What’s in our food? Read a recent article by Ioannis Mavromichalis, who writes about poultry nutrition for the World Poultry e-newsletter. An egg production facility in Mexico was concerned about the green hue of their eggs. Turns out they had bought ‘a cheap load of imported cottonseed meal’ and added it to their laying hen feed. Background: grain and corn are rising in price and a global crisis re. the price of the feed our animals eat. Efficient producers try to lower costs to maximize profits, right? Cotton seeds contain a yellow pigment called gossypol which is ‘not that harmful’ to birds but will turn egg yolks green, brown, and black. The poultry facility added ferrous sulfate to the feed because iron will bind the gossypol, and keep the eggs from looking green. The hens eating that food continued to produce eggs for market.
We pay attention to the cost of feed, but it seems to make sense that high quality intakes sustain hens who will produce superior eggs. Sunflower seeds are not cheap, but we had fun watching our hens run to gobble up the local sunflower seeds we bought for them this winter. Even Jonathan, the rooster wounded by hawk attack, re-learned how to eat sunflower seeds, he wanted them so much.