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Poultry Eggshell Quality

Why is improving eggshell quality in poultry important?

Eggshell quality is a concern for many egg producers who sell shelled eggs to the market, as they lose money due to every broken egg and every egg that does not meet market quality standards. About 10% of eggs produced are either uncollectible or broken before they reach market, which can add up to several million dollars lost each year.

Stronger eggshells can prevent the breakage caused by packaging, handling and transportation, allowing for more saleable, consistent, quality eggs and saving producers money as a result.

What are the components of an egg that affect eggshell quality?

Internal quality

  • Haugh units
  • Yolk units
  • Yolk index
  • Yolk percentage
  • Egg white index
  • Percentage of thick and fine egg white
  • Egg white and yolk pH

External quality

  • Specific gravity
  • Eggshell thickness
  • Eggshell strength
  • Eggshell composition percentage — ideal shell composition outlined below:
    • 94% calcium carbonate
    • 1.4% magnesium carbonate
    • 3% glycoproteins
    • Mucoproteins
    • Collagen
    • Mucopolysaccharides


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Egg quality evaluation - possible causes of abnormal shells

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Signs and causes of poor eggshell quality in poultry

  • Broken eggs
  • Visible eggshell irregularities

6 factors affecting egg quality in poultry

  1. Nutrition
  2. Management
  3. Health
  4. Age of bird
  5. Environment
  6. Genetics

How can eggshell quality be improved?

  1. By implementing a good nutrition program that features supplements and minerals provided in a form that is readily available to birds.
  2. Through proper bird and facility management and monitoring.
  3. Via a holistic gut health program that may include feed additives.
  4. By building awareness of specific diet/performance requirements.
  5. By providing a biosecure, clean environment.
  6. Through incorporating good genetics.