Researchers recently found that saltbush plant can help hens produce eggs with brighter yolk color.
The eggs produced by hens fed with saltbush also pass the taste test during a series of food sensory sessions where around 120 consumers tasted hardboiled and scrambled saltbush eggs.
This discovery is big for free-range poultry farmers as saltbush require little or no irrigation and could cope with hot and dry summer.
The researchers in the 12-month project led by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) and funded by the Poultry Cooperative Research Center showed that free-range hens eat saltbush and there were no adverse consequences in their egg production and quality.
“This exciting research has the potential to grow our egg industry,” said Professor Alan Tilbrook, SARDI research chief for Livestock and Farming Systems.
Tilbrook noted that initial findings showed saltbush could offer a sustainable option for free-range poultry farmers to develop a niche product using a plant that can grow in tough conditions.
SARDI is planning a larger scale research project on saltbush eggs next year.