Maintainance and Control of Egg Quality
Eggs are a biological adaptation for birds to conquer a terrestrial lifestyle. They protect the developing chick embryo and provide food for the first few days of the chick’s life. The egg is also a very versatile nutritious component in human health.
Maintenance of the egg quality has posed to be a big problem for farmers involved in egg marketing. Eggs that have chicken droppings or leakages from other broken eggs have a high rate of spoilage compared to clean eggs.
Only good quality eggs should be taken to the market, meaning; broken, cracked and dirty eggs should be in the local sales for immediate consumption.
Egg quality has been deemed to be affected by a number of production factors.
Of great importance is the feed type. Sufficient nutrients must be supplied to intensively housed chickens in order for the hens to produce eggs with yolk colour and shell thickness.
Good yolk colour is basically ensured by high level of yellow maize, leaf or grass, which can either be mixed in their feed ration or fed wholly.
Secondly diseases tend to cause hens to lay eggs with misshapen shells and poor quality thick white. Such diseases include Infectious Bronchitis commonly known as IB and Newcastle disease.
The breed and age of the hens also affects egg quality.
The effects of breed on the eggs are inherent with reference to the colour, thickness and texture of the shell.
After the first season of egg production, hens tend to produce eggs of poorer shell quality and white thickness no matter how large the egg maybe.
It is therefore advisable to replace the flock between their 84th to 96th weeks of lay.
Temperatures also play a key role.
The most effective way to preserve egg quality is to store the eggs between 10o c and 15oc during all handling, transportation and marketing stages.
During hot weather and in the absence of a cooling storage system, eggs should be transported to the market at least every 3rd day.
In situations where fans or air conditioning are not available, well ventilated rooms or underground cellars can be used.