Mineral content of eggs differs with hen strain, age, and rearing environment
Egg nutrient quality is strongly influenced by hen diet but is also affected by rearing environment, hen strain, and hen age. The objective of the current study was to determine the effect of: 1) conventional battery cages, 2) enrichable cage systems, 3) enriched colony housing, 4) cage-free, and 5) free-range rearing systems on mineral concentrations of whole, dried egg (yolk and albumen combined) from TA Tetra White (TW) and Hy-Line Brown (HB) hens at 44, 68, and 88 wk of age. We hypothesized that mineral concentration of eggs would differ among rearing systems but not between strains or with hen age. Hens held in enriched colony housing systems produced eggs with 10% lower Mg and 11% lower Mn levels than conventional hens. Concentrations of Ca and Cu were higher (7 and 8%, respectively) in eggs from TW hens than from HB hens. Eggs from HB hens had 8% higher concentrations of Fe, 6% higher Mg and 5% higher Mn than TW hens. Mn was higher in eggs from 44-wk hens than from 68- or 88-wk hens (16 and 11%, respectively). Interaction effects between rearing environment and hen age were observed for K and Mn concentrations. Eggs from 68-wk hens in conventional rearing systems contained 14 to 21% more K than eggs from conventional hens at 44- and 88 wk and 14 to 18% more than eggs from 68-wk hens in other rearing systems. At 88 wk of age, hens in conventional rearing systems produced eggs with higher Mn concentration than hens in enrichable or enriched colony housing systems (22 and 23%, respectively). Interactions between rearing environment, hen strain, and hen age were observed for egg Zn levels among 44- and 68-wk hens but were not detectable among 88-wk hens regardless of rearing system or hen strain. Observed differences in egg mineral content in our study were small and are unlikely to have substantial impact on human nutrition.
Laura E Heflin, Ramon Malheiros, Kenneth E Anderson, LuAnn K Johnson, Susan K Raatz (2018) Mineral content of eggs differs with hen strain, age, and rearing environment. Poultry Science. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3382/ps/pey025