Fishy Smell in Eggs

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Cathy in the Catskills, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. Cathy in the Catskills

    Cathy in the Catskills Hatching

    Nov 30, 2008
    HELP! I have 3 Barred Rocks and 3 Rhode Island Red. I've had them since the middle of April. They have been laying and everything has been great! All of a sudden, the eggs smell (and a few taste!! YUCK!!) fishy! They are free-range chickens...

    How did this happen and what can I do to fix it????

    Thank you for any help you can give me!

  2. I think but I'm not sure, that it has something to do with their diet. If they are acting normal, pooping normal, eating normal, and look healthy (and I mean look, close up at them while holding them, give them all a once over, check their eyes, vent area, legs for scales/mites, etc.). I would then assume they have gotten into some tasty thing that is affecting their eggs. Or perhaps you have given them some tasty treat lately?

    *edited to add; How is the color of the eggs, are the whites white and the yolks nice and yellow? Anything on the outside shells when you collect them?
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2008
  3. OH and [​IMG] !
  4. I've noticed that cabbage can do that and Brussels Sprouts...common forage this time of year. Kale?

    Seems to go back to normal when they get a different treat...

  5. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    . . . a little too much fishmeal in the feed . . . or flax seed

    They may not have had a change of feed, just eating more of it because of the loss of free-range food with the onset of cold weather.

  6. rebecca10782

    rebecca10782 Songster

    Apr 24, 2008
    Hmm, I had better stop feeding our girls salmon [​IMG] Or would that even affect the way they taste???
  7. crazyhen

    crazyhen Crowing

    Aug 26, 2008
    mtns of ,NC.
    I've heard that too much flax will make that happen. It is probable the feed have you changed brands? Jean

  8. Ugadano

    Ugadano Chirping

    Jul 3, 2014
    SW Oklahoma
    I know this is an older thread, but in case some other poor soul is searching like I was, here's what I found tonight, along with my fishy egg woes! I posted this in another 'fishy egg' thread, so I'll just copy and paste it here too.

    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 )

    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.

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