The great yolk color debate

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jolenesdad, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. jolenesdad

    jolenesdad Songster

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    I’ve gone from free-ranging to containment for my birds, and my eggs are suffering. I know that yolk color and diet is not “supposed” to affect taste, but I don’t know if I buy it. How can certain foods like onions change the taste, but a wide variety of good things not provide a more robust flavor, as it does color? I still love the flavor of my eggs, but I don’t think that they’re as rich. Maybe that’s my frustration at the color.

    Regardless, I’m after a darker yolk, if nothing just to know my birds are getting a varied diet. Below is a photo of my eggs, past and present.

    Egg 1 is from a month ago, free range

    Egg 2 is from two weeks ago, just layer crumbles. (Layena layer pellets)

    Egg 3 is from today. Switched feed two weeks ago to a non gmo feed with alfalfa. I’ve been fermenting feed and providing some alfalfa hay as well as weeds and grass clumps.

    918EEA8D-6B94-49F5-B9C5-982758B60B06.jpeg

    I’m only noticing a slight difference from egg 2 to 3. (Yolk size is due to being a newer layer before)

    What do you do for your birds confined to a run to maintain a rich egg color?

    I’m thinking about sprouting seeds, but wondering if I have to go all the way to the green stage to affect the color of the eggs?

    Also, when experimenting, how many days can it take for diet to actually have an effect on the egg color?

    Would love any tips you have on this!
     
  2. Cyprus

    Cyprus Master of the 'never give up' attitude

    My feature senses are tingling, a featured thread this will make :old

    I have heard that feeding dried marigold flowers improves yolk color dramatically. However, I have yet to try it.

    My girls free range 24/7 and their yolks are usually quite dark.
    When they were confined 24/7 the yolks did get lighter until I switched their feed to purina layena pellets and gave them grass clippings and fresh picked clover leaves and stems. I also got better yolks when they had a flock block.

    As of now, I get slightly darker eggs when I supplement their feed with Rooster Booster Feed Supplement.
     
  3. Emmett

    Emmett Chirping

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    No advice but can't wait to hear suggestions. I just moved from free range hens too!
     
  4. jolenesdad

    jolenesdad Songster

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    I have a bag of dried marigold flowers. I never tried it because I didn’t necessarily want to cheat, like is there even anything nutritional in that for them, or is it JUST for color?
     
  5. Cyprus

    Cyprus Master of the 'never give up' attitude

  6. jolenesdad

    jolenesdad Songster

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    That’s exactly what I have! :celebrate
     
  7. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

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    Foods high in the b-vitamins can make egg yolks darker.

    I think that what your sources were saying is this: Eggs taste better when the hens are on a richer diet; eggs are often dark because of a vegetation-based diet, which is usually rich; egg yolk color does not necessarily correspond to flavor (mostly due to "cheating" methods like marigolds, or simply feeding them a lot of corn.)
     
  8. Cyprus

    Cyprus Master of the 'never give up' attitude

    "Marigolds not only ward off insects in your garden, but they are also an antioxidant and promote the growth of new skin tissue. As an added bonus, chickens who eat marigolds lay eggs with bright yellow yolks."
    https://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2012/05/top-ten-flowers-your-chickens-will-love.html
     
  9. Firefoot

    Firefoot Chirping

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    I've had my chickens for almost two years and the older girls, even with free ranging all day every day, never got good yolk color. I just went to the feed store and asked for layer pellets and fed what they gave me. This past summer, I did a little more research and switched them to the Nutrena Hearty Hen. It has a lot of good stuff, I think, including marigold extract and a higher percent protein. I think it's made a big difference, though I might supplement them with a little bit more protein. (I know most layer feeds are 16% but I'm finding that that is actually quite low.) Their yolks are a much richer color now and I think the birds are starting to look better in general. They all free range still but a little bit less than last year due to predators. I wouldn't consider marigold extract as cheating because I think it's more than a dye -- it's got health benefits for people, too, including being a great antioxidant.
     
  10. jolenesdad

    jolenesdad Songster

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    Does anyone use sprouts for color?
     
    Cyprus likes this.

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