After hens at a Kerala man’s farm laid eggs with green-coloured yolks, experts at the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University have now determined that the source of the colour was likely due to the feed given to the birds or a naturally-occurring plant they ate.
Malappuram native AK Shihabudheen had posted pictures and videos of eggs with green yolks on Facebook a few weeks ago, a sight that took many by surprise. Though Shihabudheen and his family had seen this happen over the past nine months, the images and videos spread widely after he shared them.
Experts from Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, who also watched the videos, had visited the farm. They collected one such hen and a few eggs to study.
Speaking to TNM, Dr S Sankaralingam, assistant professor in the Poultry Science Department, said that the phenomenon was not because of any genetic aberration.
“We strongly believed that this was due to the feed given to the birds. The hens started to lay eggs with yellow-coloured yolks after they were provided with feed given by the university,” the professor said.
University officials supplied poultry feed to Shihabudheen, and had asked him to only provide this as food to the hens.
“Within two weeks, eggs changed colour and now the green colour of the yolks has completely changed to yellow at his farm. The specimen hen brought to the university also has started to gradually lay yellow-yolked eggs. Shihabudheen had said that he hadn’t fed anything particular to the hens, but some natural herbs that commonly grow in house yards in Kerala like Kurunthotti (Sida cordifolia — a medicinal herb), can impart colour like this,” Sankaralingam added.
Though the source of the feed that imparted the green colour has not been found, Dr Sankaralingam said that it would have to be ‘fat soluble.’ This was determined after researchers found the green pigment in the fat deposits below the skin of the hens.