foods [mealworms] affecting egg shell color?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kari_dawn, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,372
    28
    198
    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    So, I noticed when I give my girls lots of mealworms for treats, their egg shells are darker in color. My easter egger who laid sky blue eggs would lay eggs with a darker greenish hue after consuming a lot of mealworm treats. My Buff Orpington would lay darker, more speckled eggs, and my other layers would also lay darker eggs. What causes it? Is it just extra protien?
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  2. Nonny

    Nonny Chillin' With My Peeps

    597
    18
    121
    May 16, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    That's really interesting!

    One of my Back Australorps had been laying darker than usual speckled eggs for a week and I assumed it was due to the change from "most of the day" free-ranging, to "an hour or two" free-ranging that caused the darker colour, but during that time I was also giving mealworms as extra treats for them (out of pity! LOL), so maybe you're onto something?
     
  3. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,372
    28
    198
    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    I wonder what the difference is? My girls free range regularly, so I assume they are getting lots of crickets and grubs [​IMG]
     
  4. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    16,242
    107
    336
    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Pretty sure the diet isn't effecting them, honestly. The only diet I've heard of that affects egg color is high copper foods like Quinoa on blue eggs, but other than that, change in egg color is likely just either A) a pullet adjusting to her true color or B) a different girl is laying the eggs.
     
  5. McKenley5

    McKenley5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    150
    1
    93
    Jul 9, 2011
    Your post made me laugh...not necessarily b/c of your question but something it reminded me of...

    When I first got my chicks a few months ago, I had someone tell me that if I wanted colored eggs I should feed my chickens fruit loops...I was like, "really??" (but I had my doubts). I think that the lady that told me this may be the "Fruit Loop"...Ha ha ha [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  6. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,372
    28
    198
    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    haha note to self-do not try that!

    Well, the only reason I kindof brought it up is because I only have five birds. Each of them lays a different color egg. I only have one easter egger (3 years old, has been laying for two years), so I know with certainty which egg is hers [​IMG] One buff orpington (2 years), a sultan (1 year), an australorop (2 years), and a welsummer (2 years). So far, it seems to happen pretty consistantly when they get a lot of mealworms, and a few days later, they go back to their "normal" color. I suppose it could just be coincidental. [​IMG]
     
  7. Kassaundra

    Kassaundra Sonic screwdrivers are cool!

    16,455
    1,622
    421
    Sep 1, 2010
    Henryetta
    I sure hope [​IMG] there is something to your observations (though I do not doubt Illia's knowledge on any chicken subject [​IMG] ) b/c I am currently growing my own mealies for my girls. I have not fed them any yet b/c I started a couple of months ago w/ only a couple hundred mealies so I need to let the colony get big enough to not crash it when I start feeding.

    How much mealies does it take to see the change?
     
  8. cjwaldon

    cjwaldon Overrun With Chickens

    5,170
    453
    301
    Sep 11, 2011
    Missouri, USA
    My Coop
    Just one more reason for me to get a mealworm colony started! [​IMG]
     
  9. gallusdomesticus

    gallusdomesticus Chillin' With My Peeps

    405
    9
    134
    Nov 14, 2008
    Lynn Haven, FL
    I am a sceptic as to the role of food in egg shell color. The yolk can certainly be darkened by allowing the bird to eat greens but the mechanics of egg shell formation would seem to prevent that. According to this article:

    http://pubs.acs.org/cen/whatstuff/84/8434egg.html


    in Science and Technology magazine," Brown eggshells contain the pigment protoporphyrin, a breakdown product of hemoglobin. Found only on the shell's surface, the brown pigment can be dissolved by vinegar or rubbed off with sandpaper. Blue and green hues are caused by the pigment oocyanin, a by-product of bile formation. White eggshells are devoid of these pigments."

    The relative shade of the colored egg seems to depend more upon how fast it passed through the pigment imprinting process in the oviduct or vagina than the food the bird has eaten.
     
  10. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    793
    4
    121
    Apr 22, 2011
    West Coast USA
    My chickens snacked on blackberries throughout the summer and their eggs started to develop lovely pink spots on the shell. Now that blackberry season is over, the pink spots are gone.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by