Eggs are the perfect food. They are naturally nutritious and have even been called nature’s multivitamin, as they provide a range of essential vitamins and trace minerals. In their book, Commercial Poultry Nutrition, Professors Leeson and Summers from the University of Guelph estimated that two eggs provide as much as 25 percent of the daily requirements of vitamin A and 30 percent of the daily requirement for riboflavin, an important B vitamin, for an adult human.
But levels of these essential nutrients present in eggs can and do vary, with the amount of the different nutrients often depending on the amount of these essential nutrients present in the feed that the hens are consuming. Recognising the importance of these essential trace elements and vitamins to the health of both the hen and her egg-consuming owner, NRM Peck ‘n Lay ration contains a comprehensive vitamin and trace mineral pre-mix designed to provide optimum levels of these essential nutrients.
While vitamins may be present in some of the feeds consumed by free-ranging poultry, there is considerable variation in the amount available to the bird due to inherent variation in levels in plants, as well as destruction of vitamins over time by physical and chemical agents. Feeding a quality balanced feed like NRM Peck ‘n Lay helps to ensure that birds obtain all the necessary vitamins to help support health and wellbeing, as well as egg production.
Eggs also contain large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants which play a role in limiting the degenerative processes that cause our eyesight to deteriorate as we age. The use of natural pigments extracted from marigolds and paprika in NRM Peck ‘n Lay provide a rich source of both lutein and zeaxanthin, ensuring that hens produce eggs with rich, golden yolks high in both of these essential antioxidants.
Regardless of the quality and quantity of nutrients provided in the feed, the amount of those nutrients that a hen can absorb will be limited if she has poor gut health. Some of the first indications that a hen is suffering from poor gut health may include diarrhoea or sticky dropping, or even a reduction in the colour of the yolk produced by an otherwise healthy hen. Many factors can affect gut health in poultry, from the presence of pathogens such as worms, to antinutritional factors such as complex carbohydrates that are difficult for poultry to digest and which are found in feeds such as wheat and barley. Manufactured from high quality ingredients, NRM Peck ‘n Lay contains specially selected enzymes that help to increase the digestibility of the feed, and added organic acids and essential oils to help support gut health.
View easy recipes and tips on how to prepare perfect eggs at www.eggs.org.nz
For more information, pick up a copy of the NRM Chook Book or talk to the friendly team at your local Farmlands store.
Article supplied by Natalie Chrystal, Nutritionist, NRM.