Does What You Feed Affect Nutrition of Eggs?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by cowgirl_up_47, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. cowgirl_up_47

    cowgirl_up_47 New Egg

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    A family member has been saying we should find out what to feed our hens to get eggs that are better for you and have less cholesterol. Is this even possible? Does what you feed your hens affect the nutrition of your eggs? We have been feeding Purina Layena Crumbles (and they free range during the day) and have had good egg production. Eggs have nice bright orange yolks and excellent flavor. Was just wondering if what we feed them affects the nutrition of the eggs that we get.
     
  2. Cindlady

    Cindlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From what I have read, unless you are feeding like the "egg factories" you already have better eggs. Deep orange yolks says they are getting lots of vegetation that means healthy eggs!
     
  3. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    If you have orange yolks, you are probably already free ranging your chickens and eating healthier eggs. Chickens that are pastured or free range have eggs that are healthier for you. It's like the difference in the meat and types of fat in feed lot beef vs. pastured beef. There's also a difference between salmon that feeds in the ocean and salmon that's raised in on an aquatic farm. Different diets produce differences in the good fatty acids in the fish.

    Eating green growing plants and bugs builds a better chicken and better eggs than eating just grain and soy. It changes the type of fat in the egg, plus the amount of cholesterol and various vitamins in it. Mother Earth News did an article on testing they had done on free range eggs. There are also a lot of web sites on the internet that have information on the biological and nutritional aspects of pasturing meat animals. Some of those describe more of the science behind why diet makes a difference. It turns out that the old saying, you are what you eat, really is true!

    You can also feed a small amount of flax to confined chickens, to effect the fatty acids in eggs. It doesn't give you all the benefits of free range or pasturing, but it's better than nothing. An even better thing to do with confined chickens is to figure out a way to give them more green feed, like grass and dark leafy greens. You can also sprout grain and let it grow until it's short grass.
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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  5. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And, here is information from the Manitoba Agriculture and Food agency on increasing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in eggs:

    (CLICK)

    Please note their caution about adding too much flaxseed to the hens' diet, however. Too much can cause deficiencies with other nutrients and vitamins.

    Steve
     
  6. cowgirl_up_47

    cowgirl_up_47 New Egg

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    Thanks for all the great info!

    We let our hens free range during the day and they are confined at night to keep them away from predators. I know that we're eating healthier eggs already, and since we have orange yolks, I think we will continue to feed them the way we have been and be content knowing our eggs are better for us than grocery store eggs. Although, we may try to figure out a way for them to get more greens when they have to be confined (vacations, etc).

    We sell our extra eggs and actually had someone tell us that they're the best eggs they've ever had, even better than farm fresh eggs that they were buying from someone else! I think that's a great compliment.

    Now, when they aren't free ranging, they get Purina Layena Crumbles. We haven't been giving them anything else. Should they be getting oyster shell or anything?
     
  7. BetterHensandGardens

    BetterHensandGardens Chillin' With My Peeps

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  8. snowflake

    snowflake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very nice and interesting articles. The flax seed addition was helpful, we have a source of flax seed at the farm market up the street, but I wasn't sure if I should grind or not as you are for human consumption, I think next time I go up I will get another bag and throw a little out to my hens once in a while. In Mi. the snow is finely melting and the hens are able to eat grass and even a few bugs. They are very happy!
     
  9. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Most commercial layer feeds have a minimal amount of calcium in them. I've found the eggshells are much harder when they have oyster shell free choice. Plus, I like knowing they aren't having to rob their bodies stores to produce those hard shells.
     
  10. Cindlady

    Cindlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I use eggs I bake the shells slightly and crush/grind them to a course powder and feed them back to the hens. 2 to 3 times a week I put a bit of oyster shells in their mash. Sometimes you almost need a hammer to crack the eggs open! [​IMG]

    I'm luck y(well, more so the chickens;) ) in that my DH works at a wholesale food warehouse that has produce so he bring me discards all winter. If per-chance I don't have enough, I will buy whatever is cheap at the store or cook up some carrots for them to peck at. I've also gotten some alfalfa hay. The only issue with that is because it's dry I've seen it cause crop issues. I chop it up a bit and soak it in water for a few hours. They gobble it up! The only thing I would have changed about my "winter feeding" was after a few weeks of not being able to rang, I thought after tasting one was "Needs more Bug!" [​IMG] I'll try to add more animal protein next year.

    All in all...if I can help it.... I will never buy "commercial" eggs again! Never did like them pale, tasteless, runny "things". Remind me of "winter tomatoes" ewww colorless, tasteless, rubbery "things"! [​IMG]
     

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