Study: feeding programmes affect egg colour and quality

11-03-2022 | |
Photo: Universidad Nacional del Nordeste (UNNE)
Photo: Universidad Nacional del Nordeste (UNNE)

A trial in Argentina has concluded that certain feeding programmes for breeder hens generate coloured and more resistant eggshells in addition to increased hatchability.

The trial was conducted in the Poultry Multiplication Center of ‘Corrientes’, which is an experimental station of INTA (National Institute of Agriculture and Livestock) located in El Sombrero city and supported by researchers from the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences of UNNE (National University of Northeast).

T6 breeding hens

Photo: Universidad Nacional del Nordeste (UNNE)
Photo: Universidad Nacional del Nordeste (UNNE)

They studied 300 breeding hens belonging to a maternal population of slow-growing chickens called ‘T6’, a common genotype in that region. The hens were subdivided into a control group and an experimental group, with different diets assigned to each group.

In total, the study collected 1,742 eggs, classifying each by colour into 3 categories: white, medium and brown. According to the results, the colour distribution of eggs was not homogeneous in both treatments.

Fewer white eggs

The test group presented a lower white eggs percentage. Meanwhile, a higher proportion of medium-coloured and brown eggs was seen in comparison to the group without treatment. There were no more details about the feeding programme.

“This suggests that more nutritive feeding during the rearing stage trabslates into improvements in the quality of the hatchable egg,” highlighted Aranzazú Grossi, researcher, and Fernando Revidatti, professor at UNNE’s Faculty of Veterinary Sciences.

Resistance and hatchability

They explained that previous studies on another hen’s genotypes indicated that coloured eggshells were positively correlated with some shell characteristics, such as resistance and hatchability.

The Department of Poultry Production of the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences has been working for years on basic and applied research related to the production of laying and breeding hens.

Those actions have been developed in coordination with producers, companies and other science institutions in the region. They hope this scientific knowledge about regional genotypes could contribute to productivity.

Anyhow, according to the researchers, there is inconclusive scientific evidence linking eggshell colour to hatchability in poultry farming. They agree that it is assumed that coloured eggs evolve favourably in incubation process with higher fertility and hatchability percentages than white eggs.

Daniel Azevedo Freelance journalist Brazil
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