Chicken Egg Shell Color Chart
Chickens lay many types of colored eggs. For instance, some chickens lay brown, green, and blue eggs.
A hen’s genetics influences the eggshell color. That’s why hens from different breeds lay different types of colored eggs.
For instance, Leghorn hens lay white eggs. On the other hand, Orpington chickens lay brown eggs, while the Ameraucanas lay blue eggs.
Let’s dive into different types of colored chicken eggs and the chicken breeds that lay these specific-colored eggs.
White Chicken Eggs
Chickens that lay white eggs have a unique pigmentation known as protoporphyrin, which hens derive from their hemoglobin.
The pigmentation coats itself on the surface of the eggs when they move from a hen’s reproductive tract to the vent area, giving the eggs a white color.
White-skinned chicken breeds usually lay white eggs. White-feathered chickens and chickens with white earlobes also lay white eggs.
Some common breeds that lay white eggs include the Leghorns, which come in nearly 12 varieties, although White Leghorns are the most popular.
Other Leghorn varieties that lay white eggs include Columbian, dark brown, bared, and exchequer. Ancona chickens are also other famous Mediterranean chickens that lay large white eggs.
Other chicken breeds that produce white eggs include the Hollands, Andalusians, the black Minorca, and Polish chickens.
Brown Chicken Eggs
Hens that produce eggs with brown shells have high levels of pigment protoporphyrin IX in their reproductive tracts.
This pigment is from a hen’s hemoglobin, which coats itself on an egg’s surface as it goes through the hen’s oviduct. Brown chicken eggs come from chickens with yellow/brown skins and brown feathers.
Brown layers also lay dark brown eggs at the beginning of their laying cycle because they have high concentrations of pigment protoporphyrin IX.
Brown layers will lay light brown eggs during their laying cycle because the protoporphyrin IX levels in their hemoglobin diminish as they age. These eggs also become lighter as a hen ages or start laying larger brown eggs.
However, brown layers are vulnerable to a host of diseases that can make them begin laying brown eggs with paler shades. For instance, Avian flu can affect the intensity of the brown color in brown eggs.
Many chicken breeds lay brown eggs of different sizes. Some breeds like the Black Australorps, White Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, and the New Hampshire lay large-sized brown eggs.
Besides laying large-sized brown eggs, these chickens also boast terrific egg-laying capabilities. Some hybrid chickens, such as Lohmann Browns and Wyandotte chickens, also lay brown eggs.
Blue and Green Chicken Eggs
Some chickens lay stunning blue and green eggs, which can be a delightful sight in every egg basket. Breeds that lay blue eggs have a pigment known as Biliverdin, which comes from a hen’s bile.
Unlike the brown pigment that coats the surface of an egg, the blue pigment colors mix with calcium carbonate on a hen’s oviduct. Hence the bluish coloring is well-spread throughout the eggshell.
A couple of chicken breeds and mixed breed crosses lay blue eggs. Some of the blue layers include the Araucanas and the Cream Legbars. Blue layers lay blue eggs with varying shades.
For instance, some blue layers can lay sky-blue eggs, while others usually lay pale blue eggs. Some exotic blue layers include the Easter Eggers, Lushis, and Dongxiangs.
The pigment Biliverdin also makes chickens lay eggs with greenish tints. However, chickens can only produce green eggs upon crossing with brown layers.
The green color in the green eggs is due to brown coloring pigments overlaying the blue shells.
For instance, an Olive Egger, a cross of the Ameraucana chicken breeds with Marans, lays green eggs due to the brown coloring pigment in the Ameraucana breeds overlaying the Olive Egger’s blue shell.
Other popular green layers include the Silverudd Blue, also known as the Isbar. Favaucana chickens are also terrific green layers. These chickens are a cross of Ameraucana breeds with Faverolles.
Ice Cream Bars are exceptional medium-sized green layers. They are a cross of the Cream Legbar chickens with Isbars.
Pink and Cream Chicken Eggs
Chickens that lay pink eggs have a genetic variation that coats their eggs with a pink color. Initially, all chicken eggs are white because they have high calcium concentrations once they start forming in a hen’s reproductive tract.
A hen will start secreting the coloring pigments from her oviduct a few hours before laying. This coloring creates something known as the bloom, changing the egg color from white to pink.
However, the inside of the egg will remain white, notwithstanding the pink tints on the egg’s surface. Some popular pink layers include the Silkies, light Sussex, and Mottled Javas.
Some Easter Eggers also lay pink eggs, although most of these chickens will lay blue or green eggs.
The thickness of the bloom can also make chickens lay cream eggs. If a hen lays an egg with a thicker cuticle, the egg will most likely be cream rather than pink.
White eggs have the thickest cuticle, and that’s why they have no color tints, unlike colored eggs with thinner cuticles. Some of the cream layers include Buff Orpingtons, some Silkies, and Faverolles.
Easter Eggers can either lay cream or pink eggs. Some Australorps also lay pink or cream eggs, depending on their genetic dispositions.
Nutritional Value of Different Colored Chicken Eggs
All colored eggs have similar nutritional content. There aren’t any nutritional differences in different colored eggs.
For instance, a blue egg will have similar nutritional content to that of a green egg. Some factors, however, affect the nutritional value and flavor of eggs, but not egg color.
For instance, a hen’s housing conditions and diet can affect the nutrition and flavor of its eggs.
Are there Any Chickens that Lay Black Eggs?
There isn’t any chicken breed that produces black eggs. Although there are many black breeds, none of them lay black eggs.
For example, you can’t expect to get black eggs from a black breed like the Ayam Cemani, which is entirely black.
The egg color is dependent on the chicken breed. For instance, some breeds will lay white eggs, while others will lay colored eggs, including blue, cream, green, and pink eggs.
It would be wise to select a breed that produces your preferred, colored eggs. For instance, if you want pink eggs, you can consider raising Easter Eggers, which are prolific pink layers.