Vet’s Fo­rum

Country Smallholding - - Inside This Month -

Wel­fare ad­vice with poul­try vet Vic­to­ria Roberts

QI have Marans and Black Rocks, and re­cently added a six month old Am­ber Star and a Blue­bell. The lat­ter two have been lay­ing eggs with slightly bluey/ green tinged yolks. Why would this be, es­pe­cially as they are be­ing fed the same as the other birds? They free-range in my gar­den.

VR SAYS:

If they are free-rang­ing the two new ones could have found a plant they are shar­ing which would colour the yolk. We do know that acorn con­sump­tion will pro­vide a dark line around the yolk, but other strange colours have not yet been proven to come from spe­cific plants (there’s a project for some­one). The orange colour we ex­pect of yolks from free-rang­ing hens is ob­tained from dark green plants – com­mer­cial feed tends to have this can­thax­an­thin colourant added (e.g. marigold petals pro­vide a good and con­sis­tent source) since pale yolks are not con­sid­ered as healthy. There is some truth in this as there are less omega 3s in pale yolks. The new hens may have had an in­ci­dent in their rear­ing to cause the odd colour­ing; maybe you should con­tact your sup­plier to ask hus­bandry ques­tions?

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