Eggshell serves more than just the covering of an egg. In fact, an eggshell functions to protect the content of the egg, which is rich in nutrients, from physical, biochemical, or microbiological damage. A good eggshell good should be strong, not easily cracked or broken.
Davin Tandiono, a layer farmer of the second generation from Sleman, Jogjakarta, said that traders buying eggs from a farmer usually pay attention to the physical appearance of the eggs. Eggs which are uniform in color (dark brown) and have strong shells will be more expensive. "The difference could be between Rp 500 and 1,000 higher than mixed eggs," said the son of a senior layer farmer, Hardi Suyono, who owns Bintang Farm.
That is why, it is natural if farmers try to produce eggs which are uniform in strength (thick shell) and color (dark brown). However, eggs are biological products, variations always occur. "The solution is by classifying eggs in grades. Never sell eggs without grading them first," he said. Through eggs-grading policy, the farmer income will be higher.
According to Man Budhi Mulyono, a layer farmer from Magelang, Central Java, egg quality can be identified from the shell condition: hardness/thickness and color. "Both aspects represent strength and consumer preferences, leading to the selling price of eggs," he said.
The two aspects—strength and color—are generally influenced by feed, weather, chicken age, and disease, Man Budhi explained further. Feed formulation with calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) deficiency will produce a thinner and more fragile shell. "Extreme hot weather will significantly contribute to the low quality of eggshell, thinner and paler," said the owner of SBR Farm.
Technical Service of Sierad Feed Andriana Citra N believes that the best egg quality is obtained at peak production, where the egg shell is dark brown, thicker, and more uniform in size.
He said that physiological disorders and infectious diseases attacking layers could degrade the quality of eggshell. The physiological disorders are usually triggered by environmental factors. For example, if found an eggshell with 3 colors (gradation), it is possibly due to the presence of high ammonia in the chicken house. "Ammonia interferes with the absorption of oxygen, so that nutrients cannot be used effectively since they fail to reach the target organ. Stressed chickens will also produce low quality eggshell," he said.
Read this article completely in TROBOS Livestock magazine 185th ed/Feb 2015