How does diet effect eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Nancy's girls, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. Nancy's girls

    Nancy's girls Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 24, 2009
    My daughter wants to do a science project with our chickens. She wants to see how diet effects their eggs. Does anyone have any information or ideas for us?
  2. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Not sure, but I do know some foods can give the eggs bad taste. I've heard that garlic and onions can change flavor and once I bought eggs froma farm stand at a local farmer's market and instead of getting really good eggs, I got really bad tasting eggs - bitter almost. ( I didn't actually ask them what the chickens were eating- just never bought from their stand again.)

    Happy experimentation! Let us know what she finds!
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Do you think your daughter may want to test the idea that garlic changes the flavor of eggs? And, if it changes the flavor, is that good or bad?

    Clemson University poultry scientists did research about 10 years ago on controlling the odor from laying houses by putting garlic in the layer feed. They used garlic powder at an "incredible" 3% of the feed!

    I have given garlic powder to my hens at a rate of 1/2 teaspoon to 2 cups of feed. That is much lower than what Clemson was doing. Still, think about how much your food would taste of garlic if you put 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder in each and every 2 cups. My hens, themselves, smell a little of garlic but I don't notice any "off" flavor or smell to their eggs.

    It does decrease the odor of the coop during the summer but it also seems to increase their consumption of the feed. They seem to like the garlic.

    Here's what the Clemson people learned also: "The researchers have already conducted taste tests and found that people preferred the eggs produced by the garlic-eating hens."
    Garlic Perfumes Poultry Houses. ScienceDaily.

    It's a finding she could test herself. She would need to carefully weigh her feed and the garlic powder so as to be able to say what percentage of garlic is in the hens' diet. Then she could cook eggs from garlic-fed hens and eggs from hens that were not fed garlic and do a taste test with volunteers.

  4. lngrid

    lngrid Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've read here that chickens fed flax seeds produce eggs with omega 3 fatty acids in them.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  5. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    Do the low protien high protien egg production test. Low being up 16% and high being 20% or more. This will work with the bigger breeds of chickens not the light breeds.

    Another idea is feeding fruit to see if egg production slows dow or stops. Some say too much will do it.
  6. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    If you want something we know works feed lots of fish, flaxseed, or nuts. The eggs will taste fishy from the high level of omega fatty acids.

    I got some grasshopper tasting eggs from my free ranging hens at the end of summer but I bet it would take lots and lots of grasshoppers. My poultry feed did not go down at all that month because they were catching so much of their own food.
  7. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    I've noticed, the biggest thing negatively affecting egg flavor is "old age". Eggs that have sat around for a month or more... and picked up off-flavors from things in the refrigerator. [​IMG]

    I feed my girls lots of fish, especially fresh raw salmon scraps cuz we have them around. They get flaxseeds in addition to the flaxseed in their feed, and raw garlic. All the things that are supposed to make them taste terrible, but I can't keep neighbors, family, coworkers and friends supplied with enough eggs. They love the taste of these eggs! The yolks stand up, they are so thick, and are bright yellow/orange and they're yummy. Of course, my chickens also gets lots of daily greens & free-ranging goodies, too.

    Hey, I'm very interested to hear back about your scientific taste tests! Please give us the results, when you get them.
  8. Nancy's girls

    Nancy's girls Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 24, 2009
    Thanks for all of the advice and information. We have December and January to experiment. I think she wants to play with the garlic and the fish idea. I will let you know of the findings. [​IMG]
  9. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    What about free range vs. not free range?
  10. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    She could also experiment with adding greens to their diet, and see how that affects egg color. Hens with a high proportion of greens, such as grass, supposedly have much darker orange yolks.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by