|Plunkett, Shannon - University Of Wisconsin|
|King, Elly - University Of Wisconsin|
|Johnson, Luann - University Of North Dakota|
|Soldat, Douglas - University Of Wisconsin|
Submitted to: Journal of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2016
Publication Date: 4/1/2017
Citation: Heflin-Morgan, L.E., Plunkett, S.A., King, E., Johnson, L.K., Soldat, D.J., Raatz, S.K. 2017. Mineral content of eggs from backyard chickens reared under differing conditions [abstract]. Journal of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 31:962.5.
Technical Abstract: Among US consumers, there is a growing movement in which individuals focus on the development of a more sustainable lifestyle by eating food cultivated close to or at their home. This includes raising backyard chickens for eggs in both rural and urban area. Eggs are a valuable source of many nutrients, and there is an overall perception that eggs from backyard chickens are more nutritious than those obtained from commercial sources. Nutrient concentration in eggs is most strongly influenced by the diet of the hens. Backyard flocks are often fed a varied diet which, in addition to a commercial egg layer feed, may include supplements, scratch grains and kitchen scraps. Hens with outdoor access will also forage for insects and grasses and will intentionally or incidentally eat soil. These factors may result in varied nutrient intake levels. We examined the mineral concentration of the whole edible portion of eggs (yolk and albumen combined) collected from six backyard flocks in the greater Madison, WI area. Diet, nutrient supplementation, outdoor access and outdoor conditions varied among flocks. Concentrations of calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn), sodium (Na), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and zinc (Zn) were evaluated using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to compare egg mineral content among flocks. Nutrient intake, outdoor access and outdoor conditions (including soil mineral content) were evaluated as covariates. Significant differences in Ca, K and Mg (p <0.05) were correlated with differences in flock rearing conditions. Egg levels of Fe, Mn, Na, P and Zn did not vary. These data indicate that variability exists in the mineral nutrient content of eggs collected from small backyard flocks. Further research is required to identify husbandry techniques that can be adapted to small backyard flocks, particularly in urban areas, which optimize the nutritional content of eggs.