Do you know the difference in chicken breed egg colors? Which chickens lay blue eggs? Which ones lay green eggs? In your quest for fresh chicken eggs, you may be wondering which chickens to buy that will give you colored eggs. Maybe you are interested in a heritage breed flock of chickens. Sometimes chicken owners want to only have brown eggs or fill the carton with only white eggs. Chicken breeds are numerous, and the different shades of brown are plentiful. Starting with the darkest eggs from the Marans, to the pure white of the Leghorns, the spectrum is wide.
Chicken Breed Egg Colors – It’s in the Genes
Genetics are the determining factor on what color the hen’s eggs will be. Chicken breed egg colors are genetically predetermined. White Leghorns lay white eggs. New Hampshire hens lay brown eggs. The ever popular Ameraucanas lay blue eggs. In all egg colors, except for the blue eggs, the color is applied late in the egg process. As the egg passes through the oviduct late in the process, the brown pigments are applied. This whole process takes approximately 25 to 26 hours.
Are you looking for a green egg to round out the egg carton colors? The Olive Egger chickens are a cross between a brown egg layer and a blue egg layer—creating different colored and shapes of the breed. The hens from this cross have the blue egg color applied to the egg shell early in the egg shell formation. As happens with the blue egg layers, the blue pigment, oocyanin, is applied early in the egg shell formation, and permeates the shell. True blue egg shells are blue inside and out. In the Olive Egger breeds, brown pigment is deposited onto the blue color, later in the egg shell process.
A quick trick to determine chicken breed egg colors is to check the ear lobe color. The ear lobes indicate egg shell color in most breeds.
The Breeds and Egg Colors
Green eggs, blue eggs, pink eggs, brown eggs, and white eggs all have the same nutritional makeup and taste. The egg color is really a choice and preference. Are you looking to raise heritage breeds of chickens like your grandparents? Perhaps they raised Rhode Island Red chickens and had an egg carton full of medium brown egg shells. If they raised white egg layers, chances are they were raising the White Leghorns, although the Blue Andalusian also lays a nice white egg. Lighter tan eggs often come from Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rock, or other Rocks. The large Cochin breeds lay a light, almost pink egg shell.
Chicken breeders are developing new breeds and cross breeds all the time. Check out the newer breeds such as Isbars, Favaucanas, and other mixed breeds resulting in olive colored eggs. As long as people are looking for that Easter Basket full of varied chicken breed egg colors, breeders will continue coming up with various breeds and egg colors.
What chicken breed egg color are you looking for in your flock?
Janet Garman is a farmer and author, and shares homestead information from her property, Timber Creek Farm. They raise sheep for fiber, chickens, goats, and more! Follow their journey online at www.timbercreekfarmer.com