There's too much information on the internet that is misleading and can be detrimental to the health of your chickens. The Chicken Whisperer along with leading chicken experts want to provide you with science-based, fact-based, and study-based information to help you weed through the chicken poop statements found on chicken forums and chicken blogs.
"Adding red pepper flakes to your chickens’ feed will
increase egg production." - Statement found on popular Facebook
chicken forum on April 21, 2016.
Unfortunately, the statement that "red pepper flakes will
increase your hens egg production" is largely urban legend.
Scientifically, I am unable to see what nutritional and physiological mechanism
would be used to rationalize that hypothesis.
Interestingly, I found a peer reviewed paper written in 2012
titled "Effect of Red Pepper (Capsicum frutescens) Powder or
Red Pepper Pigment on the Performance and Egg Yolk Color of Laying Hens"
by Huaqiaqng Li et al.
The results showed no difference in egg
laying performance, feed consumption or feed conversion ratio due to the
inclusion of red pepper flakes in the diet versus a control group. This result was similar to other
previous studies by Gurbuz et. al (2003) and Samli et al (2005).
Interestingly, in this experiment red pepper powder did have a
significant effect on egg weight compared to a control group. The authors
did not hypothesize on why this is so. Until repeated in other
experiments this result while interesting is far from fact.
While red pepper flakes do not change the performance they can
affect the color of the yolk because of the cartenoids (i.e. pigments) in the
flakes. Specifically, feeding red pepper flakes to your hens at a concentration
between 0.5 - 2% will produce a red-orange colored yolk (Note: birds do not
sense “hot” or “spicy.” This is why you can add cayenne pepper to your
bird seed to discourage squirrels etc. from eating the bird seeds).
Answer provided by Maurice Pitesky DVM, MPVM, DACVPM
Veterinarian/Assistant Specialist in Cooperative Extension
Poultry Health and Food Safety Epidemiology
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California
Once again, our team of experts have deemed there is no scientific
proof or research that proves adding red pepper flakes to chickens’ feed
increases egg production. ~ Andy Schneider (The Chicken Whisperer)