The darkness of the Yolk

Freebirdfarm

In the Brooder
Nov 12, 2016
6
0
12
My hens are a year old now, and last year they had run of the entire yard. The started laying in the fall of 2016. It seemed like until about spring time of this year I was getting yolks that were almost orange they were so dark.

Now this year, I have them confined to a pretty large run, but there is no grass really to speak of in that area, and I give them an extra layer pellet for food. They have a hanging food holder that's always there.

This year I have noticed, for at least the last three months that the egg yolk color isn't anything specatacular. They don't look as pale as store bought eggs, but they aren't magnificently orange like they used to be.

So is the egg color dependent on age/fertility, or is it diet, or what is it?

Thanks in advance for any enlightening responses.
 

cluckcluckgirl

Queen of the Coop
8 Years
Jun 16, 2012
2,982
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Tending to my chickens
The yolk color is mainly dependent on their diet. When they were foraging, they were consuming lots of greens, which led to the almost orange yolks. Some feeds will add parts of some plants into them to give you the deep yellow colored yolks.
 

Wishing4Wings

Isn't it Amazing?
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
May 7, 2012
39,075
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Sonoma County, CA
Yolk color is mostly diet. The carotinoids in green leafy foods and other types of colored vegetables make the yolks darker. It is generally a sign that the birds have a healthy diet and the eggs tend to be healthier too. A diet high in greens and grasses supposedly lowers the cholesterol in the eggs. In my experience, each bird may have lighter or darker yolk, but the carotinoids will deepen the color. There are some feeds that add marigold petals to color the yolk orange, but I'm not sure if it carries the health benefits or is sort of cheating. Summers are dry where I live, and green grass is usually gone by June, so I grow curly kale as a supplement. The birds love it, but it's still not as good as spring grass for getting those beautiful orange yolks.

We had barnyard chickens when I was a kid and I never had store bought eggs. I remember the first time I had a sleepover at a friend's house and was served eggs for breakfast with pale yellow yolks. I had never seen that before, and thought there was something wrong with the eggs! Having been raised properly, I ate them without complaint, but they were not nearly as good as our home grown eggs. My own kids are now spoiled with our delicious eggs!
 

ChickenMammX4

Songster
Mar 17, 2015
1,044
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SW Ohio
Our chickens are confined to a run but we give them fresh grass and weeds daily We just pull it out with our hands and throw it in the run. Also, grass clippings, garden/landscape debris, pumpkins in the fall and other fruits and veggies help keep those yolks dark. We sometimes give them alfalfa in the winter.
 

adstowe

Songster
Aug 8, 2016
387
518
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Colorado
My birds free range most of the time, but living in a high mountain desert there isn't much in the way of greens outside of spring. I buy an alfalfa bale now and then and just throw some out for them every few days. They eat the leaves and the stems dry out and make a straw like flooring in the run for them to scratch around in when they are confined.
 

MrsAuberry00

Songster
Apr 30, 2017
339
385
166
Southern Indiana
My Coop
My Coop
I found this, but it doesn't explain why you'd suddenly get a super white yolk. Do you have a new layer? I'm wondering if the same hen can go from laying yellow yolks to cream.
http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/07/12/201501977/help-my-egg-yolks-are-freakishly-white

I do have four birds I've been waiting to lay, but this egg was the same size egg we've been getting from those fluffy butts in my picture, and it's the only one that had that color yolk. Every other egg I've cracked into has the usual lovely dark yellow/orange shade and they all eat the same feed and grass while free ranging the yard. Mysterious...
 

Wishing4Wings

Isn't it Amazing?
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
May 7, 2012
39,075
69,264
1,417
Sonoma County, CA
I do have four birds I've been waiting to lay, but this egg was the same size egg we've been getting from those fluffy butts in my picture, and it's the only one that had that color yolk. Every other egg I've cracked into has the usual lovely dark yellow/orange shade and they all eat the same feed and grass while free ranging the yard. Mysterious...
Sounds like the possible causes for the colorless yolks means you will get more. If not cappilaria worms, like sumi suggested, I suppose it could be some sort of metabolic problem.
 

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