A good layer flock should have less than 3% second grade eggs at 60 weeks and around 8% at 80 weeks of age. But what are the key aspects in controlling egg quality to achieve this?
Genetics: most egg quality traits are heritable, so genetics/breeding have significant influence on egg quality traits.
Nutrition: calcium, phosphorous, AA and protein balance, and the vitamins D3, A and K are important for egg quality and should be optimised within the diet. Yolk colour is influenced by xanthophylls. Avoid nicarbazine (for shell colour) and cottonseed / gossypol (to prevent mottling).
Health & Biosecurity: strategic vaccination and excellent biosecurity are a must for controlling diseases such as IB which can affect egg quality. Know what diseases are endemic in your area and vaccinate appropriately. Maintain biosecurity and hygiene, and water, feed and environmental quality to maintain bird health.
Management: management practices should maintain egg cleanliness; nest and belt hygiene and maintenance, management to reduce floor eggs, and dusty eggs (in cage free systems), avoidance of feeding during peak laying times and maintenance of good bird health and welfare.
Egg handling: correct storage temperature and humidity are critical for maintaining egg freshness and quality. Regular checks and maintenance on all transfer points as the egg travels from shed to shelf will create opportunities for minimising egg loss. Storing eggs near strong odours may lead to tainting of egg contents and should be avoided.