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Eggs with fishy taste! - Page 2

post #11 of 19

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 19
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 19

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 19

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

post #15 of 19

  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 19

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 19
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 19

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
Reply
post #19 of 19
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?
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