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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Improving Efficiency of Growth and Nutrient Utilization in Heavy Broilers Using Alternative Feed Ingredients

Location: Poultry Research

Title: Production characteristics of Hy-Line W36 laying hens hatched from white and tinted eggs

Authors
item Kim, Elizabeth
item Purswell, Joseph
item Evans, Jeff
item Branton, Scott

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 7, 2014
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Eggshell color can greatly influence visual appeal of table eggs and within the U.S., table eggs are normally sorted and marked according to eggshell color to maximize consumer appeal. Table egg producers have noted increased incidence of “off- color” or discolored (DC) eggs derived from breeder hens. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to determine the production characteristics of laying hens hatched from different colored eggs. Hy-Line W36 eggs were obtained from a commercial breeder operation and eggshell color was assessed with a colorimeter to separate eggs into groups of discolored (DC) and non-discolored (NDC) eggs prior to incubation. Treatment groups were placed into separate hatching trays. At hatching, chicks from each treatment group were individually wing-banded. Pullets were randomly allocated into cages according to treatment groups at 18 wk. Birds were placed into individual cages, with five consecutive cages representing a treatment replicate. Each treatment was replicated 24 times for a total of 120 birds per treatment. Birds were fed a nutritionally complete layer diet. Live performance was evaluated from 18-34 wks of age. Birds were weighed every 4 weeks until completion. Average weekly egg production was calculated. Feed intake (FI), egg weights (EW), and egg color was analyzed biweekly. Birds hatched from DC eggs had significantly increased BW, FI, and hen-day egg production when compared to the NDC treatment. Eggshell color was also found to be significantly different for the NDC and DC groups with DC eggs being significantly further from true white. Selection of progeny based on eggshell color may be a criterion for selecting white egg layers as layers hatched from DC eggs resulted in more off-color eggs, which may affect consumer preferences for buying white table eggs.

Technical Abstract: Eggshell color can greatly influence visual appeal of table eggs and within the U.S., table eggs are normally sorted and marked according to eggshell color to maximize consumer appeal. Table egg producers have noted increased incidence of “off- color” or discolored (DC) eggs derived from breeder hens. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to determine the production characteristics of laying hens hatched from different colored eggs. Hy-Line W36 eggs were obtained from a commercial breeder operation and eggshell color was assessed with a colorimeter to separate eggs into groups of discolored (DC) and non-discolored (NDC) eggs prior to incubation. Treatment groups were placed into separate hatching trays. At hatching, chicks from each treatment group were individually wing-banded. Pullets were randomly allocated into cages according to treatment groups at 18 wk. Birds were placed into individual cages, with five consecutive cages representing a treatment replicate. Each treatment was replicated 24 times for a total of 120 birds per treatment. Birds were fed a nutritionally complete layer diet. Live performance was evaluated from 18-34 wks of age. Birds were weighed every 4 weeks until completion. Average weekly egg production was calculated. Feed intake (FI), egg weights (EW), and egg color was analyzed biweekly. Birds hatched from DC eggs had significantly increased BW, FI, and hen-day egg production when compared to the NDC treatment. Eggshell color was also found to be significantly different for the NDC and DC groups with DC eggs being significantly further from true white. Selection of progeny based on eggshell color may be a criterion for selecting white egg layers as layers hatched from DC eggs resulted in more off-color eggs, which may affect consumer preferences for buying white table eggs.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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