Good Morning from your farmer,
Why I have CHANGED MY MIND on layer feed ingredients to affect egg yolk color!
First, how I got started on this topic. As you know, we have had record heat and lack of rain that has negatively impacted our farm - especially the chickens. And with the high night time temperatures the hens did not have any cooling down time. This drastically affected their lay rate to the point we could not fill all orders for our customers.
So, I reached out to a Regenerative Farmer Friend in MO who has extra eggs available and purchased a pallet. Here is a picture of his eggs
One of the restaurants we serve commented: "These eggs are incredible. Not sure what them chickens have been eating but I love it!"
This led to a discussion with my friend who shared his feed formula.
I then was curious what the price difference would be compared to our current pellet formula. So, I shared this formula with Alyssa and had her quote this formula. She said the price was within a penny of our current feed price.
UNTIL NOW I WAS TOTALLY AGAINST ADDING INGREDIENTS TO AFFECT YOLK COLOR FOR MARKETING REASONS!
My friend also stated that the marigold and paprika has been proven to improve hen health as well as human health. And that both ingredients are all natural and not processed or refined. He provided a thread discussion from APPPA from Feb 2021 that helped him make his decision.
Of course, there are many different opinions, beliefs, thoughts, etc. about this subject from producers. Many with the same opinion as I once had.
However, as I read through the thread from many diverse farmers there were several comments that influenced my decision to change my layer feed formula. Here they are:
Dave Shields/ Pastured Life Farm
- marigold actually passes some health benefits to the end customer being a carotenoid it is an antioxidant and actually helps prevent certain inflammatory disease. NOTE: Dave uses a feed similar to my MO friend.
Jeff Mattocks/Fertrell - Oro Glo is marigold petals that are harvested, dried and ground into a powder. Kem Glo Red - which is what makes the orange color or darker color is actually paprika which is a type of red pepper that is grown for the purpose of the red pigmentation.
Both are very natural and plant based. They are not "Artificial" or chemical ingredients.
The paprika is adding 490 iu of Vitamin A per gram. The same vitamin that they would be getting from grass.
Marigolds are also rich in carotenoids which one of the types of Vitamin A. Neither of these vitamin A forms is enough to supply all of the chicken's nutritional needs. But, they are adding to the total during the winter times.
The big problem is some of the egg marketers are using yolk color to help sell their eggs. To the point that it is forcing many of the growers I work with to add Alfalfa, marigold, and paprika.
My decision to change our feed formula then, is all about the health benefits for our hens and customers. As a marketing tool - not so much. However, you cannot overlook consumer perception that a darker yolk equals a better (more nutritious) eggs. My MO friend said he notice a significant bump in sales when he made this same decision. Thus - a win for all and no increase in price.
Lastly, I would like to share this video with you titled "I Changed My Mind About The Carnivore Diet" by Lillie Kane (click picture for video)
At Nature's Gourmet Farm, our intent is to create a community that evolves around one of the most intrinsically important things of the ages, and that’s the provision of sustenance. That's our passion - to raise healthy food to nourish families and strengthen immune systems.
** Product Availability Update **
NOTE: Restocks are made about 6 PM on the dates indicated below!
Wednesday I sent a Special RESTOCK Notice email regarding chicken we purchased from the same farm as the eggs. Orders from that email were 3x our regular average. Thank you for your trust, support and confidence in our farm.
Chicken - Restocked September 13th. Next restock is September 27th. Will include those held over to grow (are now a very nice cut up size) plus the larger from regularly scheduled batch. Processing will continue for twice per month for the balance of the year
Turkey - We have a few on pasture now and received a batch of 25 poults July 29th. The hot & dry weather has really affected them as over 75% died and others are not thriving. We have a new batch of 40 that arrived this week.
Eggs - Restock each Wednesday. We have a sale on Medium eggs in flats - save 25%. Now $10 per flat.
Beef - Next restock will be September 22nd.
Pork - Next restock for fresh pork was Sept. 13th. Cured items like bacon, ham, hocks will follow 7-10 days later
Lamb - Next restock was September 13th. Scheduled to process about 12 lamb in November just in time for Christmas