'fishy'.  2nd bowl would have to be thoroughly rinsed out if it got a fishy egg.  3rd bowl for putting 'safe' eggs in to scramble or for mixing in baked goods recipe.  The fishy egg would ruin a cake or pancakes!

 After the growing season ended, no more fishy eggs until next late spring.  I thought there must be some bug in the henhouse litter that they were getting, but never found anything, and finally decided there must be some weed growing that they were eating.  But all my hens free range in my large yard, and I would only have 2 or maybe 3 out of over a dozen hens with that fishy smell.  If even one egg was fishy, it would ruin a dozen in the scramble pan.  I peeled a hardboiled egg the other day and the white tasted fine but I couldn't eat the yolk due to the fish taste.  I am not afraid of their safety, as I know my eggs are fresh, but I had customers in the past and I would warn them to crack in separate bowls and smell them.  I would make them good next time if they got fishy eggs.  But after a while it's embarrassing and customers drop off.  At this point with my hens, none of my green shells have been fishy, only a brown, so I think it's my production reds, and when one went broody and stopped laying, we didn't get any more fishy for quite some time.

 The fishy egg has no visible difference, no cloudy appearance, but in some you can smell it as soon as you crack the egg.  In others, as I mentioned before, it would have no odor until I broke the yolk with a fork, and even a hint of fishy would ruin the scrambled dozen if it got in there without me noticing!  I have eaten them before, forced myself with picante or something to mask the odor because I was so reluctant to waste anything, no problems with an intestinal nature, but I just can't do it again!

 I am not feeding them onion or garlic, fishy smell occurred long before I bought oyster shell, which doesn't stink, and they ALL eat that.  I feed milo and whole oats and they free range.  My family has corn allergy which is why we don't feed that and why we wanted our own chickens.  I used to feed wheat that was grown just down the road, but not with my latest bunch of chickens  We went probably 6 years without our own chickens and have started back with them again, now we have our own small henhouse in our yard and the hens don't go across the fence.  Whatever it is they are getting, it's in my yard.

9 WL, 4 Production Reds, 6 sold as 'ameraucana' but probably EEs, 4 BRs, 1 BMinorca. 2 BA, 2 BSL hens, 1 BSL roo.  2 white chicks with an occasional black feather from the BSL roo and the WL hens.  Three cats, one Border Collie, 3 college-age kids, and hubby.

 

Matt 23:24  You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

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9 WL, 4 Production Reds, 6 sold as 'ameraucana' but probably EEs, 4 BRs, 1 BMinorca. 2 BA, 2 BSL hens, 1 BSL roo.  2 white chicks with an occasional black feather from the BSL roo and the WL hens.  Three cats, one Border Collie, 3 college-age kids, and hubby.

 

Matt 23:24  You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

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post #12 of 20
wow did you finally get any answers to fishy eggs as you posted in Many osts with this problem....musta got somthing or still searching...?
post #13 of 20

Sorry for posting the same thing to so many places, but I wanted those who are searching for this topic to find an answer sooner than the time it took me!  Great thanks to Dragon16 for posting the research results.  I searched for the main words in her informative post and got the link I posted below.

When you are losing egg customers, and being frustrated by your own breakfast, the desperate searches pull up lots of questions with few definitive answers.  Most are saying flax seed and cruciferous plants like broccoli and mustard families, but they don't tell why, and some of us were never feeding those things anyway.  Apparently this report explains the problem is limited to brown egg layers like Rhode Island Red types, production red varieties and Barred Rocks, some of whom may have a mutation that prevents their digestive system from producing trimethylamine OXIDASE, which breaks down the fishy trimethylamine substance in other breeds.  I read a good deal of the report, not all, but enough to know that they claim some brown-egg-laying hens will produce a slightly fishy egg without being fed any of the suspected omega rich feeds, so they may be getting something in our yard weeds that breaks down in a similar fashion to produce the stinky compound.

 

I will now be scouring my yard for mustard type weeds and canola-looking plants.  I want my lamb's quarters and pigweed to flourish, but I may need to fence them off or try to transplant them to a restricted spot and fence that off.  My husband is so sensitive to the fishy smell that it puts him completely off his breakfast.  He hates having to break eggs in a separate bowl and then sniff them, and then fork the yolk just to make sure and sniff that!  He's on a completely different schedule than the rest of us.  I told him we had gotten no stinky green eggs yet, so he limited himself to those, and the rest of us had to do the sniff test!  Now I know why the green eggs and the white eggs have never been stinky!  They don't have the mutation!  We were getting maybe 3 or 4 fishy eggs/day out of a dozen brown layers at the worst point.  I read somewhere that Lohmans have developed a strain of brown egg-layers that don't have the mutation since the study came out.  That would be interesting.

 

The link in my previous post was for Dragon16's comment midway of the page.  The following link is for the paper I found on the research for that subject.  https://www.aecl.org/assets/RD-files/Outputs-2/DAQ-303AA-Final-Report.pdf  (titled:  Elimination of fishy taint in eggs from hens fed diets containing canola meal)   God bless.

9 WL, 4 Production Reds, 6 sold as 'ameraucana' but probably EEs, 4 BRs, 1 BMinorca. 2 BA, 2 BSL hens, 1 BSL roo.  2 white chicks with an occasional black feather from the BSL roo and the WL hens.  Three cats, one Border Collie, 3 college-age kids, and hubby.

 

Matt 23:24  You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Reply

9 WL, 4 Production Reds, 6 sold as 'ameraucana' but probably EEs, 4 BRs, 1 BMinorca. 2 BA, 2 BSL hens, 1 BSL roo.  2 white chicks with an occasional black feather from the BSL roo and the WL hens.  Three cats, one Border Collie, 3 college-age kids, and hubby.

 

Matt 23:24  You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Reply
post #14 of 20

fertility does not effect the taste of eggs at all..

post #15 of 20

  You are correct, in my experience, about fertility not affecting taste.

 

I finally found which egg consistently has the fishy smell during the growing season.  One of my Production Red hens lays a nice perfectly shaped egg that is fairly smooth texture and shiny and a consistently medium brown color, more so than the other brown eggs, and recognizable now that I inspect them.  Now if I just penned them up and find out which one lays that, I would not set any of her eggs except for broilers and that gene would die out here once she is past egg laying age.  I actually think it is the one that is broody right now, since I haven't had a smelly egg lately.  She's a good momma, so I don't really want to put her in the soup pot.  Some of my hens move from one nest to another (which means I should build a broody pen), but she is pretty solid.  Anyway, to recap, the brown egg layer breeds may have the gene that doesn't convert the omega rich feed to reduce the fishy taste.  White shell and green shell layers don't seem to have that mutation, still have the ability to convert to the non smelly form.

9 WL, 4 Production Reds, 6 sold as 'ameraucana' but probably EEs, 4 BRs, 1 BMinorca. 2 BA, 2 BSL hens, 1 BSL roo.  2 white chicks with an occasional black feather from the BSL roo and the WL hens.  Three cats, one Border Collie, 3 college-age kids, and hubby.

 

Matt 23:24  You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Reply

9 WL, 4 Production Reds, 6 sold as 'ameraucana' but probably EEs, 4 BRs, 1 BMinorca. 2 BA, 2 BSL hens, 1 BSL roo.  2 white chicks with an occasional black feather from the BSL roo and the WL hens.  Three cats, one Border Collie, 3 college-age kids, and hubby.

 

Matt 23:24  You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Reply
post #16 of 20

I had a quick sniff around Wikipedia and found that activated charcoal and copper chlorophyllin (marketed as internal deodorant) are used for humans who have this genetic mutation. If you definitely find the hen who's laying the fishy egg, you could try one or both of those to see if it works. Can chickens that eat fishy eggs metabolise the trimethylamine? I would guess so, since the mutation doesn't make the odorous substance, but rather prevents it from being metabolised.

post #17 of 20
Wow,

So many good replies to this thread. Thanks all.

Still, I have some questions.

Like many here, I changed my feed to one with canola meal (in my defense it was half the cost of the organic I'd been feeding) and my rhode island's started laying fishy eggs. (The cokoos seem unaffected.)

1. I need to know, are my reds doomed to lay fishy eggs forever or can I solve my problem by switching back to my original feed?

2. If the answer to 1. Is yes, how long will it take? A week? Two?

Anyone out there have experience with this?
post #18 of 20

We had slightly fishy smelling eggs.  Posted elsewhere here and the suggestion was fish meal or flax in the feed.  The fishiness went away fairly quickly, maybe within 2 or 3 weeks or so.  We didn't really change anything.  It may have been just the one bag of feed, or some wild bird feed that we were feeding them at the time.  So, to answer your question, it should subside fairly quickly.

Projects:  Coop 1  -  Coop 2  -  Brooder Warmer  -  Chick Feeder  -  Solar Ventilation  -  Lighting
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Projects:  Coop 1  -  Coop 2  -  Brooder Warmer  -  Chick Feeder  -  Solar Ventilation  -  Lighting
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post #19 of 20
Calgary Farmer

Thanks for the reply. I'm pretty sure mine was a result of changing feeds to one with canola meal. Switched back to my original local organic feed and haven't noticed a single fishy egg since.

Two more questions:

1 Pretty sure the chicken that laid the fishy eggs was the one in the flock that is currently molting. Could this affect a chicken's ability to handle canola meal or flax seed?

2 If flax seed is another trigger food, would you notice the same smelly effect from Sprouted Flax seed?

Any experts out there?
post #20 of 20

Glena Heywood

Soy Free Diets For Poultry
James Hermes, OSU Extension Poultry Specialist
Publish Date: Summer 2010
VolNo: Vol. V No. 3

In recent years, there has been interest by small scale poultry producers to not feed soybean meal to their chickens. The reasoning behind this trend varies but most producers have health concerns regarding soy for both their birds and humans eating poultry products, meat and eggs, from birds fed soy. In addition, there is concern that most soy produced in the US is a “genetically modified organism” (GMO); most soy has been genetically manipulated so that it is resistant to Roundup, a widely used herbicide. And finally, many are concerned that soy is not locally grown, most is grown in the Midwest and transported to the Pacific Northwest by rail car. This is of particular concern for those who consider themselves “localvores”, individual that prefer to only consume products produced close to home.

Why is soybean meal a major ingredient in poultry feed (about 30%)? For decades, soy has been known to be an excellent feed ingredient for poultry and other livestock; this is why it will be produced at levels expected to exceed 3.5 billion bushels in 2010. It is a high protein feedstuff (>45% crude protein) and it contains high levels of linoleic acid, an essential nutrient that is required in animal diets. Since it is so useful and available, the poultry industry has little interest in finding alternatives. Therefore there has not been a lot of work on other ingredients that may be adequate substitutes for soy. The question then arises, what is an adequate substitute.

First, an adequate substitute must have an adequate supply, have the proper nutrient levels and be affordable. So, what is available in the Pacific Northwest that is an adequate soy substitute?

In the past, animal products such as, fish meal, meat meal, meat and bone meal, blood meal, and poultry by-product meal have been used successfully in poultry diets. They are all high in protein and other nutrients; however, the supply has been reduced in recent years because feed mills that make feed for ruminant animals, cattle and sheep, can no longer use these products due to the potential of “Mad-Cow disease. Poultry are unaffected by this problem. Other issues with animal products include food safety and the potential of receiving contaminated product. And finally, organic production doesn’t allow the use of animal products in diets.

Cereal Grains

Cereal grains are typically low in protein, between 7% and 12%, and generally high in fiber. The energy level (starch) varies from very low (oats) to quite high (corn). Some cereal grains such as wheat and barley contain compounds that are not well digested by poultry and may need supplemental enzymes added to the feed to aid digestion if fed in levels above 10 or 20% in the diet.

Legume grains

This group includes the dry beans, peas, and lentils. Since soy is a legume these would appear to be an obvious choice. However, compounds including, tannins, oligosaccharides, and enzyme inhibitors that are found at high levels in most of these grains severely affect growth in poultry, especially in beans, with peas providing adequate growth at 30% in the diet or less. Since soy is processed with heat, these compounds are virtually eliminated as a problem. So with some processing, beans and peas may become a useable ingredient, more work is needed.

Other

Canola and Camilina, are relativelyPoultry new as a poultry feed ingredient but show some promise, however they are not without problems too. They are related to mustard and cabbage and as such they include compounds that can cause problems when fed to poultry. Canola, when fed at amount higher that about 10% in the diet, cause eggs produced by many brown egg layers to smell and taste fishy, and Camilina has a similar property and is only approved to be fed to broiler chickens as a level of less that 10%.

Conclusion

Poultry feeding is heavily dependent on soy as an ingredient. It will take some time to identify adequate substitutes that are locally produced and will support poultry growth and egg production. Unlike ruminants, which can thrive on forages, poultry require a balanced diet. Therefore, poultry diets must contain proper ingredients at the proper levels for productive chickens.
.

n recent years, there has been interest by small scale poultry producers to not feed soybean meal to their chickens. The reasoning behind this trend varies but most producers have health concerns regarding soy for both their birds and humans eating poultry products, meat and eggs, from birds fed soy...
smallfarms.oregonstate.edu
 

29-1/2 years Editor- Publisher of

NATIONAL POULTRY NEWS

OVER 60 YEARS RAISING

CHICKENS and ducks 

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29-1/2 years Editor- Publisher of

NATIONAL POULTRY NEWS

OVER 60 YEARS RAISING

CHICKENS and ducks 

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