8 commentsupdate:Sep 26, 2012

Fish Oil and Eggs

Ioannis Mavromichalis
I understand there is considerable interest in adding high levels of fish oil to diets for laying hens as a means of (a) enhancing health status, and (b) producing eggs rich in omega-3 fatty acids. As much as 3% is recommended in some cases, especially when using deodorised fish oil, that comes with a price premium!


Now, we all know that normal fish oil, about above 1% added as straight oil or  through fish meal, gives eggs a fishy smell that most consumers find objectionable. In a Canadian study, even 2% deodorised menhaden oil made eggs smell a bit fishy!

What is less known, is that too much fish oil can actually reduce egg weight. I have seen this in an older trial, where egg weight was reduced 0.35 grams per 1% fish oil in the feed.

And, in a most recent study from Iran, high levels of fish oil not only reduced egg production but it also affected sexual maturity delaying the growth of the reproductive system in hens. And, there is also at least one more British study that implicated high levels of fish oil with reduced reproductive performance in pigs.

So far, I have been skeptical recommending high levels of fish oil to my customers who were looking into getting into the ‘designer’ egg market, preferring other  means of achieving the desired increase in omega-3 fatty acids. But, I cannot deny, and there is evidence to that as well, that feeding fish oil enhances the immune status animals.

What is your take on all these?


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    Dr. Reza Poureslami

    Dear Ioannis
    Thanks for this post. My PhD thesis was focused on fat/fatty acids nutrition. As far as designer egg goes, we have done a large trial with 40 dietary treatments in Belgium and recently our paper got accepted. We found that not only the quantity of fish oil supplementation but also type of fish oil, SFA:MUFA ratio and to some extent n-3:n-6 ratio in the diet contribute to the deposition of omega-3 fatty acids in the egg. So incorporation of 1.5-2% fish oil in the poultry diet does not necessarily mean that a desirable omega-3 designer egg will be produced.

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    YC Chong

    How about adding crude Linseed Oil together with fish oil to produce Omega-3 Eggs?

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    dr. victor elsayaad (cairo egypt)

    i am afraid that fish oil gives the produced egg the fishy tast or odour or both

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    Thanks for your interesting article.
    Alfredo E.

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    Bill Achor

    We have come across a corn protein concentrate (Empyreal75) that is high in carotenoids and omegas and is 75% protein with no ill effects on egg flavor. Also discovered an algae that is supposed to do have similar claims with some added benefits (Tasco)

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    YC Chong

    In Malaysia, 1% of crude salmon oil and 2% crude Linseed oil is acceptable for designer eggs. The label claim is 250 to 300mg Omega-3 per 100gm eggs. This is line wih Dr. Reza Poureslami suggestion.

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    Jason Um

    I really want to know consumer's needs about 'designer eggs' in esteemed your countries, especially omega-3 enriched eggs. And I appreciate if I get the information on the share of market about designer eggs. Also the price of them to compare with traditional eggs.

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