by Diana


CHICKEN EGGS: I have a few chickens now that are laying eggs that smell like ammonia. A Buff Orpington, an Americauna, Barred Rock.

I have searched all over no help. Could it be something they ate???? Please help...Diana

Ammonia is usually associated with a build up of moist chicken waste. A build up of droppings in the nest can contaminate eggs.

Eggs left in droppings too long can absorb smells. It’s important to have nests lower than roosts, to encourage chickens not to roost on and poop in nests.

It’s not clear from your note if this smell is coming from the outside of the eggs or inside. If from inside the eggs your chickens are definitely unwell and you shouldn’t eat the eggs.

Ammonia is a gas, so should clean easily away when you wash the eggs, if just dirty from chicken poop. Eggs should always be collected, washed and refrigerated every day before dark, if possible.

Leaving eggs in nests over night is asking for breakage and dirty eggs. I’ve never heard of ammonia in eggs before. A fresh healthy egg should have little, if any odor at all.

An ammonia smell from inside an egg would possibly mean your hen’s kidneys are not functioning properly and toxins are building inside their bodies. If that were the case they would act very sick.

If you are sure the smell is in the white and yolk of the eggs, not the shells, you would need a veterinarian to diagnose what is actually going on with the hens.

If they are eating and drinking right and digesting food well, and all major organs functioning, there should be no ammonia smell in eggs.

Make sure you keep the coop and nests free from build up of droppings. I use wood shavings on the floor and dry spruce needles in the nests.

If the coop even has the slightest ammonia smell, it’s time to clean and replace the floor litter.

An ammonia build up in the coop is very unhealthy for chickens and can cause respiratory disease.

Allowing droppings to build in the nests will make egg washing a chore and it may not be possible to get the eggs completely free of stains or smells.

Poultry supply companies, possibly your feed store, carry egg wash that is safe to use.

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