Are you fascinated anytime you see a picture of an egg basket and it has a whole rainbow of different egg colors? It leaves you wondering how to find chickens that lay colored eggs, doesn’t it?
All About Chickens That Lay Colored Eggs
If you identify with the sentiments above, you are in the right place. Finding a chicken that lays colored eggs is not a difficult task, AT ALL. In fact, it’s pretty easy.
There are a ton of different chicken breeds that, not only lay colored eggs but are also good production chickens, meat birds, or dual purpose chickens! That means you don’t have to worry about sacrificing practicality to get a basket of beautiful eggs.
What Colors Do Eggs Come In
Chickens can lay eggs in a pretty wide range of colors. We are all accustomed to seeing plenty of white, with the occasional brown egg, at the grocery store. But, you will see there are so many more options.
Chickens can lay colors like:
- dark brown
- light brown
Genetics of Egg Color in chickens
In order to fully understand how chickens lay all these different colors of eggs, we need to talk a little about the genetics behind this trait.
What color egg a chicken will lay is determined by the genes that chicken carries.
Let’s first talk about white eggs. White eggs are considered wild type (or the most common/normal) color. This basically just means that all eggs started out as white and certain genetic changes have happened over time to include additional colors. In fact, the base color of all eggs is white.
Eggs of a different color simply have additional pigment added to them at different stages in the shell formation to change their color.
Brown egg color genetics are quite interesting and there are multiple genes that cause this to happen. The way that brown eggs occur is that the pigment protoporphyrin IX is deposited into the outside of the egg as the egg is formed and goes through the laying process. (Source)
Blue eggs are actually caused by a retrovirus. This retrovirus caused the blue gene to become active. Blue eggs are caused by the pigment Oocyanin.
The blue egg gene is dominant, this means that a chicken only needs only copy in order for it’s eggs to be blue. If they have one copy they’ll usually have lighter blue eggs and if they have two copies, they’ll usually have darker blue eggs. (Source)
Green eggs are simply a cross of brown and blue egg genes. The green color will be lighter or darker shades depending on the parents egg colors.
How do you make colored eggs or breed for colored eggs?
You can get different colored eggs by breeding together chickens that have certain egg color genes. Two white egg layers will get all white egg laying offspring.
A white egg layer with a brown egg layer will result in brown egg laying offspring. The darkness of the brown is dependent on the darkness of the parents brown eggs.
Two brown egg layers will result in all offspring laying brown eggs, typically darker than offspring from a white egg layer crossed with a brown egg layer.
A white egg layer crossed with a blue egg layer will result in a light blue egg layer.
Two blue egg layers will result in only blue egg layers.
A brown egg layer crossed with a blue egg layer will result in green egg layers. The hue and shade of green will be dependent on the parents blue and brown colors. These are typically called Olive Eggers.
Which Chickens Lay Which Colors?
If you are looking for chickens that lay colored eggs to expand the palette of your daily egg basket, here is a less-than-exhaustive-but-still-pretty-comprehensive list of potential flock options.
What type of chicken lays blue eggs?
What type of chicken lays brown eggs?
It’s a common thought that the most common egg color is white. That makes sense since that’s what most people see in the grocery store. However, brown, in it’s various shades, is actually the most common egg color.
You will notice that pink is part of the brown egg layers list. That is because pink eggs are simply light brown or tan eggs with a color bloom over them.
- Golden Comet
- Jersey Giant
- New Hampshire Red
- Plymouth Barred Rock
- Rhode Island Red
- Sapphire Gem Chickens
What kind of chickens lay pink eggs?
As we mentioned above, pink eggs are really just a lighter brown or tan shade with a pigment bloom overlaid on top.
- Plymouth Barred Rock
- Buff Orpington
- Lavender Orpington
- Red Laced Wyandotte
- Silver Laced Wyandotte
What breed of chicken lay green eggs?
Green eggs are not just for children’s books.
- Easter Eggers
- Isbar or the “Ice Cream Bar”
- Olive Egger
What type of chicken lays white/cream colored eggs?
White is probably the most commonly known color for eggs.
- Easter Egger
What types of chicken lay speckled eggs?
Although it’s not technically a color, a speckled pattern adds an interesting and fun bit of variety and texture to your egg basket.
- Cuckoo Marans
Frequently Asked Questions
As you can see, there’s a whole Easter basket range of egg colors. Naturally, this spurs a whole lot of questions. Here are some of the more common ones we hear.
Q1. What color eggs do ameraucana chickens lay?
Ameraucanas, along with Aracaunas, and Easter Eggers, lay blue eggs.
Q2. What color eggs are healthiest?/Do blue chicken eggs taste different?
Aside from the color, there is very little difference between one egg to the next. No matter which color egg you get, it will hold nearly the same nutritional value. They will also all taste the same. A chicken’s environment, food, and water source play more of a role in flavor than color does.
Q3. What color egg’s do black chickens lay?/Do black chickens lay black eggs?/Do any chickens lay black eggs?
The Ayam Cemani is a rarity in the chicken world. It is completely black, from head to toe. It’s feathers, skin, even their internal organs. However, the one thing that is not black is the eggs they lay. In fact, the Ayam Cemani lays a shockingly light cream colored egg.
Q4. Can the same chicken lay different colored eggs?
An individual chicken can only lay a single color egg. Depending on their diet, age, pigment bloom, etc, the shade may be lighter or darker but the color will remain the same.
You will notice that the Easter Egger appears on almost every color option of the list. That is because the breed is capable of laying many different colors and shades. But, again, each chicken will ONLY lay one color.
Q5 Do roosters affect egg color?
Roosters do affect egg color as they are responsible for half of the genes in their offspring. Egg color is determined by genes that are inherited from parents – one gene from each parent.
Q6. How do you breed blue eggs?
In order to get blue eggs you must have at least one blue egg gene which means one of the parents must lay blue eggs. You can get blue eggs from a white egg layer crossed with a blue egg layer or two blue egg layers crossed together.
As you can see, there’s a whole Easter basket range of naturally occurring colored eggs. After you read through the list a few times, you can really plan out which breeds you want in your flock and have a beautiful egg basket in the process!