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Author Topic: Yellow Yolks?????  (Read 4675 times)

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Yellow Yolks?????
« on: May 07, 2014, 08:50:15 am »
My father commented a few weeks ago that his Wyandottes eggs had changed in that the yolks had become much paler. The birds are about 5 years old and so he put it down to age.

He then bought some point of lay pullets ..... warren type hybrids and White Star hybrids. These are now laying but same thing. The yolks are what he describes as 'yellow' .... much paler than he would expect. The birds free range during the day and are on very good grass. They are fed layers pellets and thrown a few handfuls of corn as a treat each day.

The pullets were from reputable supplier. All the hens were wormed with Flubenvet a few weeks ago by my father.

He lives next to a river so lots of mallard on his ground, also some pheasants. He did suspect that a couple of his older birds could have had gape worm a while ago, hence wormed them all. Birds stopped 'gaping' (it was only a couple of them) and all appear healthy and laying well.

He has always kept hens but never remembers his birds laying eggs with such pale yolks.

Any ideas?  :-\


  • Joined Apr 2013
Re: Yellow Yolks?????
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2014, 08:59:41 am »
I had a quick read up and I wonder if the food has changed?  Has he changed the food supplier?
If chickens get lots of grass and corn the eggs tend to be richer in colour.
If all chickens of different breeds are laying pale eggs then it has to be an environmental cause.
Not aware of any diseases that result in pale eggs.

useful link.
If you cant beat 'em then at least bugger 'em about a bit.


  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Bala, North Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Yellow Yolks?????
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2014, 09:22:49 am »
Has he got layers pellets without yolk enhancer (colouring). I noticed mine went a bit paler when I went off layers pellets.


  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Yellow Yolks?????
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2014, 09:28:23 am »
Hybrids produce lighter yolks than pedigrees anyway in my experience Inthehills. I put it down the the laying rate in that hybrids have less material and time to put into the yolks. They don't taste as nice either. Our Wyandottes are 4 and their yolks are still a good colour so the lightening is something I should watch out for next year. Perhaps they won't be so good for breeding at that age either. Can't see anything wrong with the diet your father is using- it's exactly the same as ours.

Good point by FiB. The chemical colorants combined with a good diet would give very golden yolks and if the brand has changed to a natural layers pellet there might be a lightening effect. Not something we noticed when we switched to Smallholders though.

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Yellow Yolks?????
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2014, 09:35:30 am »
That was what I asked him initially FiB. He wasn't sure. I'll get him to have a look today at the bag. He said they were TFM's (his local agri stores) own brand of pellets.

Thanks for that Q. I couldn't think of a reason other than diet but thought someone else might have an idea. Does seem a bit odd. He's kept poultry all his life and fed slightly different foods/ different amounts of corn etc but says he has never seen such pale yolks .... says they are no better than the colour of bought eggs.  ???

Coss posted with chrismahon. Thanks chris. Mmmmm ... will ask him to check the label.

Dad's Wyandottes have been brilliant layers Chris. They are a utility line and he has been really pleased with them. Mind you the cockerel is 'one to watch'  :o :o :o  ;D. And they are very noisy chickens.  ::)


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Yellow Yolks?????
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2014, 10:02:24 am »
Is it possible they are overfeeding on pellets and corn, and so not foraging and eating the things that will colour the eggs?  I had a neighbour did this - she kept giving us eggs that were no better in colour or taste than shop bought, but was giving her greedy birds ad lib pellets so they were fat and lazy.  When I eventually managed to get her to stop overfeeding, her birds started producing lovely tasty eggs with proper bright yellow yolks again.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Yellow Yolks?????
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2014, 11:38:46 am »
That's a good point SallyintNorth. Perhaps as they get older they get lazy -just like me!

Our Wyandottes are noisy as well Inthehills. The cockerels we have had in the past were magnificent, but the show breeding stock is very small and that's all we have found to replace them. There is someone in Brittany breeding utility Wyandottes and his cockerels look big and powerful, just like ours did. Problem is it's a 500 mile drive from here!

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Yellow Yolks?????
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2014, 12:18:35 pm »
Thanks all.

SITN - spoke to Dad this morning. Said he'd wondered the same. They are fed pellets ad lib. Older birds are let out first thing but younger birds kept in until 11am to establish where to lay. He didn't think they were eating a huge amount and seemed to be foraging but he's going to try restricting food a little.

He hasn't changed pellets and yolks of older birds were previously a good colour. The label states 'colour enhancer' but gives no details. He is going to look for a different brand.

Chrismahon - The cockerel, George, is a grand fellow but knows it. He has had big burly builders pinned against the wall in his younger days. He only has to hear his girls talk and he is there to protect them. Think I might have put him in the pot but Dad is very fond  ;D George is mellowing a little now with age  ;D.
Could you send for hatching eggs .... 500 miles is just a tad too far!?


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Leafy Surrey
Re: Yellow Yolks?????
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2014, 01:39:30 pm »
Very interesting read this thread!  My chickens have food available all the time and are hybrid chickens but they lay eggs with a very dark yolk.  They don't seem to eat very much to be honest, some days I don't need to top up and some days they eat loads and I do.  I always thought that giving food to them continuously was the way to do it - am I wrong?


  • Joined Nov 2012
Re: Yellow Yolks?????
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2014, 03:11:05 pm »
My chucks have always been fed pellets ad lib and we have always had dark yolks, they are free range and get a treat of corn in the evening.  It works for us.

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Yellow Yolks?????
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2014, 05:41:09 pm »
Greenerlife, mine and my fathers have always had ad-lib pellets too. Mixed corn as a treat. Previously all laid dark yolked eggs. Usually seems to be a fine way to feed.

Just looking for possible reasons why the whole of his little flock are laying noticeably pale yolked eggs. Something must have changed I suppose.  ??? Maybe not diet at all.


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Yellow Yolks?????
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2014, 06:28:20 pm »
I don't feed my hybrids ad lib, if I did they would eat me out of house and home... they get some in the morning then a bit before bed and maybe some corn or veg scraps in between and their yolk colours are great, some darker than others.


  • Joined Sep 2008
  • Avonbridge, Falkirk
Re: Yellow Yolks?????
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2014, 09:57:47 pm »
How long has he had the young hens? It could just be that they haven yet adjusted to the diet with him, and the paler yolks are a hangover of their previous diet.



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