The effects which nutritional factors have on egg shell quality were outlined by Mr B D Jackson, BSc (Agric), NDP, a nutritional advisor with Glaxo Laboratories Limited, when he gave a talk on egg production and many of the factors affecting the profitability of poultry enterprises to a meeting of poultry farmers last Tuesday.
The meeting, sponsored by Messrs Robert Sands Ltd, was held at the Ardmore Hotel, Newry.
Mr Pat Byrne, past president of the UFU, presided, and the speakers included Mr Robin Hastings, LLB, of the British Egg Marketing Board.
During his talk, Mr Jackson discussed the constituents of an egg and explained how feeding, management and climatic conditions could affect the quality and quantity of eggs produced under modern conditions.
Water also played a part in this because when birds were deprived of water, food consumption and egg production fell.
Mr Jackson said the rearing of chickens needed to be carried out skilfully as any set back early in life could be reflected in the level of production and profit later in life.
The protein, energy, minerals and vitamins of the feed should be in balance one with another.
By the inclusion of Glaxo Vitablend Supplements and the careful balance of all nutrient factors to the least cost by computer, the range of feeds produced by Robert Sands Ltd gave the farmer the nutritional potential for high production and profits from his rearing stock or layers.
One major cause of loss of income was the down-grading of eggs due to shell faults. Mr Jackson said that while the handling of eggs played an important part in reducing hair cracks, nutrition could go a long way to ensuring that the best quality of shell possible was obtained.
“Often the cause of badly shelled eggs early in the laying cycle is due to a lack of calcium in the feeding programme of the chickens for the two weeks before the bird starts to lay,” he said.
“The bird is not able to absorb sufficient calcium to satisfy her requirements for egg shell production once she has started to lay, and until peak production has been passed.”