Hens eggs smell funny

by Melissa
(Iowa)

Question
Hens eggs smell funny: We have Rhode Island Reds, Black Australorps, Barred Rocks, and Buff Orpintons. They are between 2-3 years old.

Some of the eggs that we collect smell weird, almost like a chemical smell on the shell.

The shell looks normal but the odor is quite strong. And some of the eggs have no odor at all. What do you think is causing the smell?

Answer
I’m not sure what kind of smell you are noticing. We just had a lady write wondering why her chicken’s eggs smell like ammonia.

Her coop and nests are clean and she gathers eggs often through the day, so it’s not from excess droppings.

I’ve never experienced this with eggs. The more we look into her chicken situation, the more likely it seems the smell might be from something they are eating.

I’ve heard it’s not good to feed garlic and onions to chickens as the smell can transfer into the eggs.

There are wild onions and garlic that chickens might get into when free ranging and I know asparagus smell can transfer, too.

Her eggs didn’t smell bad inside, just on the shell. If you are sure the eggs are fresh, it may be something they are eating.

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The eggs stink

by Jimmy Burton
(Thurston County Olympia Washington)

Question
The eggs stink: I have 4 Rhode Island reds, 2 Barred Rock, 2 Silverlaced Wyandotes and 2 Aurocanas.

They have all just started laying about 1 month ago. Their coop is located under an eave in my backyard up against the house.

They get fresh water every other day and have a constant supply of layer crumble which they enjoy. Perches, lights, everything a chicken could want.

They have a 2 inch layer of pine shavings on the bottom of their coop that gets turned over by me regularly. They get to go out and roam the backyard all day every day.

The problem is that their eggs taste and smell bad. Their shell smells fine the raw egg smells fine but when you cook them in any way they start the stinking.

It smells sort of like the way the inside of their coop smells and tastes like the way you would think that the inside of their coop would taste.

It’s disgusting and my family will not eat them, I hate cooking them and we are all disappointed because after all we bought the birds to eat the eggs.

What on earth could be the problem? It’s frustrating because I have talked to lots of "experienced" people and not one person knows what I am talking about.

Do you have any Ideas?? Any help would be great thanks

Answer
First, your chickens must have fresh water daily, not every other day. That is just plain nasty. Think about it. They are drinking day old, stagnant water.

Water begins to smell as it sits outside. Your chickens are giving you what you are putting into them. Give them fresh water at least twice daily and much of the problem will be solved.

Next, turning the pine shavings is not cleaning the coop. It is just moving the debris and stench around. If a cat poops in a litter box, is it clean if you just turn the litter over.

The key to healthy chickens and good tasting eggs is cleanliness. You need to step it up a bit so that you can eat some great eggs.

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Ammonia smelling eggs

by Diana

Question
Ammonia smelling eggs: Hello again, sorry I didn't fully explain. My chicken are all free range. They only spend time in the coop to lay eggs and when put up at night.

Their nest boxes are cleaned out every 2 weeks with fresh straw. I pick up their eggs at 10:30 am and again after noon and I have 2 that lay in the evening.

I collect so often there is usually little to no poop on them. The smell of the ammonia is only on the outside of the egg. I have cracked and smelled all.

I clean the coop out a lot; It doesn't have a lot of poop. I put straw inside the coop and extra under their perches. I take the straw from under their perches out every few weeks.

I first thought they were eating something in the yard, lots of new spring weeds and grass growing. But I have since locked them in their coop.

It has been 5 days and I still had a couple eggs today that smelled. I’m trying to find what chickens are doing it but it’s been hard. They all seem to be healthy happy chickens.

I feed them Purina lay pellets and a hand full of cracked corn to put them up at night. Any help would be helpful.

I love my chickens and spend a lot of time in the yard. I don’t use chemicals were all natural here............... Thank you

Answer
Sorry for the misunderstanding. This is unusual. I just smelled the last egg I brought in today, the only one not washed, and it just smells like a nice fresh chicken egg.

I thought maybe you have a very sensitive nose, or possibly there might be a little ammonia smell remaining, since the eggs pass through the same vent as droppings, but I couldn’t notice a trace of ammonia smell on my egg.

This is strange indeed. Ammonia is usually from a concentration of urine. It’s possible something they have been nibbling on in the yard has a higher than usual acidity or pungent odor.

Some plants, like asparagus, onions, garlic (even cow or field garlic that can grow in lawns) can leave traces of their strong smell in urine.

I have heard not to feed onions or garlic to chickens as they can make the eggs taste and smell off.

It sounds like your investigation and keeping them in has decreased this smell, so it probably is something they are eating.

You could mix a table spoon of baking soda into a gallon of feed and see if that helps. Since they are healthy and happy, always a good sign, I wouldn’t be too concerned.

I’m curious if the smell washes off when you wash the eggs.

Sounds like you take great care of your chickens. I’ve been feeding Layena, too, and don’t have that smell on eggs, so you can probably rule that out.

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