High Intake of Calcium Needed

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A daily intake of 3.25 and 4.0% calcium is recommended for the commercial egg layer and broiler breeder hen, respectively.[4] This high intake of calcium is necessary for the hen to form a strong eggshell. The hen gets most of its calcium from the feed. However, a large amount of calcium during shell formation comes from medullary bone.

Cracked eggs as a result of thin shells is often a problem. Approximately one-half of the calcium used comes from the bone and the other half comes from the feed. The eggshell is formed throughout the night and the

Table 2 Measurement for calculation of the percentage of methionine needed in the feed

Measurements needed


Assumed value

Feed intake FI


0.21 (95,269 g mg)

Dietary energy ME



Egg production EP



Egg weight EW



Methionine/g egg mass



Egg mass EM

(EP x EW)


Energy intake EI

(ME ^ FI)


Energy/g egg mass



aThis is the requirement based on previous experimental data.

aThis is the requirement based on previous experimental data.

hen's body becomes calcium deficient. A procedure for feeding the hen at midnight has been found to be beneficial for improving eggshell quality.[5]

It has been suggested1-41 that one-half to two-thirds of the dietary calcium supplement should be in the form of large-flaked oyster shell or coarse limestone (>1.0 mm; average 2.5 mm diameter). However, not all nutritionists agree that this management procedure is beneficial. One of the ingredients should be offered to the hen if the feed does not contain sufficient calcium.

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