There’s something about Easter Egger chickens that brings a smile to their owners’ faces. Maybe it’s the surprise of their colored eggs, or their funny personalities. Each one is so different!
If you’re interested to know more about Easter Egger chickens, then you’re in the right place.
Easily confused with Ameraucana and Araucana chicken breeds, these feathered beauties aren’t a breed, but rather types of chickens – designer “mutts” that grow into beautiful layers that give us extra large eggs in colors from blue to green and even pink!
With their black outlined eyes and gentle temperaments, they make an interesting and beneficial addition to any flock.
The Easter Egger chicken temperament is exceptionally friendly and hardy – they love getting treats, and are easily trained to sit in your lap. Since they’re smaller and the roosters are calm, this chicken breed is a great choice for any family flock.
Let’s go through everything you need to know about the Easter Egger chickens and what you can expect from this bird.
Breed History, Personality, And More
What Breed Of Chicken Is An Easter Egger?
Easter Egger aren’t a breed per se. It’s a variety of chicken that carries the blue egg laying gene, and the modern version is descended from the ancient Araucana breed that first evolved in Chile to lay blue eggs. They’re usually a cross between blue egg layers like Ameraucanas (though sometimes Araucanas or Cream Legbars) and any other chicken breed. It’s very easy to be confused; many sellers mistakenly label Easter Egger chickens as Ameraucanas or Araucanas (or vice versa). They’re called Easter Eggers because their “butt nuggets” resemble the eggs many people hunt for during the annual spring festival.
The pigment oocyanin that covers the shell gives blue eggs their characteristic color. Research has revealed that this unique color is actually a genetic anomaly.
Because they’re not an actual breed (meaning there’s no standardization of the breed), two Easter Eggers can look completely different.
Even more, an Easter Egger crossed with dark brown egg layers (like Marans or Welsummers) might result in an Olive Egger chicken OR it might result in a second generation (F2) Easter Egger!
In our own coop, we have two green egg layers who are Easter Egger/Marans crosses!
Easter Egger bantams are also popular – they’re the result of crossing a blue egg layer (full size or bantam) with a bantam chicken. While Easter Eggers themselves are pretty small (about 4-5 pounds), the bantam sizes are even smaller!
Easter Egger vs. Ameraucana
While both chickens are wonderful, they are definitely two different varieties. Ameraucanas generally always lay blue eggs, while Easter Eggers can lay blue, green, emerald, or even pink eggs. You can discover more about Ameraucanas here. Just remember that Easter Eggers do not conform to a breed standard as defined by the American Poultry Association (APA) or American Bantam Association (ABA), so the cute chicks you get at the farm store can grow up looking completely different from each other!
What Do Easter Egger Chickens Look Like?
Because Easter Eggers are a combination of a blue egg layer and any other breed of chicken, one chicken can look completely different than another – there’s no breed standard. You might find that each fluffy butt as a different comb style. We have Easter Eggers with pea combs and others with a regular style single comb. We also have some with a combination of the two (not quite a pea comb, and not quite a single comb)!
Some Easter Eggers have ear tufts and beards, while some don’t. Some have tails, and others don’t (Araucanas – which are blue egg layers – are rumpless, so they don’t grow tails). Really, anything goes!
Our Easter Eggers each have different color legs (some have dark colored shanks and others have light colored – one even has blue). In fact the only consistent thing is their toes! Easter Eggers generally only have 4 toes.
Their feathers are any combination of colors from grey to gold. Your Easter Eggers might have lovely black “eyeliner” around their eyes (our Easter Egger Cleo did – and she laid pink eggs!), or they might have grey feathers that show off their clear, bright eyes.
One Easter Egger rooster can look quite different from another. We’ve had some that are pure black, and some that are grey and copper with ear tufts and beards.
Like I said, there’s really no consistency!
Caring For Your Easter Eggers
To make sure your Easter Eggers have a great life, you should feed them a high-quality chick starter (if they’re babies) or a good layer diet, if they’re grown. An ideal layer feed has at least 16% protein. You’ll also want to offer oyster shells so your chickens lay great eggs.
Adding herbs such as calendula will improve the color of their yolks. For treats, hens love black soldier fly larvae and mealworms.
Be sure to house your hens in a well-built coop (you can learn how to build a chicken coop here and what to include in your coop here). Any type of coop is fine, as long as it has at least 10 square feet of space per chicken.
You’ll have to decide whether you want to free range your hens or not – you can read about advantages and disadvantages of free ranging here.
Egg Colors, Laying, And Amount Per Year
What Color Eggs Do Easter Egger Chickens Lay?
Easter Egger egg colors range from light blue, seafoam green, dark green, and pink. Each chicken only lays one color egg though! (So, if your hen lays green eggs, she’ll always lay green eggs). Some owners suggest their hens lay purple eggs, but in most cases, this is likely the bloom tinging the brown egg a different color. Our hens sometimes lay “purple” eggs, but if you wash off the bloom, they’re really just regular brown eggs!
Are Easter Eggers Good Layers?
Yes! They’re excellent layers who will give you lovely, large eggs. The color of the eggs will depend on the genetics of the individual chicken. They don’t tend to go broody, so you should get a consistent supply of eggs year round.
When Do Easter Egger Chickens Start Laying?
Easter Eggers start laying when they’re about 6 – 7 months, although some can take up to a year. This will depend on a few things, mainly their diet (they should get a 16% layer feed once they start producing eggs), the season (they’re less likely to lay eggs in winter), and their environment (a stressful home can make them stop laying eggs). You can learn about how to troubleshoot egg laying problems here.
How Many Eggs Do Easter Egger Chickens Lay Per Year?
While the amount of eggs laid per year will depend on the individual chicken, her diet, and her environment, you can easily expect about 250 eggs per year from your Easter Egger hen! To keep her laying consistently, offer layer feed with at least 16% protein. We cover the best feeders for backyard chickens in this article. An oyster shell supplement will ensure she lays eggs with strong, healthy shells.
Do The Hens “Go Broody”?
Easter Egger hens don’t tend to go “broody” and want to hatch chicks. Of course, this depends on the individual chicken – some hens hear the call of motherhood more than others. There’s not much you can do to alter this – either they want to hatch eggs or they don’t! If you want to have baby chicks but your hens don’t want to sit on eggs, you can incubate them yourself. We cover the best incubators in this article.
How Long Do Easter Egger Chickens Live?
Most chickens live anywhere from 5-8 years, as long as they’re given a good diet, lots of fresh water, a warm home, and veterinary care as needed. Some of my readers even report they have chickens that are 13 years old! You can read about the oldest chicken in the world here.
Do Easter Eggers Have Feathered Feet?
Not usually, but it’s not unheard of, especially if the parents have feathered feet. They are adorable! Usually, a bantam ameraucana would be crossed with any bird with feathered legs like Silkies, Brahmas, Marans, or Cochins.
Where Can You Buy Easter Eggers?
We’ve purchased our hens and roosters from a variety of places:
- Cackle Hatchery
- Meyer Hatchery
- Tractor Supply
You can also search for a hatchery or breeder near you. Many smaller farm stores carry Easter Egger starting in April and ending in June. Usually, a single chick costs under $5, although this will vary from breeder to breeder. Either way, it’s not a high price for a new best friend!
At smaller farm stores, you can usually get a good deal, especially if the chicks are a week or two old. You also might find breeds that are unusual.
At places like Tractor Supply, you’ll have to buy 6 or more chicks at once. So, it’s best to call ahead to make sure they’ll have chicks, that the breeds you want will be available, and whether there’s any purchase minimums.
Most hatcheries also have minimums. This is for the safety of the chicks. For the first few weeks of their lives, chicks need an external heat source. If a hatchery only shipped one or two chicks in the mail, they likely would be far too cold, and arrive dead.
We’ve had good luck purchasing our Easter Egger chicks from Cackle Hatchery, and we continue to give them our business each year.
Do you own Easter Egger chickens? Leave a comment below!
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.