Dark meat has fishy taste. Feed?

PastureMan

In the Brooder
Nov 21, 2020
9
15
18
Hello Everyone. This is my first post of many, I hope.

We're raising 25 Cornish Cross meat birds this winter in a high tunnel that we use for veg during the growing season. They're 5 weeks old now and they love roaming the entire 20x72 greenhouse during the day and sleeping in their "coop" which is made from wood pallets, cardboard, rigid foam and a tarp for the exterior. Two heat lamps are used at night which keeps their coop temp at around 55 degrees.

We've fed them the following since their arrival:

Nutri-balancer supplement
Organic Chicken Starter feed 1st 4 weeks.
Organic Chicken Grower feed at this point. I've purchased 5 40# bags of the organic chicken grower to take me through to butchering time or at least close to it. The Grower feed's first ingredient is corn. Then, in descending order: Flax, Fishmeal, Crabmeal.
I've also shredded beets and apples and have mixed a small amount of that into their rations.

They eat the feed as a fermented mash.

Here's the issue and what I hope to get any feedback on from anyone that may have experienced the same: We butchered one of the bunch yesterday which dressed out at a bit over 1.5 pounds (game hen size). I brined it and roasted it this evening. The dark meat had a subtle but noticeable fishy flavor to it. The white meat did not. I don't think I was imagining it. I do have a sensitive palate. I'm wondering if the high amount of flax, fishmeal and crabmeal imparted flavor into the bird.

It's a very disappointing thought that we might end up growing the rest of the birds to full weight, fill up our freezer and find out that we'll need to eat the birds with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.:( I'm also concerned that another 3-4 weeks of the same feed will result in the white meat having the same flavor.

Any help would be appreciated. Mainly I'm wondering if anyone else has actually experienced the same thing. I did a search and I came up with numerous posts about fishy tasting eggs, but no prior posts about fishy tasting meat from what I saw.

Thank you in advance.
 

PastureMan

In the Brooder
Nov 21, 2020
9
15
18
Thank you for the info. I'm wondering if I'm able to find another organic feed type that isn't heavy on those three things and feed them a different feed if the dark meat flavor will return to how it should be.
 

PastureMan

In the Brooder
Nov 21, 2020
9
15
18
^ It looks like the organic brand that a local farm store sells doesn't have fishmeal, crabmeal or a high amount of flax so I might buy some bags of that tomorrow and switch them over.

However I hate not to use the bags of this grower that I bought so maybe I'll think about finishing them with something else like corn that you mention.
 

blueberry1

Songster
8 Years
Mar 2, 2012
67
70
131
^ It looks like the organic brand that a local farm store sells doesn't have fishmeal, crabmeal or a high amount of flax so I might buy some bags of that tomorrow and switch them over.

However I hate not to use the bags of this grower that I bought so maybe I'll think about finishing them with something else like corn that you mention.
Can you return the unused bags?
 

PastureMan

In the Brooder
Nov 21, 2020
9
15
18
I'm not sure if I can return the unused bags or not yet. I'll find out on Monday. Otherwise I figure I can feed it as a supplemental feed in smaller quantity to the next flock of meat birds. My Dad lives nearby and I could always gradually feed the mash to his layers too.
 

PastureMan

In the Brooder
Nov 21, 2020
9
15
18
Yes it is. I noticed that early on when I'd mix the feed with water in the pails. If I used my bare hand, my hand would smell like I'd cleaned fish that day.:hmm
 

Tonyroo

Free Ranging
Mar 29, 2020
2,883
6,911
571
N. California
I would suggest getting another feed without fish meal and combine the non fish with what your using now so your not wasting perfectly good feed. It should mellow out the potent feed you have. But like the other person said, you really need to switch to corn feed 2 weeks prior to butchering.
 

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