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#32058 - 07/27/02 10:13 AM Re: IF diet affects egg color, which ingredients help?

I've had Ameraucanas that produced beautiful olive-colored eggs. They were the result of crossing blue with brown egg layers. I've never bred any chocolate egg layers and wondered if the chocolate would overpower the blue. I would like to know the results of an F2 generation.

#32059 - 07/27/02 11:33 AM Re: IF diet affects egg color, which ingredients help?
Laurie Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 169
Loc: North Carolina
The feed I use depends on fish meal for extra protein and fat, and then is made from a mix of local grains. We use Fertrell Nutri-balancer, oyster shell, and sometimes kelp or alfalfa are added.

When I am selling eating eggs, I add flax seed, but as that lowers the cholesterol of eggs, it seems counterproductive to use when breeding. Cholesterol supports the growth of healthy chicks.

BTW, Bill Worrell sells Fertrell products and is making up his own blends from their ingredients to sell, he has done a lot of work with it, but I have been perfectly happy with the advice of Jeff Mattocks at Fertrell.

I add DE (also bought from Fertrell) to the feed from time to time to manage parasites. They don't care for the DE, though. Except to wallow in!

My chickens also get fresh veggies regularly, and grass clippings when there's enough to rake up. Hardboiled, mashed-in-shell eggs when I forgot to gather eggs for a couple of days. So, when I have been ill or busy the chickens make out, they LOVe those cooked eggs.

So I believe their base diet is healthier than most chickens get, better variety and balance.

It is identifying foods high in specific ingredients that might help the hen to better produce to her full potential, that intrigue me.

#32060 - 07/29/02 03:33 AM Re: IF diet affects egg color, which ingredients help?
Big Boy Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 845
Loc: Kansas
Right, rob. Like I have said before, the grade bantams that run free on the place have a tendency to lighter shell color as summer progresses just as do those fowl that are penned up, this despite the fact that they have access to all manner of feedstuffs (including tomatoes, fallen apples, june bugs etc.). Therefore it would seem that this is 'natural' in fowl. The topic would indicate that we (or rather our customers) would like to retain that deeper egg color for customer appeal and increased saleability of product (inasmuch as I am not aware that there is any significant nutritional difference among any of the eggs based upon shell color). The American consumer has gone through this with colored frankfurters and "RED" apples and has become accustomed to, for example, red apples that have green and/or yellow stripes. If we add materials to the feed in order to enhance the cosmetic or aesthetic appeal then wouldn't we pandering to the public's desire for natural food that looks like the chemically enhanced product? Further, these additives would only increase the cost of production which is high enough (and bound to go higher with the current 'dry spell' that we have here in the center of the USA). I think that these factors are interesting and deserving of pursuit as 'science for the sake of science' but are they important enough to warrant implementation in the production flock?

#32061 - 07/29/02 05:07 AM Re: IF diet affects egg color, which ingredients help?
Nikki Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 07/19/02
Posts: 181
Loc: Michigan
Laurie, thank you for the Fertrell info. I found 3 dealer here in my state. I guess I must have missed that info at Bills site. Thanks again.

#32062 - 07/29/02 05:16 AM Re: IF diet affects egg color, which ingredients help?
Graciel Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 423
Loc: New York
A flip side of the natural colour idea is that before selection from wild stock, chickens probably only laid one or two clutches a year, so they never lost their deep colour. We've forced the hens way beyond that now in production. I understand that genetically they may be capable of laying that darker colour, but I wonder how capable they are to maintain that colour throughout the year even with correct supplementation. I suspect the deep colour of spring may be a side effect of the storage of nutrients in the hen, and you're looking at something that may not be able to be duplicated even by supplements because the process in how those nutrients enter the shell is always going to be less concentrated in the laying hen.

This is just me being Devil's Advocate, though: I think the dark eggs are fun, too. laugh

There's something to what BigBoy says about the American consumer. It's really too bad that eggs can't be taken like Vidalia onions or certain kinds of fruit (diffent oranges, for example) that people expect to see only at certain times of the year. Let a really dark egg be special and wait for it, and enjoy it while it lasts, then it's back to paler brown eggs again. Just a thought.

Hey, Nikki, your kid turned orange because of beta carotene in those sweet potatos and carrots, not the Vit. C content. He's probably got eyes like a hawk from eating all of those carrots! LOL!


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