Egg colour

Location
Cumbria
We have 24 Hens that produce free range eggs. They are out from 12 until dark with literally free range over the garden (term loosely used😂) and fields close.

Have noticed since we have had to have them housed due to bird flu that the shells have gone very light in colour and I was thinking that when outside again they would darken of their own accord but they haven’t.

Nothing in their diet has changed.

The shell’s don’t seem particularly weak but it does worry me that they are not as strong.

Is there anything that I can do to darken them or is it just a genetic thing from each different hen

Thanks
 

Alias

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Lancashire
She’ll colour usually gets lighter as they get further into lay. In dark brown egg breeds such as the Welsummer, the first eggs are usually the darkest.
 
Location
Cumbria
In the grand scheme of thing I guess colour doesn’t matter but I do find the lighter they are the more brittle the shell seems to be. Hence my question re colour should maybe have been more re strength of shell and not colour. But I didn’t know the got lighter with age, so every day’s a school day
 

Netherfield

Member
Location
West Yorkshire
Fact is we're defeating nature really, in nature no bird was ever going to lay so many eggs in a year without artificial light and selective breeding.

We used to find hens which had been challenged with Infectious Bronchitis would lose their shell colour and never return even when treated for the problem.
 
Egg color is put onto the shell around 5 hours before laying. The darker the shell the longer it takes to coat it. Lack of vitamin A+D and pituitary gland can be helped by direct sun or Cod Liver oil put on feed.
 

xmilkr

Member
Sorry but l am more bothered about the colour of the yolks, as we use many eggs in the catering side of our business, in modern poultry feed what is used to colour the yolks to the buyers standards, it used to be grass meal but l think those days are gone.
 

Netherfield

Member
Location
West Yorkshire
Back in the day before the EU, Yellow American Maize was 60% of a layers diet, this along with Grass meal did create good yolk colour, even then it depended on the grass quality, early spring grass being the best.

Hatching eggs either too small, too large or surplus to requirements were often put in to the catering/baking markets where yolk colour was not so important.

We used to get quite a lot from what is now Leeds/Bradford airport, mown regularly so it was nearly all leaf and little stem.

Nowadays if you're having the whole batch of food you can have anything up to 16 on the yolk colour scale made to your own wishes.
 
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xmilkr

Member
Back in the day before the EU, Yellow American Maize was 60% of a layers diet, this along with Grass meal did create good yolk colour, even then it depended on the grass quality, early spring grass being the best.

Hatching eggs either too small, too large or surplus to requirements were often put in to the catering/baking markets where yolk colour was not so important.

We used to get quite a lot from what is now Leeds/Bradford airport, mown regularly so it was nearly all leaf and little stem.

Nowadays if you're having the whole batch of food you can have anything up to 15 on the yolk colour scale made to your own wishes.
Yes this is what i think now happens, but we are using the eggs in food and therefor have to give customers all the numbers in colours including egg colouring, where do we get the numbers on the colouring used in eggs?
 

Wisconsonian

Member
Trade
If I'm understanding this correctly, Xmilkr, you are asking for a "dye number" like you'd find "red dye #9" on a candy label, and Netherfield is talking about a scale that measures yolk color.

I'm not sure if there are registration numbers for "yolk dyes" as they are feed additives still, even if some may be synthetic. This is where I'd look: https://www.dsm.com/anh/news/feed-t...oultry-products-i-sources-of-carotenoids.html
 

xmilkr

Member
If I'm understanding this correctly, Xmilkr, you are asking for a "dye number" like you'd find "red dye #9" on a candy label, and Netherfield is talking about a scale that measures yolk color.

I'm not sure if there are registration numbers for "yolk dyes" as they are feed additives still, even if some may be synthetic. This is where I'd look: https://www.dsm.com/anh/news/feed-t...oultry-products-i-sources-of-carotenoids.html
Sorry l was looking for an e number on eggs, just being nosey as most Sunday mornings l do the baking for our farm shop, when l scramble six, free range local eggs to garnish the pastries before baking l see the colour of the scrambled egg looking more like orange juice than an egg in less than one minute the pure white brush is dyed deep orange and takes a while to clean, the dye used to determine that yolk colour must have an e number.
 

Kidds

Member
Horticulture
the dye used to determine that yolk colour must have an e number.
Not necessarily, my geese lay eggs with very coloured yolks and a lot more coloured than any hens egg I have seen. They live on grass and don't have any E numbers whatsoever. No reason why it shouldn't be the same for hens (which it is)
 

teslacoils

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire

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