Backyard Poultry

Healthy Chickens Mean Wholesome Eggs

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Purina Animal Nutrition

Even as one of the most nutritionally rich foods on the planet, the egg can be enhanced by improving what is fed to the hen.

Hens are very good at incorporating what they eat into the developing egg. For example, hens fed ground flaxseed will produce eggs with a much higher level of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an important omega-3 fatty acid, while those fed algae meal will lay eggs with higher amounts of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), another very valuable omega-3 fatty acid.

The greater inclusion of vitamin D in today’s poultry feeds has increased its concentration in eggs (which are one of the very few natural sources of this critically important vitamin). Even the color of the yolk is influenced by pigments the hen consumes. This is a very important concept for people raising backyard hens for egg production. Fed a poor diet of unfortified scratch grains and table scraps, not only will the nutrition of the egg suffer, but the hen’s production will likely decrease and her eggshells will be thinner, leading to increased breakage and wastage. Many of us may remember our grandparents feeding chickens this way, but we know much more about nutrition of both chickens and humans than we did back then. And, our grandparents’ chickens probably had much larger areas in which to roam and forage for insects, grubs and various forbs. Our grandparents also may not have used supplemental light to keep hens laying through the winter, when there are no bugs or weeds to consume.

Researchers have worked hard to determine the nutritional requirements of chickens and to develop feeds that meet those requirements. Purina® Layena® Recipe has a vegetarian formula with added vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients, while Purina® Layena® Recipe Plus Omega-3 is formulated with premium whole ground flaxseed to result in more Omega-3 in the egg. Neither has any added antibiotics or hormones. Like all Purina® Poultry Feeds, Layena® and Layena® Plus Omega-3 contain marigold extract for rich golden yolks, key levels of calcium and manganese for strong shells with few cracks, and an optimized level of Vitamin E help support a healthy immune system. These formulas put great nutrition into your chicken, and she puts it in her eggs.