Good, stable egg production and good quality are of utmost importance. Bad management practices, feed and environment-related issues and diseases are some of the factors which may negatively impact egg production and egg quality.
Also animal-related factors, such as age and strain of layer birds, must not be disregarded. Older birds and birds after molting are known to produce bigger eggs with thinner shells and indigenous strains cannot quite compete with commercial layers in terms of number of eggs produced.
Several management issues (see table) may lead to nervous birds and/or traumatic lesions in the ovary which cause poor egg quality (fragile shell/bloodspots/meat spots). Nutrition-wise, improper balance of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D may lead to thin egg shells. Also large amounts of Lucerne/alfalfa meal in diet can lead to blood spots caused by vitamin K antagonists in this feed ingredient. Interestingly, the use of the drug sulphaquinoxaline may have the same effect as mineral imbalance. In terms of pathogens, Infectious Bronchitis (IB) causes respiratory disease and kidney damage in growers and oviduct infection in adult hens which can cause wrinkled egg shells as well as a reduction in eggs laid.
Due to the liver and kidney toxicity mycotoxins may negatively impact egg and shell formation, leading to poor egg and shell quality (pale eggs/small, fragile shell/bloodspots/meat spots). For mycotoxin-related problems, prevention can be undertaken through the use of a proper mycotoxin risk management tool which adsorbs and/or biotransforms mycotoxins, thus eliminating their toxic effects for the animals, while guaranteeing liver and immune protection. The Mycofix® product line from BIOMIN combines the three strategies – adsorption, biotransformation and bioprotection – which work together to prevent the hazardous effects of mycotoxins in poultry flocks.