Pal-Mates … weekend web tip

X is for Xanthophyll. Yes it’s a bit of a mouthful, but this is the pigment responsible for the yellow colour in egg yolks, and some of the yellows in skin colour.

This is a timely reminder that laying birds have high nutritional needs to stay healthy. Although the shell colour for any breed or species is down to genetics, the appearance and quality of the contents of the egg is affected by what the birds eats. The natural plant pigments birds taken in when free ranging gives the yolk that rich golden colour. Shells are principally made from calcium, so don’t forget to provide extra in the laying season. Crushed oyster shell will be appreciated. Calcium is not stored in the body, if there is not enough calcium in the diet, it is sometimes drawn from the bird’s bones.

When the autumn comes along, the green colours caused by chlorophyll in the leaves of deciduous trees stops being produced. This allows us to see the glowing yellows and golds of the xanthophyll in the leaves. By then our waterfowl will be getting their handsome finery again. Next week we will touch on another yellow...

Yellow-billed Ducks — Zoe Brodie James
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