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Author Topic: Pale yolks  (Read 10191 times)


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Pale yolks
« on: June 28, 2008, 08:21:20 pm »
We are regularly getting an egg with a pale yolk - it's cream. The eggs are fine - they taste OK, and we're fine after eating them. The frequency makes me think that it's the same hen although I don't know which one.

Anyone experienced this and know the  cause?



  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Fife
Re: Pale yolks
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2008, 12:43:04 pm »
I found this info... hope it helps a wee bit.

The egg yolk

Why are egg yolks yellow?

This is one puzzle that is easily solved: the color of the yolk reveals what the hen has been eating. The carotenoids in the hen’s feed make the yolks yellow. They are found throughout the natural world, in fruit and vegetables for example, and are easily recognized by their yellow to orange-red color. The greater the quantity of these colorful substances in the hen’s diet, the stronger the shade of the yolk is. The hen ingests yellow pigments in corn or grass, for instance. A golden yolk is produced by red carotenoids from red peppers or by canthaxanthin, a substance found widely in nature.

The hen - a truly high-performance production unit

In the ovaries of one hen, several thousand egg cells wait to start out on the path to a finished egg. The yolk matures within seven to eleven days. After ovulation the yolk enters the oviduct, where it is enveloped in several layers of egg white. A thin shell membrane forms in the part of the oviduct known as the isthmus. Finally, the egg enters the shell gland, where the shell itself develops. Just before the egg leaves the hen’s body it is covered with a thin protective coating called "bloom". Thus hygienically packaged, the little voyager sees the light of day. A hen egg takes about 24 hours to pass from a yolk to a finished egg. A hen lays about 280 to 300 eggs a year - a truly magnificent achievement.

» By the way: brown eggs take on their hue only in the final 5 hours of shell formation. «

Why we love yellow egg yolks

Our preference for golden yellow egg yolks is rooted in history. Pale yolks were always a sign of sick hens, worm infestation, or poor feed. Only healthy, well-nourished hens store carotenoids (preliminary forms of vitamin A) in their yolks. Bright golden-yellow yolks show that the hens are well supplied with essential carotenoids such as lutein or canthaxanthin. These protective substances are widely found in nature; they not only give the yolk its yellow color, but also prevent the oxidation and destruction of fragile, vital substances such as vitamins in the egg.

Europe is not unanimous

Where the color of egg yolks is concerned, Europeans are not unanimous. A real North-South divide can be observed. While the northerners prefer pale yellow yolks, the preference of consumers for golden-yellow yolks grows as we go further south. On the shores of the Mediterranean, only bright, orange-red yolks stand a chance of reaching the plate.

From chicken feed to yolk pigment.    

Not all carotenoids find their way into the yolk. The well-known beta-carotene, for example, is completely converted to vitamin A and metabolized by the hen. Beta-carotene has no effect on yolk color. Canthaxanthin, another carotenoid, is different: Birds only convert about 30 per cent of it into vitamin A. The rest is stored in the egg yolk as a protective substance, causing the yolk to take on a golden-yellow hue.

Source :


  • Joined Oct 2008
  • Normandy, France
Re: Pale yolks
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2008, 06:50:07 pm »
Now this is a truely informative response - who would have thought it. Thanks Townie!

It is nice to know we must be doing something right since we always enjoy the very tastiest yellow yolked eggs from our ladies.

How is it then, that there is such a huge taste difference with our own eggs, comparied with even the free range eggs that can be bought from the supermarket?
Ours are just full of flavour.

I was just wondering!

Kate  :chook:
Bonjour et avoir un bon jour !


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Pale yolks
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2008, 07:41:12 pm »
Interesting but doesn't really explain one - they all get the same feed, are kept under the same conditions and none look unwell. All other eggs are bright yellow yolks as we've come to expect.

Apart from the yolk, the egg is lovely - firm white, good shell but cream yolk. It's not even pale yellow.

I'll worm them this week and see if it makes any difference.


  • Joined May 2008
  • glenay 79330 france
  • retired and married in north deux sevre FRANCE
Re: Pale yolks
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2008, 08:59:47 pm »
often commercial free range eggs are paler yolks cause so many birds use the same ground..........small flocks allow the insects and plants to at least have a chance of recovering...........someone told me that during the war they fed chickens paprika to darken the yolks but i have no personal knowledge of this............but maybe someone has tried it
retired to deep in rural france.keep 2 shih tzu dogs ( 1 boy 1 girl),1 cat(girl),lots of pure breed chickens(both sexes)....golden pheasants(both sexes) and the best wife a man could have


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