Do your eggs taste fishy? It’s the Curse of the Omegas.

I’m sure you’ve seen them in the grocery store.  Eggs labelled as “Omega-3” eggs. They’re bursting with goodness and health and nutrition.  They’re easy to identify from the other eggs.  They’re the ones that look like Dr. Oz if you stare closely enough at them.  Plus they cost about $1 more per carton.  Plus they have “Omega-3” printed on the carton and sometimes even on the eggs.




Plus they taste like fish.  Sometimes.

Have you ever noticed that?  You eat an egg (either store bought or from your own chickens) and there’s a lingering, subtle note of trout.  This happened to me the other day.  I cracked open an egg from one of my chickens and it tasted more like I cracked it out of the spleen of a salmon than an eggshell.  It’s happened to me before so I knew it wasn’t my imagination.  I couldn’t talk myself out of the fish taste this time.


Marans Eggs 20


We’re all pretty good at that by the way, talking ourselves into thinking bad food is actually good.

You buy chicken breasts for instance, open them up and there it is. The scent of impending food poisoning. But you just bought them so they must be fine.  Plus they barely smell.  Plus you could stand to lose a few pounds. Plus you’re not even sure if they smell at all.  Plus you just got back from being out all day running errands, and the grocery store seems so far away and you can’t really be bothered to return them, plus you planned on eating chicken tonight and … well … maybe they didn’t smell bad at all.  Maybe they were fine.  So you prep them, get them ready, prepare the rest of the dinner, then stand staring at the raw, stinky chicken that you know in your heart of hearts is dancing with barf bacteria.

You know if you cook them at this point you’ll be so suspicious of whether they were good or not that you’ll convince yourself they weren’t and after the first bite you’ll break out into a sweat, start feeling nauseous and just like that your mind has convinced your body you have food poisoning and you’re in bed for the next day and a half.

So you throw the chicken breasts out and have carrots and anti-nauseants for dinner.

I almost did the same thing with my fish egg.  I ate a bite, felt gaggy, then ended up feeding them to the chickens because I was convinced they were bad.

As it turns out, a fishy tasting egg isn’t bad, it’s actually very, very good.

It just tastes bad.

And it all revolves around Omega-3s.  Omega-3 is a fat that’s most often found in fish but it’s also found in flaxseed and other things.  And the interesting thing about Omega-3 fat is that it can have a fishy scent and taste no matter where it comes from. It’s just a natural characteristic of Omega-3 fats. So the reason your fish tastes and smells like fish isn’t because it’s fish, it’s because it’s filled with Omega-3 fats.

Vegetables also have Omega-3 fats, just not as much as fish or flaxseeds.  So if your chickens have been fed squash, lots of leafy greens or beans that could burst up their Omega-3 intake and make your eggs fishy the odd time.

There’s also some research that says certain breeds of chickens, particularly brown layers, that  have a gene that converts fatty acids in their diet to compounds that smell fishy.  So you get a brown egg laying chicken, throw in some flax seed, greens and a few beans and you end up with more than a farty chicken.  You have something fishy going on.

 Which brings me to my Black and Blue Copper Marans eggs that I was mentioning last week.




People ask if they taste any different.  And they do.  They’re the only eggs of all the chickens I’ve had that have ever had that weird/gross/alarming/ fishy taste.  They don’t have it very often, but when they have it there’s no getting it past my gullet.  Which is a shame of course because the fishier the taste, the higher the Omega-3s, the better the egg is for you.

Which means eggs that smell gross are good for you, chicken parts that smell gross are bad for you and if either one of them smells like Dr. Oz, you’re in trouble.
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  1. Lis says:

    Karen, I think you just want an excuse to show off that last photo – of maran egg gorgeousness!

  2. Hayley says:

    Oh god. Don’t ever buy omega 3 milk. It doesn’t come from a cow. They milk a bunch of trouts and put it in a container with a picture of a cow on it BUT DON’T LET THEM FOOL YOU!!! I bought some from Safeway thinking I’d be all healthy-like. The good news is they have me my money back when I pointed out the wrong animal was used in the making of the product.

  3. BethH says:

    I haven’t had the fishy egg experience, but I have had the exact same chicken breast experience, word for word. Twice. The second time I actually stood at the stove and wept as I cooked them, because I knew I was going to die later that night. And then I threw them out and had carrots and anti-nauseants for dinner after I stopped crying.

  4. Ev Wilcox says:

    I buy boring eggs from a store. Never noticed a fish smell. If I ever do, at least I’ll know why! Your photo of the deep brown eggs is beautiful!

  5. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Sometime last year, I watched a show on the CBC (Marketplace?) where they tested the Omega 3 enhanced eggs from the grocery stores and concluded that the eggs were definitely not worth the additional cost due to the miniscule amounts added to our diets. The implication was that the public is being duped into buying them. I wonder if that is actually true? I try not to believe everything I see on TV . . . hah!

  6. LIL says:

    I knew about the Omega-3-fishy eggs thing but I didn’t know you could feed chickens their own eggs, I thought they only ate grains and maybe little insects, you learn something everyday! :)

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      Seems just a tad cannabalistic to me . . . :-/

    • Leslie says:

      Chickens are omnivores that can and will eat everything to get all the nutrition they require. The myth of the “vegetarian” chicken is another cute bit of marketing found on egg cartons that has a long and kinda gross story to it that leads back to Mad Cow Disease. Basically, the bedding from the floors of big meat-bird operations is processed and used as animal feed as it has a fair amount of nutrition in it from spilled feed and not-fully-digested stuff in the feces. And because it is now not safe to feed animal proteins to cows, the poultry feed given to the meat birds needs to be vegetarian to make the poopy litter from their houses safe to use as animal feed. So feed mills now prefer to produce vegetarian poultry feeds. Yum, yum!

      • Petey Pete pete says:

        Humans are also omnivores, that doesn’t make it normal or okay to eat other humans. It’s pretty effed up to feed a chicken its own eggs.

  7. Ron says:

    Years ago I worked for a few months in South Africa in Kwazulu-Natal province on the coast of the Indian Ocean north of Durban in what was then a fairly small town called Richards Bay. The hotel where I was staying provided box lunches to take to work. On my first day I took the fried chicken. Imagine my surprise when I took my first bite of chicken at lunchtime. It tasted like fish! I threw it out thinking that it was bad, only to learn later that the taste was the result of the fact that the chickens were fed with pellets made from fish meal. From that day on I would have a big meal of steak and eggs for breakfast and take only fruit, usually banana & passion fruit for lunch. Oddly enough I never noticed that the eggs tasted fishy, probably because they were not as strong tasting as the chicken.

  8. Michele preece says:

    Yep, been there, eaten that and baked the fishy bread! I use oil when baking my bread, usually Olive but sometimes Rapeseed or occasionally flaxseed (because it’s soo full of fabulous omega3 ). I also put linseeds in my bread, also full of omega3 but no more with the flaxseed oil urgh fishy bread. Guess I could dip some fishy soldiers in my fishy boiled egg though. On second thoughts, no.

  9. Well, dang. There goes breakfast. I was going to have chicken & eggs. Shuffles over to the blender to make a fruit smoothie. :-) Thanks for the info. Most interesting.

  10. Mike says:

    Mary, what does “briny” smell like. I know what you mean by old fish, but when I lived in FL, I would fish a lot and some fish just tasted fishy. Even just caught. It’s been so long since I lived there that I can’t remember what kind of fish it was. But living in Ohio now, I don’t buy fish from any store or the like. There was nothing better than fresh caught. I lived in the Panama City area and would buy directly from the commercial fishermen. And you have to watch that for freshness, too.

  11. Erin says:

    I’ve noticed that with some flax products I’ve eaten. I’ll have to pay closer attention to the chook girls and their diets this spring. We gave them lots of flax seed before they were laying and they graze in a field that is seeded with blue flax…guess it’s good I like fish.

  12. Mary Werner says:

    I was always told by the fishermen and their wives that eat fish all day long, that fish that smell fishy are old and don’t buy fish from that fisherman. They said fish should smell briny not fishy. I think now I can tell a difference but eggs? no thanks Omega 3. However, if I was served fishy eggs by Karen with a table decoration of a plate of the broken Moran eggs shells as shown in this post – I would eat it up since my love of color outweighs my love of smell. Thanks again for an informative but entertaining post!!!

  13. Mike says:

    Wow! Never knew this. Don’t like the fish taste. Don’t think I could handle that. Don’t even like fish if it tastes too fishy. When I lived in Florida, had a neighbor who wanted me to try frogs legs. Said they tasted just like chicken. Couldn’t do it. I said, if I’m gonna eat something that tastes just like chicken, it better be chicken. Good article. Learned something today, and it’s always good when you learn.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Mike. Funny story … my Uncle came to visit this weekend and my mom served him Frogs Legs for dinner because he likes them. Can’t say they’re something I’d pounce on. My mother didn’t have them either. She had chicken. :) ~ karen!

  14. Feral Turtle says:

    Well I’ll be! I used to get that a lot in the summer with my eggs and now I know why. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Carol Hogan says:

    Yuck! I’ll just stick with my Cage Free eggs and take my chances.

  16. Ann says:

    I have never noticed any fishy smell, even to my maran eggs. Maybe I am not sensitive enough to smell anything. I use my maran eggs raw a lot because the shells are so hard that it is virtually impossible for any germs to penetrate the shell. My girls are fed a Non-GMO/organic/non-soy feed which actually has some fish meal in it to provide the protein and still no fishy smell. Maybe I am incredibly lucky or just lost my sense of smell working in radiology dark rooms for many years way back in the day before the advent of digital, chemical free xray developing

  17. ~JackieVB says:

    I definitely noticed that when I was buying the package that said Omega3 eggs. I thought they were supplementing the chickens feed with some sort of fish oil so that they could make that claim. Thanks for that info – it solves the mystery.

  18. jainegayer says:

    I was reading an article the other day about how much better eggs with Omega- 3s are that I decided they were going to be the only eggs I was going to buy even if they cost more. But not if they taste fishy. Nope. I’ll just stick with the regular brown eggs or white.

    • Karen says:

      They don’t always taste fishy Jaine. Just sometimes. You can get the same Omegas by eating a tablespoon of flax seed a day anyway. Just sprinkle it on cereal, or whatever. ~ karen!

      • jainegayer says:

        I give flaxseed to my horse. Looks like I’ll be bringing some home for me.
        Thanks, Karen.

  19. Debbie Bashford says:

    I don’t buy anything with Omega 3 because of that smell

  20. Kim C says:

    Time to bake some pound cake!! :)

  21. mia pratt says:

    I’d say use them in fishy stuff like egg-and-cornmeal-rolled fish, fish stew (thickened with yolks), fish pot pie, tuna casserole…places where you expect fishi-ness and generally offset it with stuff like thyme, lime juice, cajun spice etc. I’m just sayin’ cause those brown eggs look like something someone smuggled out of Afghanistan in the false bottom of leather luggage….too beautiful not to eat, to sinfully mahogany to exclude from some exotic Tuesday night concoction eaten in bed under the covers. So go ahead and eat them with fish!<:}

    • Karen says:

      bleh. They’re gross, lol. Yours is a good idea, the problem is you don’t know if it’s fishy until you crack it open. Out of that whole pile only one may be fishy. Not all of them. (luckily for me) ~ karen!

      • Cred says:

        It may not be worth the bother for you but I hate to toss out fresh backyard eggs. If you discover a fishy one upon cracking, you could freeze it for use in later baking.
        I haven’t noticed a fishy taste in the eggs I get from my brother-in-law but I had already made the omega-3 connection to fishy taste. It’s hard to choke bad omega-3s in its many forms. I’m glad I haven’t had to deal with it in our eggs, even though it means they’re healthier.

      • kathryn says:

        yup, i’m with both Cred & Mia. i’d put an unexpected & unwantedly fishy egg (whisked up with a pinch of salt) in the freezer but not chance cooking something unfishy with it, more like until you want to do homemade fish fingers or you have enough of them for an Omelette Arnold Bennett or smoked salmon quiche… mmm, making me feel rather peckish. definitely with you Karen on not liking boiled eggs – or poached or fried or any eggs served without the yolk & white mixed – i’d choose scrambled every time. ok, now i have to go & have a little tasty, savoury something…

      • Edward Mosley says:

        Thanks, they were headed to the trash can

  22. Sidney says:

    bwahahahahahaha. I knew you’d be the one to solve the mystery to smelly proteins.
    Veges, fish, eggs.

    Just please not my protein shake please. I don’t want chop liver as alternative (oh my “gut”) !!!!

  23. nancy says:

    wow, I thought I was crazy. I feel so virtuous buying those eggs. My homemade mayo tastes fishy fairly often. I taste it repeatedly trying to imagine the fishy taste away. But honestly, I have never noticed it in fried, scrambled, omelet eggs. Probably because there is so much bacon, cheese and Tabasco.

    • Judy says:

      Had my first fishy brown egg today! Had to spit it out, thought I was being poisoned. I started buying cage free eggs and trying to get away from extra hormones and antibiotics. Curious, why are all, so called, cage free eggs brown? Don’t they ever let the white chickens out?

  24. Lynn says:

    Is it only with the brown layers? I have had many white eggs , I think I could most likely count on one hand how many brown eggs I have had. It is not that I dislike them just that growing up we always had white layers. An hubby always returns the brown eggs when I pick them up. It was hard enough getting him to eat farm eggs at my brothers farm . Hubby is such a city slicker !!!

  25. Dominic says:

    Huh, haven’t noticed this with my brown layers, and we toss a squash of varying type in there once in awhile. Now I’m going to have to really pay attention. Or load them with squash and wait for the response from the family.
    Do you feed yours layer pellets also, or just grains and kitchen scraps?

    • Karen says:

      Oh they definitely get pellets Dominic! Pellets are their main source of food, 2 scoops of scratch in the winter and 1 in the summer. Plus kitchen scraps, but I try not to overdo it so they eat their pellets which have the nutrients they need. ~ karen!

      • kari says:

        What layer pellet brand do you prefer? I have week old chickies and I am soaking in all the knowledge I can.

        Also, you should sell chicken coop kits. Yours is ALL OVER Pinterest as the darling of models! :-)

        Thanks! Kari

      • Karen says:

        Hi Kari! I know. I keep meaning to have someone draw up plans for my coop but just haven’t had the time! The pellets I use (and the crumble I use for chicks) is made by specifically for my feed store so it isn’t actually a brand). If you can, start them on organic as soon as you can. My chickens didn’t start on it and because of that they don’t like the feed. It’s whole grain, like scratch and they just throw it around a lot, pick out what they like and then walk away, lol. So they no longer get organic, just regular pellets otherwise the dumb little things might starve. ~ karen!

      • Kari says:

        People will be happy when you do! Thanks for the info about the feed. I did start them on a franchise type brand of organic chick starter and just found a local mill that makes feed for all of the stages. It sounds like that will be my best bet. I hope my girls will choose to be healthy and clean eaters. :-) I can’t have junk food eggs! Ha!

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