Similar to prenatal vitamins for a pregnant woman, the quality of an egg can be greatly impacted by the nutrition of the layer. By changing a bird’s diet, everything from chick development to shell condition can be affected. For this post, we are going to focus on the effect minerals can have on shell strength, specifically in regards to the form they are given in.
When eggs are formed, the strength of the shell is imparted by fusion and confluence of the mammillae. In a recent study, Dr. Sally Solomon from the Institute of Biodiversity, Glasgow, United Kingdom, found that strength is reduced by the inclusion of abnormal forms of mineral. Conversely, in bioplexed form, selenium, manganese, zinc, copper, and iron are absorbed more readily. These elements are critical to a number of enzymatic processes which lead to optimal shell formation and are all essential nutrients contributing to shell strength.
Shell strength is important to eggs for withstanding the sometimes turbulent shipping process or to protect developing chicks from external challenges, among other things. So while it’s unlikely ‘walking on eggshells’ will ever become irrelevant, there are great strides being made towards improving the strength of the shells for when it’s most needed.
See the full report on the study here.