Pigmented egg yolks are more attractive. Popular culture treats annatto as a powerful anticholesterolemic agent, besides being widely used in the form of industry pigment. This work evaluated the effects of the addition of annatto (Bixa orellana L.) in the feed of hens, verifying a possible alteration of cholesterol in the yolks, content of carotenes, and iron and available iron, over time. One hundred and twenty-five hens divided in control (0% - T1) and four annatto-added treatments (0.5% - T2; 1.0% - T3; 1.5% - T4, and 2.0% - T5) were used. Eggs were collected at 23, 25, 27, 29 and 30 weeks. The animals were randomly separated into five groups of five animals each. The cholesterol was measured by the colorimetric method, vitamin A (β and α carotene) by spectrophotometry, total iron by atomic absorption spectrophotometry, and dialysable iron by dialysis. Tukey's test was used at the 5% level for comparison of the averages. Regarding cholesterol, treatments T2 and T3 did not differ significantly. However, other treatments differed ( P ≤ 0.05) from the control, decreasing the cholesterol level as the percentage of annatto in the feed increased. In time, there was a significant increase ( P ≤ 0.05). For β and α carotene, T5 presented statistically higher values than the others ( P ≤ 0.05). With regard to total iron, T5 had higher values than the others. Dialysable iron was also higher, probably due to the increase in carotenes. Thus, we can conclude that the use of annatto in the feed of layer hens is useful, as it provokes the reduction of cholesterol and promotes an increase in the content of iron and carotenes in eggs.