Egg Quality - What do you think?

Ioannis Mavromichalis
Small, dirty, cracked, or misshaped eggs remain a constant loss of profitability in any modern commercial facility.

Hens will always produce a number of commercially objectionable eggs, but certain nutritional intervention strategies can definitely help reducing this number or keeping it from increasing during the late laying period.

The reasons why laying hens produced problematic eggs are many, varied, and rather complex. Health and facilities design are part of the equation, with stress factors such as crowding and heat/humidity greatly aggravating the problem. In addition, certain strains are predisposed genetically in having a slightly higher number of eggs with problems, whereas increased age certainly does not help this issue.

Suboptimal nutrition is also a contributing factor, with vitamin and mineral nutrition having a prominent position in the solution of the problem when it comes to egg shell quality. Egg weight is greatly affected by protein and amino acids in the feed, whereas overall health of the digestive system is of paramount importance when it comes to dirty eggs.

Following this primer on egg quality, it remains to discuss specific nutritional intervention strategies to improve egg quality. In fact, this has been the topic of a recent discussion I participated at a client’s headquarters. My experiences will be published in World Poultry, but in the mean time, I would like to invite our readers to share their experiences and suggestions on how to improve or even maintain egg quality.

Care to join the discussion?



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    Mick Holdaway

    We set out to have our birds produce a dry manure in order to pelletise without drying being the expensive part. Dry manure must lead to a cleaner egg.

    We are using the MR 15 NP recipe supplied by Humphrey feeds. The moisture content is around 8-12% after excreting needing very little drying.Our advanced non mechanical ventilation systems assists with further drying and also maintains the dry factor.

    My theory is that a wholesome feed with less dust particles requires the intake of less water than a feed with more dust thus providing a dryer waste. In any event the feed recipe is good for our requirements.

    We now have only to concern ourselves with the Pathogen issues to provide our farms with a much needed additional income.

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    Kewber Emmy

    I agree with you on the negative impact of having high percentages of Small, dirty,cracked and / or misshapened eggs.
    The selling price of any non settable egg is 4 times lower than the settable eggs in many tropical countries. However their are many strategies that can be put in place to reduce the number of non settable eggs especially those that are caused due to human errors. Dirty eggs and cracks are management errors and can be reversed. Cracks can also be caused by poor or weak egg shells, supplementation of calcium in the diet is a practical tool.
    Small eggs are result of low body weight of hens, not enough methionine in the diet to mention but afew, therefore it is advisable that correct body weight is achieved and required level of (amino acid methionine) is included in the hens. At point of lay, a pre lay feed should be issued such that hens hen do not deplete their medullary bone reserved calcium.
    At commercial layer level it is also advisable to revaccinate against IB/NCD after every 2-3 months if the pullets were only given live vaccines.
    I hope this brief comment is practical enough.
    Best regards Emmy Kewber

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    Waseem Al-Shible

    yes the suboptimal quality of egg is encountered problem especially in the late month when the increasing of the temperature (40-45 c) and due to great losses in the egg layers and egg quality and quantity on the other hand
    all compamies put them suggestion feed texture but we did not know the right analysis of the feed ingredient (as maize ,soy,..). so whatsoever we are precise in apllied the recommendation of companies we fall in fault and the important point in egg production the illumination programs and there are infinity causes due to suboptimal egg quality and quantity
    but we must be attention about the relation between the qualtiy and quantity if the quality decline the quantity (egg production) is decline and vice versus.
    Best Regards
    DVM Waseem Alshible

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    David Burch

    Don't forget dirty eggs can be associated with brachyspira infections. These cause diarrhoea especially in free range birds but also in the older cage birds with open pits. Usually flocks are infected by 40weeks of age and in deep pit houses 30-40% diarrhoea or brown caecal droppings mean that you have a problem. Flies seem to be the active spreader of infection in the flock and possibly rodents, which act as carriers. Egg production losses can be as much as 5-10% with B. pilosicoli but even higher with B. intermedia. Good diagnositics are essential and antibiotic treatments are available if the infection is confirmed. Recent surveys have shown that it is a worldwide problem.

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    Dr. Mohammad Akram

    One of the most important viral problem detoriating the egg quality is the IB virus. Classical strain is world wide but IB variants are also common in many countries. Proper dignosis and use of specific tpye of IB vaccines can be helpful to improve the egg quality in long run. Prior to do the investigation of IB variants, classical IB strain of vaccine i.e. H120 or Mass. can be use during production to reduce the problem. 2 weeks interval between ND live vaccine with IB live vaccine shall give better results e.g. every 6 weeks ND live vaccine and every 8 weeks IB live vaccine could be suitable.

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    Kewber Emmy

    Dirty eggs are signals for poor hygiene especially of the laying nests in both individual and communal laying boxes. Nest boxes management by placing fress clean nest materials and manual picking of the droppings in the morning before birds resume laying for the day is practical enough to reduce the number of dirty eggs. Also caked litter in the production house can contribute to dirty eggs.
    Small and misshaped eggs can be as a result of pathological challenges(IB and NCD) and proper diagnosis can arrest the situation.
    Paying attention to details is essential in management of Small, cracked, and misshaped eggs.

    Emmy Kewber.(kewberemmy@hotmail.com)

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    Seconds cannot be avoided. Making egg products is a solution to give added value to seconds and non commercial eggs.

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    Javed Hayat

    Dr. Mavromichalis congratulations for raising such an important issue. Even at state of the art egg producing/processing facilities small proportion of dirties and cracks have significant economical impact when it comes to overall profitability. All comments provided have merits. My suggestion is to look at incorporating certain additive, for instance organic acids, either in the feed or water (what ever application mode is suggested by the supplier). This may assist in providing better feed and water quality, better digestion and absorption of nutrients, healthy gut and reduce the production of undesired materials e.g. ammonia. I also believe that revaccinating for IB at 20 weeks interval may also benefit.

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    h singh

    dirty eggs if we consider only the outer shell will lead to either poor hygine condition of birds living, which further causes digestive tract problem & sticky droping which soiled feathers surrounding anal opening which make egg dirty during/after laying. 2nd chance is of dirty nest so litter materials in nest should be changed /washed which ever convenient after a regular interval this make eggs dirty after laying. Good nutrition & vaccination against diseases further lead to good quality eggs

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    Juan Garay

    In my case, dedicated to produce fertile eggs, it is very important to get clean eggs to deliver the hatchery.

    Very important will be the quality of the manure in the house. In my country, Peru, we use rice husk as nest bed. We change it every 6 weeks, and use a desinfectant we leave inside the nest to keek low bacterial contamination.

    Another good practice is to colect minimum 6 times the eggs from nests. We disinfect inmediately. In our farm we do 10 collections per day.

    Another thing I discover is helping us to reduce exploding eggs at the hatchery is the use of organic acids in the drinking water.

    Finally, restriction of water consumption helps to avoid bad manure quality. It keeps dry. Of course, we always move the manure to avoid compactation.

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    manny monarca

    Producing quality eggs, healthier and safer to eat is not a problem anymore.

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