AUSTRALIA - Recent research has found hens fed the saltbush plant as part of their diet produced eggs with a brighter yolk colour.
The saltbush eggs were also given the taste test seal of approval during a series of food sensory sessions, where around 120 consumers tasted a range of hard boiled and scrambled saltbush eggs.
The research is part of a 12 month project led by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), a division of Primary Industries and Regions SA, and funded by the Poultry Cooperative Research Centre.
The project identified that saltbush could be suitable for free range farms because the drought hardy plant required little or no irrigation once established and could cope with dry, hot summers. The project team showed that free range hens would eat saltbush and there were no adverse consequences for egg production and egg quality.
SARDI Research Chief for Livestock and Farming Systems, Professor Alan Tilbrook, commented: "This exciting research has the potential to grow our egg industry, with the initial findings showing that saltbush could offer a sustainable option for free range poultry farmers to develop a niche product using a plant that can grow in really tough conditions."
SARDI is planning a potential larger scale research project on saltbush eggs next year.ThePoultrySite News Desk