Preventing Rotten Eggs {What NOT to Feed Your Chickens}

I’ve been eating farm fresh eggs from backyard chickens since I was a little girl. Anyone who raises their own chickens feels much pride in the daily treasure hunt that is egg gathering. There’s something extra special about them.

Egg-stra special, if you will.

Totally kidding.

But not really.

Bottom line is, we chicken rearers sure do love our eggs. As do our customers, should you be in the business of selling your surplus- or egg-stra- eggs.

{Somebody stop me}.

So imagine my absolute horror when one day I sit down for a quick breakfast of fried eggs and toast…and I first catch a whiff of something rotten- and then a taste of something rotten.

And then I realize it’s my eggs.

At first, I wrote it off as a bad couple of eggs. Until nearly every time for the next few weeks I discovered that most of the eggs I ate tasted…rotten. I was horrified. I actually kept pretty quiet about it…did I suddenly not like fresh eggs? I’d heard people refer to “farm eggs” as having a strong “egg-y flavor”. Was I suddenly realizing this after years and years of eating “real” eggs? How could this be?

But after taking a few deep breaths and brushing aside the idea that my taste buds had suddenly turned against me, I took a closer look at what I’d been feeding my chickens.

Yellow Birch Hobby Farm- Preventing Rotten Eggs- What NOT to Feed Your Chickens

If you’re anything like me, you hate waste. But if you have wonderful omnivores like chickens around the homestead, you know quite well that- at least in the kitchen anyway- nothing really, truly goes to waste. They eat just about everything. And because I compost right in my chicken run, anything left that they don’t devour will be turned into black gold for my garden.

Upon inspecting the types of scraps they’d been receiving during this time, I realized that twice I had made stock that month- a batch of venison stock and a batch of turkey stock. If you’ve ever made homemade broth before, you are well aware that onions make up the largest portion of a great mirepoix, in addition to celery and carrots. I also prefer to add some garlic as well. And when I’m finished slowly simmering my stock all day long, all of the scraps- bones, meat, veggies and all- go out to the chickens. They absolutely LOVE it.

But here’s the thing: there are certain foods that chickens should not eat- onions included- if you wish to avoid getting eggs that taste and smell rotten.

{There are also things that chickens should not eat due to health reasons, but that is for another day}.

Yellow Birch Hobby Farm- Preventing Rotten Eggs 1

Here is a list of foods to avoid:

  • Onions: Not only can the strong flavor of onions be transferred to your eggs, but feeding onions in large quantities can cause jaundice, anemia, and death. An occasional onion here and there is fine, just don’t make a habit out of it.
  • Garlic: Although garlic has tremendous medicinal effects on chickens by way of treating infections, boosting their immune system, warding off parasites, and aiding in respiratory problems- not to mention improving the size and quality of their eggs- too much of a good thing is not such a good thing. You could end up with eggs that taste a bit different than what you are used to. Moderation is key. {Read more about the benefits of adding garlic to your flock’s diet here}.
  • Asparagus: Because of their famously strong odor and taste, this one is another that should not be fed in large quantities unless you wish to have some especially stinky eggs in your basket- and on your plate.
  • Fish or Fish Meal-Based Feed: Too much fish meal can cause a fishy taste. Don’t feed a fish meal-based feed that is any higher than 5% fish meal.
  • Flax: Some people like to add flax to increase the Omega 3 in their eggs, but too much flax can result in a fishy flavor. Keep the flax to 2 cups per 50 pounds of feed to avoid this.
  • Broccoli/Cauliflower/Brussels Sprouts: I group these together because there are some who feed these with no problem, and others who have experienced off-tasting eggs when offering these veggies as treats to their chickens. Just something to keep in mind should you find yourself with a rotten egg dilemma on your hands and are trying to figure out what the cause may be.
  • Cat Food: Yes, I had to include this one. I’ve read of several people who feed cat food to their chickens because of the protein content that can aid in feather production during molting, and the fact that it can be purchased pretty cheaply for the most part. But this is another one that can really make your eggs taste plain old gross. Just say no, folks.

Yellow Birch Hobby Farm- Preventing Rotten Eggs 2

So there you have it.

No more stinky eggs.

And certainly no more doubts regarding the superiority of a farm fresh egg πŸ™‚

Shared at:

HomeAcre Hop #105

About yellowbirchhobbyfarm

Hi! I'm Erin, a 19th-century homesteader at heart. Here at Yellow Birch Hobby Farm we practice self-sustainable living by way of organic gardening, canning & preserving, raising a variety of livestock, hunting, foraging, and cooking from scratch. And here at our blog, we share it all with you! So glad you've found us.

14 comments on “Preventing Rotten Eggs {What NOT to Feed Your Chickens}

  1. Thank you for sharing this…I never put the two and two together but you are right some days the fresh eggs just taste off and now I know why. We eat a lot of garlic and I always put the scrapes in the compost pile…the same pile the chickens love to dig in. Wow…I love learning new stuff!

  2. Hi, new here from the Home Acre Hop. Enjoyed your style of writing and the good info you shared. I do not have chickens, yet, but would like a couple for my small backyard. I think I will stick around and check out more of your site.

  3. It never fails to amaze me what my chickens will eat. This last summer they ate half my dahlias, stripping the leaves faster than the plants could grow them. This had never happened before. They also ate my hellebores (100% toxic) and dicentra plants to the ground, despite double fencing to keep them off this area! My hens are totally free range and get meal, corn and scraps, but that didn’t seem to stop them helping themselves to my flowers!

    • I hear you on that! I put in a new flower bed last year and fenced around it. They still found a way in and destroyed everything except for the well-established oversized day lily. Ugh! I do feel free range is best whenever possible, but it sure can take its toll ;). And yes, they will eat just about anything.

      Thanks so much for visiting πŸ™‚

    • My chickens free range all day, every day. I definitely notice they eat/need less feed during the productive summer months when there is a lot of natural food available. I also compost in my chicken run, so they always have good stuff to eat, dig, and scratch around in. There are a ton of really great homemade chicken feed recipes out there- a simple Google search or Pinterest search could show you those. But what I’ve learned as someone who own free range chicken is to not feel too dependent (especially in the months where there’s a lot of natural food available where they forage) on commercial feed. But they should have a well-balanced diet for good egg production.

  4. Hello from Dundalk Co. Louth Ireland. We have hens and our fresh eggs are not nice any more. Thank you for the info here. We always let our hens out, but our fresh eggs are like rotten eggs so we hope we can find out what the hens are eating so we can do something about this with the info here.
    Many Thanks.

    Eamon and Nicola Rogers. Ireland.

    • I hope you can figure out what they’re getting into! Nothing worse than icky eggs πŸ˜‰ My father’s side of the family comes from Cork Ireland…beautiful, beautiful country. Thanks so much for visiting, such a pleasure!


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