Assessing egg yolk colors

Egg yolk color on pasture

One of the best ways to
determine how much forage your chickens are getting from pasture is to
crack the eggs open and look at the color of the yolk.  I’ve found
that hard-boiling the eggs first makes comparisons simpler (and then
you can
out the egg whites and yolks
to turn into egg salad.)

Before running my egg
test, I hypothesized that our
cochin would have the palest eggs
because she always looks a bit befuddled on pasture, showing up last
when I dump weeds on the compost pile.  Sure enough, her egg yolks
were on the pale side (although still pretty bright by store-bought
standards.)  However, I was surprised to see that the old
Golden Comet who has recently started
laying again after taking a long winter vacation has eggs nearly as
pale.  (Actually, I’m not 100% sure of my ability to distinguish
between these two hens’ eggs since they’re both small and pale-shelled.)

Chicken hunting wormsOn the other hand, the young
Golden Comet and the other old Golden Comet have brilliantly
yellow-orange egg yolks.  I guess I should be focusing my
propagating the genetics of these two since they’ve proven themselves
to be prime foragers.

As a side note, I’m sure
you’re all aware that the brighter the colors of your egg yolks, the
healthier the eggs are for you.  But did you know that egg yolk
color stays bright until your hens have been off pasture for about 50
days, then comes back after only seven days on spring pasture?

Our chicken waterer keeps the flock well
hydrated during a busy day spent scratching for bugs.

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