What affects the quality and size of the eggs?
There are various factors influencing the quality of the eggs:
First, the laying hen’s diet plays a crucial role in determining egg quality. Hens fed a balanced diet with the right nutrients produce eggs with better flavor, color, and nutritional content. Calcium plays an important role in the size of the egg. Moreover, a highly energetic diet, more protein, and a dietary supply of methionine and linoleic acid can increase the egg weight. The number of carotenoids influences the yolk color. For example, hens that eat more yellow or orange pigments may produce eggs with deeper-colored yolks. Examples of carotenoid-rich feed ingredients are flower petal meal, seaweed meal, alfalfa meal, dried sweet potatoes, dried carrots, and others.
The breed of the bird has a major role in the quality and the size of the eggs. For example, Leghorn chickens typically lay smaller eggs, while Rhode Island Reds lay larger ones. Also, Certain breeds tend to produce eggs with yolks that have a more intense, “deep orange” color.
The age of the hen can affect as well. Generally, younger hens lay eggs with stronger shells, while older hens may produce thinner shells. This happens as the hen ages, the eggshell quality, height of albumin and strength of vitelline membrane decreases.
The overall health and well-being of the hen are essential. Sick or stressed hens are more likely to produce lower-quality eggs. Proper healthcare and stress management are important for maintaining egg quality. Stress factors such as overcrowding, noisy environments, and disturbances in the coop can lead to poor quality. A calm and stress-free environment promotes better egg production.
Proper egg storage is critical to maintaining quality. Eggs should be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture loss and protect against contamination. Fluctuations in temperature can also affect egg quality. Clean eggs are essential for good quality. Eggs with dirty shells or those that come into contact with feces are at risk of bacterial contamination.
Puglisi MJ, Fernandez ML. The Health Benefits of Egg Protein. Nutrients. 2022 Jul 15;14(14):2904. doi: 10.3390/nu14142904. PMID: 35889862; PMCID: PMC9316657.
Dr. Gargi Mahapatra, 2021, Factors affecting Egg Quality & Physico-chemical properties of Egg, Bihar Animal Sciences University