There are dozens of reasons why you might want to get chickens. They can be a good way of getting rid of kitchen scraps. Their feces are rich in nutrients, making them a good fertilizer for your garden. But, for most people, the biggest attraction is the eggs. Not only are they delicious, but they can also be a way to gauge how healthy your chicken’s diet is. Here are some of the things you need to know about the link between nutrition and eggshell quality.
How Does Nutrition Affect Eggshell Quality?
Getting good eggs starts early in the chicken’s life. Once the laying chickens are born, they need to be put in the right environment. This will allow them to build a strong immune system. It also ensures that they have a good digestive system. As a result, they will be physically strong enough to start producing eggs.
Once they are ready to start laying, chickens must be given the right nutrients. One of the most important nutrients will be calcium. This will make up about 94 percent of the eggshell. You might want to supplement the calcium as they are going to sleep. During the night, they will often form the eggs, before laying in the mornings.
There are plenty of other vitamins that will determine the quality of the egg. For example, phosphorous and Vitamin D both play an important role. The type of diet you are using can also affect the yoke quality. If you don’t feed your chickens the right foods, the yoke will appear pale, instead of yellow.
What Are Some Signs Of Low-Quality Eggshells?
One of the most obvious problems is that the eggs are getting cracked. Sometimes, this will result in a complete crack. This is where both the eggshell and the membrane have been damaged. At other times, it might only be a hairline crack. If the crack is thin enough, it might require a serious inspection before you can spot the problem.
There are a few other warning signs that you should look out for. As an example, it’s not uncommon for you to find that the eggs are misshapen. Sometimes, the eggs might be shell-less. Sometimes, they will be dirty.
There are a few problems that these eggs pose. First, you might not be able to use them for cooking. You often won’t be able to sell them as there is a risk that they will be contaminated. Additionally, they won’t be suitable for hatchlings.
What Do Chickens Need From Their Diet?
As we’ve seen, it’s important to make sure that chickens are getting the right food. This will make sure that both the eggshells are strong and that they are kept healthy. Here are some dietary tips for you to follow.
First, it’s important to get a high-quality poultry feed mix. This will have most of the nutrients that your chickens will need to live a healthy life. There are plenty of varieties that you can use. For example, you might find that they will come as a grain. Alternatively, you can get some that can be used as a pellet or a mash.
You’ll also need to make sure that you are giving your hens some fresh fruits and vegetables. These provide additional nutrients and a more varied diet. For example, hens will often enjoy things like bananas, carrots, apples, and cabbage. You can also give them some kitchen scraps. They enjoy vegetable peels. If you want to provide a special treat, you can give them cooked foods like pasta.
In most cases, as long as you do this, you’ll be able to get healthy chickens. But as they get older their nutritional needs will change. Because of this, you might need to provide calcium supplements. If you think this is the case it’s best to consult with the vet first. They will be able to tell you how much you should be giving them.
What’s the Best Way to Give Them Feed?
The core of your hen’s diet should be poultry feed. However, it’s important to make sure that you are distributing it properly. Most of it will need to go into a feeder. If you have a larger flock, you might need to get multiple feeders. This will ensure that it isn’t too cramped. It’s also important to consider the material. Most people gravitate towards metal because of how durable it is. If you want more tips, make sure to check out this guide to chicken feeders.
You’ll want to sprinkle a small amount of feed around the enclosure. This will allow the chickens to forage for their food. This replicates natural behaviors, which will decrease stress levels.
What Other Factors Affect Eggshell Quality?
While diet is important, it isn’t the only thing that will impact the quality of your eggshells. For example, you’ll also need to look at water quality. While this can often get overlooked, it’s a critical component of chicken health. You might want to set up an automatic watering system, to make sure that there is always plenty for them to drink. Also, check that there isn’t any mold on the water dish.
You’ll also want to check the health of the chickens. If eggshell quality is declining, it can sometimes indicate they have a disease. At other times, lower shell quality is a natural response to old age. Either way, you might want to consider taking them to the vet, for a health check.
The eggshell quality can be a good indicator of the health of your chickens. If you start to spot that the eggs are cracked or the shell is too thin, it can be a problem with the diet. Feeding the hens a good poultry mix and the right combination of fresh fruit and vegetables might solve the problem. If it doesn’t, you might want to take them to the vet. They will be able to help you pinpoint the problem.
About the Author Sarah Duke – apart from being a writer on several sites, also runs a shop that sells everything for planting, watering, and composting. Sharing her experience as an owner of a small farm.