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What do poultry eat?

The basis of any chicken diet is a high quality poultry pellet. Pellets normally contain wheat, maize, sunflower seeds and oats.

Feeding your chickens pellets ensures that they are getting vital vitamins, nutrients and minerals form their food source to keep them healthy and keep them laying eggs. This is even more important if your chickens don’t have much outdoor space- because they won’t be able to get minerals and salt from the ground. In addition to their core diet of pellets you can feed them grains such as corn or wheat to give them some variety. Chickens also love fruit and vegetables. Chickens are omnivores.

Fun Fact: Chickens have great memory and can recognise over a 100 faces. They also have a strong colour vision. 

 

Types of Poultry

Chicken

Chicken

Common breeds of chickens raised in Ireland are Rhode Island Red, Marans, Silkie, Minorca, Leghorns, Bantams, Sussex

Turkey

Turkey

Common breeds of turkeys Raised in Ireland are the Bronze turkey and the Bourbon Red turkey.

Geese

Geese

Several breeds of geese are raised in Ireland including Emden, Toulouse and Brecon Buff

Duck

Duck

Several breeds of duck are raised in Ireland including Aylesbury, Indian Runner and Campbells

Egg laying Process in Hens

Eggs are part of a hen’s reproductive system. When a hen reaches maturity, lighting conditions trigger hormones to start the egg laying cycle. It takes about 25 hours for a hen to create an egg from start to finish. As soon as one egg is laid, another begins to form. 

Eggs are formed in layers starting from the inside out.

The Yolk – Starts forming in the hen’s ovary. When the yolk reaches the right size, it is released into the oviduct, where the rest of the egg will form.

The White – In its journey through the oviduct, the next layer to be added is the egg white (albumen). This layer takes about 3 hours to be formed.

The Shell Membrane – The next layer to be added in the oviduct is the shell membrane. This takes about 1.25 hours. It is a very thin layer between the egg white and the shell, and it almost looks like tissue paper. Have you ever cracked an egg shell but the egg didn’t break? The shell membrane was still intact holding everything together.

 

The Shell – The egg then reaches the hen’s uterus, also known as the shell gland. This is where the shell is added to the egg. The shell of the egg is made of calcite. The shell is also formed in layers over the course of 19 hours, where pigment is added. All egg shells begin as white. Blue and brown pigments are added during the shell forming process. The color of the pigment depends on the breed of chicken.

The Bloom – The bloom is the protective layer or cuticle that covers the egg shell and is the last layer added in egg formation. It is added after the egg leaves the uterus, right before it exits from the hen’s vent. This coating seals out bacteria and maintains the moisture inside the egg. Leaving the bloom intact will help keep your eggs fresher, longer.Chickens lay one egg a day but if eggs are continually collected daily, hens will continue to lay eggs.  
Video Link:

Incredible Edibles, Family Farm - Poultry Farming Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgsW8bVvpY0 

Incredible Edibles - Egg Process - Learn all about Poultry - YouTube

 

Poultry Nutrition

Skinless chicken is high in protein with an average portion containing half of an average woman’s daily requirements. 

Chicken is low in fat and saturated fat which is a great choice for those watching their weight or cholesterol levels.

Chicken is naturally low in salt which fits perfectly in a healthy balanced diet. 

One portion of chicken contains half of our Vitamin B3 (niacin) requirement, needed for a healthy metabolism and to release energy from the food that we eat. 

Chicken is a valuable source of minerals, it provides us with selenium needed for a healthy immune system. 

To maximise the health benefits of meat, include wholegrains and a plentiful variety of fruit and vegetables to your diet.

 

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As part of a healthy, balanced diet, eggs provide the body with essential nutrients. 

Eggs are high in protein, two eggs supply an average man with half of his daily protein requirements. It is the best form of protein important for muscle growth and maintenance. 

Eggs are also high in Vitamin D. Most Irish people don’t get enough of vitamin D, but two eggs give you a third of what you need in a day. Sunny Side up please!

Eggs are rich in Vitamin B12 which is an essential nutrient for nerve function.  

Eggs are also rich in minerals. They contain over a third of your daily requirements of selenium and iodine which is needed for healthy thyroid function and immunity.