You would agree with me that the bright yellow color of table egg is one of the desirable qualities preferred by most egg consumers. It is believed that when the color of the egg’s yolk is bright yellow, the nutritious composition of the egg is adequate and the layer is fed with the right quality and quantity.
This is not true in most cases; layers lay eggs with other yolk colors such as pale yellow. This does not mean the chicken that lay the pale yellow yolk egg is not adequately fed. The color of the yolk is solely determined by the pigmenter compound in the feed. This implies that the yolk color can be induced by adding some feed additives known as pigmenter.
Parts of the Non-nutritional components of poultry diet are the poultry feed additives. They are added to poultry feeds to improve feed performance and animal well-being. Poultry feed majorly contains cereal and legumes; these two components take a larger percentage, like 95%, of the total feed formulation. Other ingredients are vitamins and minerals; they all play significant roles in poultry well-being.
Importance of Pigmenters as poultry feed additives
Pigmenters are examples of feed additives for poultry that enhance the quality of the chicken’s egg yolk color. Egg yolk colors are almost completely dependent on the feed served; yolk color is one of the internal qualities of an egg. Egg with bright yellow yolk is more preferred to an egg with the orange or pale color yolk.
The bright yellow color of the yolk is due to the presence of xanthophyll pigment in the diet. It can be sourced naturally or artificially, depending on the preference of the farmer. Yellow maize is a good source of xanthophyll pigment in the poultry feed.
Take a look at this:
Yellow maize contains this pigment; when used as an energy source in the layer feeds, it gives the yolk a bright yellow color. But wheat does not have this pigment. Hence, the use of wheat in a poultry feed requires the inclusion of pigmenters as additives to ensure the bright yellow color is achieved.
Poultry feed additives are classified into two; namely:
- Natural or organic feed additives
- Artificial or synthetic feed additives.
The natural poultry feed additives are those ones that are naturally present in feedstuff, like the presence of xanthophyll in yellow maize. If this maize is used as a whole source of energy in the poultry feed, then, the inclusion of pigmenter in the feed may not be necessary. However, if other energy feedstuff like wheat is used, then pigmenters can be added to the feed.
Synthetic feed additives are those materials developed to improve the performance of the poultry feed. They are not sourced in the feedstuff but synthesized in the laboratory and certified for livestock use. Example of synthetic pigmenter is canthaxanthin. This can be added to poultry diet to improve the egg yolk color.
List of Organic Pigmenters
However, people are becoming more conversant with what they consume. Everyone craves organic nutrition; as an organic poultry farmer, instead of adding the synthetic pigmenters to your poultry diet, you can add any of the below materials as organic poultry feed additives to give you a bright yellow yolk color. Various researches have proven that they have pigmenting property in them.
- Sunflower Petals
- Marigold leaves
- Orange peels
- Annatto Seed
- Chili pepper.
These are examples of feed additives for poultry with the ability to enhance a bright yellow color in egg yolk. They are natural and have no side effects; unlike the synthetic ones that tend to have residual effects upon consumption. These materials are applied in the dried form with no limitation since they are organic in nature. They give better yolk color compare to the synthetic ones.
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