Whether you grow or manage broiler breeders or you are a producer of table eggs, eggshell quality is a priority for your operation. For table egg producers, eggshell quality is important for ensuring that the eggs stay intact throughout the supply chain. For breeders, it’s about developing strong, hatchable eggs to improve embryo livability. In either market, cracked or broken eggs negatively impact your bottom line.
One parameter that must be monitored with eggshell quality is translucency. Translucent eggshells are a sign that the eggs did not form properly and can result in broken eggshells and reduced hatchability. When you use the right analysis tools, you will be able to partially see through eggshells that have high levels of translucency. And what this means is that the membrane, the collagen matrix and the eggshell itself did not have sufficient mineral deposition to form properly.
Eggshell quality must be monitored constantly. Since eggs are formed and produced daily, eggshell quality can fluctuate just as often. You may see good eggshell quality today, but all it takes is one hot day to have a negative impact tomorrow. Or it could be as simple as the stress of having an unfamiliar face enter the barn on a given day. Farm sanitation and biosecurity can also play a role because diseases and infections can cause changes to eggshell translucency.
In this article, we will look at the factors that can increase eggshell translucency and explore some solutions for improving eggshell quality in your operation.
Reduce Stress To Reduce Eggshell Translucency
Heat stress can cause increased eggshell translucency. When chickens pant, they lose CO2 through respiration, causing the pH of their blood to become more alkaline and reducing the amount of calcium in the blood, which can lead to bone problems. Since eggshell formation requires high levels of calcium, a reduction can result in the development of eggs with translucent eggshells.
If there is a disease outbreak in your breeder facility, it will force your breeder hens to divert critical nutrients away from egg production to the immune system to defend against the infection. This means fewer nutrients, like zinc, manganese and copper will be available to produce the membrane, the collagen matrix and the eggshell itself, further leading to translucent eggs.
Improving farm biosecurity to prevent infections, implementing effective heat abatement systems to reduce heat stress and investing in a good vaccination program are all key to reducing eggshell translucency. In addition, you can improve nutrition with Zinpro Performance Minerals®.
Trace Minerals Are Essential to Eggshell Formation
Trace minerals, including zinc, manganese, copper, selenium and more, play a role in ensuring the formation of a quality eggshell.
For example, copper is necessary for the formation of the inner and outer membranes. Manganese is essential for proper formation of the collagen matrix, and zinc is needed for the enzyme responsible for formation of calcium carbonate, prior to being deposited in the eggshell. Selenium is also important because of its role as an antioxidant, helping reduce oxidative stress that can further divert nutrients away from eggshell production.
Trace minerals from Zinpro Performance Minerals® utilize a unique mode of transportation to the intestinal lining, resulting in improved absorption. So if birds do encounter heat stress or an infection, you can be sure they will be able to mount a robust response and have enough minerals left over to continue fueling egg production.
And Zinpro is more than minerals. We have a comprehensive set of products, services and expertise to help you measure eggshell translucency and make improvements to your nutrition program, facilities and more to optimize your layer and breeder performance.