Egg quality different in winter??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ronspost, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Ronspost

    Ronspost New Egg

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    I am relatively new to the chicken thing. My chickens started laying last spring and I was amazed at the quality and taste of the eggs. This is my first winter with chickens and I have noticed that the whites are much thinner, runny even, and the yolks less sturdy, less orange, and less flavorful. I am assuming that the yolks are due to the fact that there are less free range greens (grass mostly) in winter, but I haven't found anything definitive on the whites issue. My local feed store lady says she doesn't understand why my whites are runny, so perhaps it's not a seasonal thing and there is some other issue. All my chickens are about 17 months old, they are free range, safe, secure and stress free, good feed, with frequent table scraps, their coop is clean and well maintained, they have access to fresh water, and they all look healthy and free of any disease. The eggs are still better than store bought, though not nearly as good as my summer eggs. Any thoughts, ideas?? Thanks.
     
  2. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would imagine that you nailed the reason the yolks are less satisfying. Does it help when you add green leafy kitchen produce scraps?

    I'm not sure about the whites. I have noticed that whites become thinner the older the egg is, but if it is same day, I'm not sure.

    Oh, and [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  3. Maggie C

    Maggie C Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The diet is very different in the winter, as is the lack of sunshine and outdoor time. It all adds up. No bugs, less energy in the plant material too. Things are much more "dormant". It is doubtful that a chicken, say 100 years ago, laid much at all in the winter, to be honest. Most of the strains we have today far outlay their ancestors.

    I re-constitute alfalfa pellets for additional green intake in the winter. It helps quite a bit. But, winter is nature's time to rest, sleep, hibernate and rejuvenate. We go with the flow.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi and welcome to byc from northern michigan :D

    I store pumpkins and squash in my above-freezing but cold garage and give the chickens 1 every 2 or 3 weeks. They love to pick at them and their yolks stay brightly colored. If your eggs get pretty cold before you get a chance to collect them, that may affect the quality but not the nutritional value.
     
  6. EMAW

    EMAW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There was an article in mother earth news by I believe Joel Salatin (sp) where he discusses with a chef about how some chefs are trained to use eggs at different times of the year for different purposes due to the changes in the egg. (yoke/whites)
    BL: I believe your egg qualities will change throughout the year based on many factors, light, green leafy stuff, bugs, etc... I wouldn't worry to much.
     
  7. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    your eggs aren't getting frozen, are they? I've noticed that when my eggs freeze, the whites are runnier when they thaw out.
    You've already nailed the problem with the yolks.
     
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Nature has it's seasons. I understand that even the roosters' sperm count is way down during the dark days of winter?
     
  9. Ronspost

    Ronspost New Egg

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    Thanks everyone! Fun forum. The eggs do get cold in the barn, but I don't think they are freezing. I've even collected them shortly after they were laid and there is no difference in the quality of the whites. All the eggs in question are no more than a week old and most are 1 or 2 days old. I have 6 different varieties of layers, though they all came from the same hatchery. I did buy a bale of alfalfa that they are picking at, which I think has made the yolks a little richer, but no change in the whites. Crazy me, I even thought about the lack of bugs issue and bought a bunch of fishing worms to feed to them over the course of a week and still no difference. Anyway, I do suspect that this is a seasonal thing and since spring is right around the corner, I will report whether or not the whites return to their previous consistency. I just can't explain why no one else has had this issue. I also plan on supplementing my flock with a few chicks from another hatchery next month so I can see if there is a difference next winter. Thanks for all your feedback! :)
     

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