Does yolk color change as pullet gets older?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lisaleesa546, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. lisaleesa546

    lisaleesa546 In the Brooder

    Sep 4, 2016

    I've recently (finally!) had some chickens start laying eggs! I have a question I haven't seen to find any information on.

    My chickens are laying pretty pale yolks (same as commercial store bought eggs). I know I know, yolk color doesn't mean more or less nutritious. But I so want those bright orange dark yolks! I give my chickens purina layena feed. I read that greens help darken yolk color so I've been giving them fresh spinach and kale (now that it's winter I like giving them fresh things to eat since all the grass is dormant). I also give them corn and meal worms now that it's cold for some extra fat and protein. They do free range everyday, even though there isn't much left to pick at. They have been laying about a month.

    My friends chickens have been laying since summer. When I got eggs when they first started they were regular pale yellow (like mine now). Haven't got any in a while and just got another batch from her and they're a gorgeous orange color. She only feeds laying feed and keeps them in coop. So I'm the yolks darken as they get a little older and more experienced? This is my first time raising chickens so I'm hoping some more experienced people can share their experience with this.


  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    No, age has nothing to do with yolk color. What they eat does. Supposedly it’s not just beta carotenes that colors the yolks but some other carotenes as well. Those can come from a lot of different foods. Green leafy veggies, various veggies and fruit, and other things. I notice a difference when I toss them ripe tomatoes and ripe peppers from my garden, cabbage or broccoli leaves, things like that. Cooked beet skins can give them blood red poop as well as darker yolks. I was really worried until I realized I’d fed them coked beet skins.

    Right now I’m tossing dried marigold seed pods in the run as I clean up growing areas outside. Even though they are dried up and brown, they make a difference.
  3. Alfalfa hay for natural forage is best to use......I have Horses also.....Buy a bale and give them a flake.......

  4. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    My chickens just started laying last weekend but the yolks so far are all orangey (I prefer those too). I have my vegetable garden in a fenced raised bed inside the run, so the chickens can pick off the few leaves that get too close to the edge, plus they eat grass regularly (even with the frost they pick at the grass outside the run), so I believe the greens do help.

    My feed store sells kelp meal and that's supposed to help darken yolks along with providing extra nutrients but they also told me it wasn't really needed if the chickens got greens or grass fairly regularly.

  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member 9 Years

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    As others have said, supplement foods rich in beta carotene. Any dark leafy green, carrots, etc. Mine love carrot greens and beet greens too, but beet greens do turn their poop red! Don't freak out when you see red everywhere! I have also fed alfalfa hay, and that works well too.
  6. ChickenGrass

    ChickenGrass Songster

    Aug 16, 2015
    Republic of Ireland
  7. Bananabread

    Bananabread In the Brooder

    Mar 28, 2016
    Bay Area
    interestingly, i read an article comparing the taste of backyard eggs versus store bought and they found that when blinded, participants could not tell the difference. However, when able to visualize a darker yolk, the subjective taste scores went through the roof for backyard chickens over the paler store bought for thought...

  8. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    I've heard of that as well, though I can taste a difference in some egg yolks, not based on color but most likely freshness. I assume they pick up an off taste after sitting in refrigeration too long, like some other foods do.

    I eat most of my eggs poached, with a runny yolk, so that's always what I focus on tasting. I'm very happy to find that my newly laid eggs have yolks with a rich, creamy, mellow flavor. The orangey color is just a bonus as I do find it more visually appealing as well.

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