Why do Chickens Lay Different Colored Eggs?
Most people know that chickens lay either brown or white eggs. However, chickens lay different colored eggs, the same way these birds lay eggs of varied sizes. Your chickens can lay different colored eggs depending on their breed.
They might lay blue, pink, or green eggs. The ultimate way of predicting egg color is by looking at the hen’s breed. You can also make your prediction based on a hen’s physical traits, such as the color of the earlobes.
Egg Coloration in Chickens
Each hen will lay different colored eggs. For instance, chickens with white earlobes usually lay white eggs. Chickens with red earlobes, on the other hand, lay brown eggs. Egg color among hens depends on the individual hen’s genetics. Chickens with crossed genetics lay eggs with multiple colors.
These layers have genes that enable them to lay different colored eggs. Blue layers, for instance, have genes that tint their eggs blue, explaining why their eggs are blue rather than white, brown, or any other color.
Chicken breeds that lay brown eggs include Marans, Orpington, Rhode Island Red, Cornish, Plymouth Barred Rocks, and Barnevelder. Species that lay white eggs include Ancona, Campine, White Leghorn, and Andalusian.
Chickens that lay blue eggs include Araucana, Ameraucana, and Cream Legbar, while their counterparts that lay green eggs include Easter Eggers and Olive Eggers.
Different Egg Colors in Chickens
The individual hen’s genetics will determine the color of the egg that your chicken will lay. Every chicken breed will lay different egg colors depending on its genetics. Check this outline of different egg colors and the specific chicken breeds that lay these egg colors.
– Blue Eggs
Although not many chickens lay blue eggs, a handful of chicken breeds are famous for laying blue eggs. Some chicken breeds that lay blue eggs include Araucanas, Cream Legbars, and Ameraucanas.
These chickens can lay blue eggs because they have a retrovirus that gives their eggs a distinct blue color. The retrovirus activates the genes that play a role in the chickens’ production of blue eggs. Blue eggs aren’t only lovely, but they are also flavorful and highly nutritious compared to other colored eggs.
– Green Eggs
Chicken breeds that lay green eggs are usually a mixed breed of hens that lay brown eggs and chickens that lay blue eggs. Some of the few chicken breeds that lay green eggs include favaucana chickens, also known as Olive Eggers.
Other chicken breeds lay green eggs with varying shades. These breeds include the Olive Egger chickens, a crossbreed of the Ameraucana chickens, and the Maran chickens. Isbars are other mid-sized hens that lay mint green eggs.
Favaucana chickens are a crossbreed of Ameraucanas and Faverolle. These chickens lay pale green eggs, although the green color can be brighter depending on the hen’s diet.
– Cream Eggs
Cream eggs are some of the rarest chicken eggs in the poultry world. Some chicken breeds that lay cream eggs include Australorps, Silkies, and Orpingtons. These chickens have a gene that activates the cream color in their eggs.
Some of the breeds that lay cream eggs include species such as Easter Eggers. Some Marans can also lay either light or dark cream eggs. Cream eggs stand out from other colored eggs because they are rich in Lutein.
This potent antioxidant protects the body against free radicals that cause cell damage and accelerate aging.
– Pink Eggs
Pink eggs are quite rare, and they come from a handful of chicken breeds that can lay pink eggs. Breeds that lay pink eggs have a genetic variation that enables them to tint their eggs pink.
Some of the common pink layers include Barred Rocks, Croad Langshans and Light Sussex. Some Australorps and Easter Eggers also lay pink eggs.
– Brown Eggs
Brown eggs are some of the most common chicken eggs in the poultry world. These eggs are pretty gorgeous, and they can be a colorful addition to any egg basket. Brown layers have a pigment known as protoporphyrin IX. This pigment enables the chickens to tint their eggs brown.
Some of the common brown layers include Marans, Barnevelders, and Penedesencas. Unlike most eggs, brown eggs are richer in omega-3 than white and colored eggs. However, the cholesterol and protein content in brown, white, and colored eggs is the same.
– White Eggs
White eggs are also pretty standard. White egg layers don’t have a gene that activates egg color, unlike chickens that lay green, brown, or blue eggs. Some of the white layers include leghorns and a variety of Mediterranean species such as Anconas and Andalusians. Other white layers include Lakenveldes, Hamburg, and Polish chickens.
Can One Chicken Lay Different Colored Eggs?
No, one chicken can’t lay different colored eggs. For instance, Easter Eggers can only lay green eggs throughout their egg-laying cycle. You can’t expect these birds to lay white eggs because they don’t have a gene that enables them to lay white eggs.
However, chickens can lay eggs with varied shades. White layers, for instance, can lay eggs with either bright or pale speckles, depending on their everyday diet. However, white layers will only lay white eggs with varied shades but not colored eggs.
The variation in color shades can be due to several factors. Change in laying routine, physical stress, bullying, and chemicals in layers feed are factors that cause variation in color shades in chicken eggs. Even though these factors will make your hens lay eggs with varied color shades, they won’t make the hens lay different colored eggs.
Do Roosters Affect the Color of Eggs?
No, roosters don’t affect the color of the chicken eggs. Having roosters in your flock won’t determine egg color in your egg-laying hens. However, breeding can affect egg color. What determines egg color is the hen’s genetics. If your hen, for instance, is a brown layer, it will always lay brown eggs no matter the breed of the rooster that mates with the hen.
An Ameraucana hen will continue laying brown eggs even if it mates with a leghorn hen. Simply put, egg color won’t change no matter how many times a hen mates with a rooster and regardless of the rooster’s breed.
Do Different Colored Eggs Taste Different?
Some egg lovers swear that some colored eggs taste better than other eggs. Although there isn’t a notable difference between the tastes of different types of colored eggs, some colored eggs taste better than others. For instance, some people say brown eggs have a richer taste than white or cream eggs.
Although chicken eggs can vary in terms of colors, there isn’t any real difference in terms of nutritional content and taste in different colored eggs. The taste of chicken eggs varies not depending on the egg color but rather because of factors such as the hen’s diet, chicken breed, and the cooking methods.
The hen’s diet is perhaps the most notable factor determining chicken eggs’ taste. Hens feeding on a varied diet are likely to lay better tasting eggs than hens that consume a diet with limited nutritional components.
Free-range hens, for instance, will lay better tasting eggs than chickens that spend their entire time in the coop, relying entirely on what their owners provide to them. For free-range hens, they enjoy a varied diet that consists of vitamins from the plant material and protein from insects.
The diet of free-range hens isn’t the same as that of indoor-raised hens. The difference in the diet affects egg flavor, as it affects egg size.
Chickens will always lay different colored eggs like these birds lay eggs of varied sizes. Some chickens will lay brown eggs, while others will lay white eggs. Although most chickens will lay white or brown eggs, some breeds lay green, cream, or blue eggs depending on their genetics.
Whatever colored eggs you want, consider raising a breed that lays the colored eggs you want. For instance, if you want a blue layer, consider keeping either Araucanas, Cream Legbars, or Ameraucanas.