Egg-cellent shell quality: Learn the basics

  • Calcium makes up 94 percent of the eggshell. To get good performance out of the bird, producers must maintain the health of the gut to allow for proper calcium absorption.
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What does it mean to “support the good guys” in relation to eggshell quality?

 

Dr. Kayla Price, poultry technical manager for Alltech Canada, discussed how eggshell quality is directly impacted by gut health and balancing our good microbes and potentially bad bacteria.

 

In the webinar “Egg-cellent shell quality: Learn the basics,” Price explained the essentials for a premium egg and the many different factors affecting eggshell quality. According to Price, producers must start thinking about egg development and quality as soon as the birds are in the pullet barn, where the skeleton, immune and digestive systems are developed. Proper development of these key systems creates a consistent growth pattern, maximizing the production from the layer.

 

Calcium: 94% of the eggshell

Price discussed the importance of calcium for a hen that is expected to lay almost an egg a day. Different feeding programs will have different calcium particle sizes, which directly affect how well calcium is absorbed. To get good performance out of the bird, we have to make sure we are maintaining the health of the gut to allow for proper calcium absorption. To do this, producers must supplement enough calcium in the feed for the bird to maintain her own health and produce an egg a day.

 

What about the minerals?

Price discussed how minerals contribute to the different stages of egg synthesis. Selenium protects the cells and integrity of the reproductive tract. Copper is important for eggshell development, pigments and collagen formation. Manganese aids the formation of the bone and organic matrix of eggshells and is a co-factor in glycoprotein enzyme for shell formation. And, finally, zinc helps bone and eggshell calcification, keratin shell membrane formation and eggshell carbonate production.

 

 

What else affects eggshell quality?

Click here to view the entire webinar and learn how nutrition, management, health, age, environment and genetics play a role.

 

 

Key takeaways from the webinar:

  • How an egg is made and the role gut health plays in the creation of an egg
  • The factors that influence a quality egg
  • Programs to enhance eggshell quality