From bones to shells

The crucial role of calcium for successful and high-yield egg production


In layer husbandry, two periods are especially critical. The first one is the pullet phase when the long bones are formed. The second is the post peak period where egg size tends to increase but at the cost of eggshell quality. Extended laying cycles of over 75 up to 100 weeks place a lot of pressure on the nutritional requirements for performance and egg quality. In both periods, success is closely linked to one factor: calcium absorption.

Calcium is the most important mineral to secure good bone and eggshell quality. But a calcium-rich diet is not sufficient. The digestive system also has to be able to absorb the calcium so that it is available to the animals’ organism for bone formation and eggshell production. For this, intestinal health and pH value are of crucial importance. An appropriate pH level ensures that calcium dissolves effectively in the digestive system, making the absorbed calcium available, while gut health is key for effective digestions and nutrient absorption.

The two-step approach to high egg-shell quality

Intestinal health as a prerequisite for calcium solubilisation and absorption is usually supported by the use of organic acids which reduce the risk of pathogens and promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms to support optimal digestion, nutrient absorption and overall gut health. For optimal results, however, a second step is needed. PreAcid offers a two-step approach to promote high egg-shell quality. Its prebiotic components butyrate and gluconate promote intestinal development and enlarge the absorption surface. The stimulation of short chain fatty acid production decreases intestinal pH, helping mineral solubilisation and absorption. Prebiotics also stimulate the expression of Ca-binding proteins and the release of bone modulating factors. With this combination of organic acids and prebiotic GlucoFence complex, PreAcid is highly effective in maximising the full effect of butyric acid in the intestinal tract – literally the magic stuff for gut health in poultry.

Figure 1: The prebiotic acidifier PreAcid modulates microflora composition, enhances volatile fatty acid production, and promotes overall gut health.


Visibly effective

The mode of action of PreAcid and its effectiveness have been demonstrated in trials with broilers infected with E. Coli and Salmonella. Here PreAcid significantly maintained the integrity of the gut and improved villus growth despite the infection (figure 2).

Figure 2: PreAcid significantly increased villus height in challenged birds


PreAcid’s positive effect on intestinal health is a clear advantage in egg production. In a test with layers in Germany, adding PreAcid succeeded in reducing the percentage of broken eggs to just 1 percent. In addition, PreAcid lead to better laying performance. Another trial in Malaysia showed significantly higher egg size and egg mass. A visibly better eggshell quality could be observed after two weeks of using PreAcid in older layers in Taiwan (figure 3).

Figure 3: Visibly better eggshell quality with PreAcid: (1) Before and (2) after using PreAcid) (image: courtesy Ting Chen, Brilliant Nutrition, Taiwan)


Shell quality starts in the gut

For high egg shell quality, optimal gut health and animal welfare, and efficient and sustainable production, it is best to start in the gut. With PreAcid, laying hens receive optimal gut health support right from the start. So go for PreAcid’s two-step approach. Our experts will be happy to advise you on the optimal solution for your success.


Go to PreAcid product page



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