Eggs on the sunny side
Is there anything that I can give my hens to make their egg yolks more orange? Friends often comment how awesome the colour is but at the moment, their yolks are pale yellow in colour. A Julie Moore says: The colour of the yolk reflects what a hen has been eating. The yellow and orange hues of a yolk come from the carotenoids in a hen’s diet. Carotenoids are preliminary forms of vitamin A occurring naturally in foods such as corn, alfalfa, grass, dandelions, fruit, carrots, pumpkin and green, leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach. The greater the quantity of these foods in a hen’s diet, the deeper the yolk colour. A diet high in wheat on the other hand, will produce pale yolks as wheat is low in yellow carotenoids. A freeranging hen, able to scratch around for her food with access to plenty of grass, weeds, bugs and sunlight will ingest a natural diet containing yellow and orange pigments. Eggs from free-ranging birds will show a greater range in yolk colour based on the plants and bugs they consume during any given season and the degree to which this makes up their diet. If your hens consume a mainly commercial feed, the colour of the yolks will be fairly consistent throughout the year. However, it’s possible to change the colour of their yolks by supplementing their ‘normal’ diet with natural foods high in various carotenoids. For deep yellow eggs, provide your flock with deep leafy greens that can be hung in the run for your hens to peck at or add marigold petals to their feed. If you prefer darker, orange coloured eggs, give your chickens carrot peel, tomatoes or peppers from the garden.