12 Chickens That Lay Colored Eggs: Blue, Green, Chocolate, and Pink!

12 Chickens That Lay Colored Eggs: Blue, Green, Chocolate, and Pink!

Every backyard flock owner dreams of raising chickens that lay colored eggs. Who doesn’t want a paint box of vibrant colors in your morning basket?

 

But first, you need hens that lay colored eggs – so you gotta know which breeds LAY colored eggs!

 

In this article, you’ll discover which chicken breeds lay:

  • Blue eggs
  • Green eggs
  • Dark brown eggs
  • Pink Eggs

 

We’ll also share where you can buy these types of chickens!

 

Chickens That Lay Blue Eggs

What Breed Of Chickens Lay Blue Eggs?

  • Araucana
  • Ameraucana
  • Cream Legbar
  • Easter Egger
  • Arkansas Blue

 

Did you know all eggs are either blue or white? You can read more about different colored eggs here

 

Araucana

This ancient breed is named after the Araucania region of Chile – where scientists say they evolved. Araucana chickens lay blue eggs and have an appearance unlike most other chickens – they grow tufts of feathers near their ears, called “peduncles.”

 

Araucanas also are “rumpless” (meaning they don’t have tails), so don’t expect your roosters to grow any long tail feathers.

 

Many people confuse Araucanas with Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers. They can look similar, but they’re different breeds with different egg laying abilities. You can read more about the difference between Ameraucana and Araucanas here:

 

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So if you want this type of chicken in your flock, go to a reliable breeder.

 

The hens lay about 200 beautiful blue eggs every year. You can learn more about Araucana chickens here.

 

Ameraucana

Wondering “what color eggs do ameraucana chickens lay?” Well, they’re blue! Ameraucanas were created by American researchers, who used Araucana bloodlines, but eliminated a lethal gene that kills a portion of chicks before they hatched. (Ameraucana is a conglomeration of the words “American” and “Araucana.”)

 

Like their Araucana foremothers, this breed lays blue eggs. They have a distinctive appearance with tufts of feathers, muffs, and a “beard” of feathers that makes their chicks look like balls of fluff. They also have a pea comb.

Ameraucana hens lay about 200 blue eggs a year, and they can be a light sky blue to almost green.

 

You can read more about Ameraucanas here.

 

Cream Legbar

Cream Legbars are a relatively new 20th century chicken breed that was created by researchers at Cambridge University. These scientists crossed Leghorns, Barred Plymouth Rocks, and Cambars with Araucanas to create a second type of blue egg layer that also eliminated the lethal Araucana gene.

 

These chickens have cream-colored feathers (hence the name Cream Legbar). They also look different from Ameraucanas, Araucanas, and Easter Eggers.

 

Cream Legbars hens lay about 200 blue or bluish green eggs annually.

 

Arkansas Blue

This is a relatively unknown breed that’s been developed by researchers in Arkansas. They’re not for sale currently. They don’t have muffs, tufts, or beards, however, they do have a pea comb and lay blue eggs.

 

Easter Egger

Many new backyard chicken owners have heard of Easter Eggers! They’re a very popular breed because they lay different colored eggs.

 

These hens lay about 250 eggs per year, and some do lay blue eggs. Unlike the chicken breeds previously mentioned, not all Easter Eggers will lay blue eggs.

 

In fact, this type of chicken is a hybrid – a cross between a blue egg layer (like Ameraucana) and a brown egg layer (like a Plymouth rock). An Easter Egger chicken can lay blue, green, brown, or pink eggs!

 

Each chicken only lays one color egg though. If you want blue eggs, it’s best to stick with Ameraucana, Araucanas, or Cream Legbars.

 

You can read more about Easter Eggers here.

 

What Chicken Lays The Bluest Eggs?

Araucana eggs are the bluest eggs known, and are caused by the oocyan gene. This breed evolved in Chile, and all other blue egg laying breeds are descended from Araucanas. The blue egg gene is a mutation caused by a retrovirus.

 

Chickens That Lay Green Eggs

What Breed Of Chickens Lay Green Eggs?

  • Easter Eggers
  • Olive Eggers
  • Isbars
  • Ice Cream Bars
  • Favaucanas

 

Easter Egger

As previously mentioned Easter Eggers can lay green colored eggs – however, it’s not guaranteed. The color of the eggs will depend on the genetics of the individual chicken. So, if you definitely want green eggs, then check out the breeds below.

 

Olive Egger

What chickens lay olive green eggs? Like other types of chickens mentioned on this list, Olive Eggers aren’t a true breed – they’re hybrids. BUT they lay great dark green eggs!

 

They’re a cross between a blue egg layer and a dark brown egg layer, and their eggs can range from dark green to a brownish green egg. One breed combination that makes an olive egger chicken is an Ameraucana hen and a Marans rooster.

 

The amount of eggs olive eggers lay depends on the individual bird (since they’re a hybrid) but you can usually expect about 200 eggs per year.

 

Isbar

Isbar (pronounced “ice bar”) is a Swedish breed developed in the mid-20th century by Martin Silverudd, who wanted to create an autosexing chicken breed that consistently laid colored eggs. (Autosexing means you can tell the sex of a chick as soon as it hatches).

 

This breed lays about 200 green colored eggs each year. You can buy Isbars at Greenfire Farms, among other breeders.

 

Ice Cream Bars

Ice Cream Bars are a cross between Isbars and Cream Legbars – and they lay green eggs! Many owners say their eggs are colored teal or blueish green – so it seems the actual shade depends on the individual hen.

 

Favaucana

Like the other chickens on this list, Favaucanas are a hybrid chicken (which isn’t bad – usually hybrids are healthier and friendly). They’re a breed sold on My Pet Chicken, and is created by crossing Favorelles with Amerauanas. They lay “sage green” eggs, and are said to have friendly personalities.

 

Chickens That Lay Dark Brown (Chocolate Eggs)

  • Barnvelder
  • Welsummer
  • Marans

Barnvelder

Barnvelders originate from the Barneveld region of Holland. They were developed about 200 years ago by crossing local Dutch chickens with breeds imported from Asia such as Cochins or Brahmas.

 

Barnevelders are beautiful birds – the hens display a black-and-white or buff-and-white “double laced” feathering, giving them a distinctive appearance. Roosters have blue and green tinged double lacing, with a single comb. They were included in the American Standard of Perfection in 1991.

 

Some unrecognized varieties are auto-sexing (meaning, you can tell the sex of the chick when it’s born). These types include:

  • Barred
  • Dark brown
  • Partridge
  • Chamois
  • Blue
  • Silver

 

Welsummer

Welsummers are intelligent and docile chickens that add nice, chocolate-brown eggs to any backyard flock. Like their name implies, they originated in Holland. They love to forage, and you can expect up to 200 eggs per year. You can buy Welsummers at any major hatchery.

 

Marans

Originating in the town of Marans, France, Marans eggs (particularly Black Copper Marans) are noted as the best in the world – in fact, some chefs will ONLY cook with Marans eggs!

 

While historically a dual purpose breed, many people now raise these chickens for its striking egg color and beautiful appearance.

 

Maran eggs are traditionally a deep chocolate brown color, although the exact color will depend on the individual bird. You can usually tell how dark a hen’s eggs will be after she lays 12 eggs (the first 12 might be darker than the remaining eggs she lays.)

 

What Breed Of Chickens Lay Pink Eggs?

Easter Egger eggs can sometimes be pink. However, this hybrid breed can also lay eggs of varying colors that range from blue, green, or brown. Take note that a hen will only lay one color of egg.

 

Easter Eggers are great for beginners because they lay consistently (about 250 eggs per year) – There is no standard for this chicken breed, and one chicken can look quite different from another.

 

Can A Chicken Lay Different Colored Eggs?

No, a hen will only produce one color of egg, and the tint of her eggshells is determined by her genetics. Unlike yolks, you cannot change the color of her eggs based on diet. That being said, if the hen is stressed, she might lay lighter eggs or weird looking eggshells. However, some breeds, like Easter Eggers, will produce hens that can each lay a different color egg (so one hen will lay blue eggs, one will lay green, etc).

 

Why Are My Chickens Eggs Getting Lighter In Color?

A decrease in pigmentation in the eggshell can be caused by a poor diet, stress, or age. Stress such as predators or heat stress can cause a lightening of the eggshell. Make sure your hens have plenty of protein and fresh water. To make sure her diet is right, feed your hen a good layer feed with 16% protein.

 

Do Different Color Eggs Taste Different?

No, eggs with different colors doesn’t taste any different than a regular white egg. The taste of an egg depends on the quality of the hen’s diet, not the color of the eggshell. You can read more about what to feed chickens for great tasting eggs here, what chickens eat here, and about alternative feeds for chickens here. For golden egg yolks, offer your flock herbs.

 

How Do You Tell What Color Egg A Chicken Will Lay?

You can tell by the breed of a chicken – Plymouth rock will lay brown eggs, for example. You can also look at the earlobes, although this isn’t much help determining the egg color of Easter Eggers or chickens when you don’t know the breed (some can lay brown eggs, some olive eggs, etc). Traditionally, hens with white earlobes will lay white eggs while hens with red earlobes will lay brown eggs. The exception is Silkies, which have blue earlobes, but lay white eggs.

 

Do Chicken Ears Determine Egg Color?

Chicken earlobes can be a determinant of their egg color. Traditionally, hens with white earlobes will lay white eggs while hens with red earlobes will lay brown eggs. However, in practice, this isn’t a good indicator because Silkies have blue earlobes, but lay white eggs, while blue or green egg laying chickens have red earlobes.

 

How Many Different Color Eggs Do Chickens Lay?

A chicken will lay only one color of eggs. Some breeds, like Easter Eggers, will have hens who lay different colored eggs, but each individual hen will only lay a single egg color her whole life (so, one hen will lay blue eggs, another will lay green eggs, etc).

 

What Chicken Lays Purple Eggs?

No chickens lay colored eggs that are a true purple. Eggs have a protective layer on their outside called “the bloom,” which helps eggs stay fresh and bacteria free. Some hens will lay brown eggs with a heavy bloom that can tint the egg purple. However, when the bloom is washed off, the egg will be brown.

 

Does The Rooster Determine Egg Color?

No – both parents determine egg color. That’s why hybrid breeds – like Olive Eggers – can exist. One parent has a blue egg laying gene while the other has a dark brown egg laying gene. So, chickens that lay colored eggs have genes from both parents that influence shell color. You can read more about how roosters influence laying here.

 

Which chickens that lay colored eggs do you raise? Leave a comment below!

How Much Does It Cost Own A Chicken? Egg Cost Comparison

How Much Does It Cost Own A Chicken? Egg Cost Comparison

Many beginners wonder “How much does it cost to own a chicken?” And in this article, we’re going to talk specifics about how chicken keeping can effect your wallet.

 

Like many things in life, you can make chicken keeping as expensive or inexpensive as you want.

 

Now, just how much does it cost to own a chicken? It is important to take into account the kinds of things you’ll spend money on and the ongoing costs that come with having a backyard full of fluffy butts.

 

Here’s your “chicken cost calculator” guide!

 

How Much Does It Cost Own A Chicken?

For 5 chickens:

  • Regular feed typically costs about $30 per month, non-GMO feed about $150 per month
  • A coop can cost from $1 to $2,000
  • Bedding costs about $20 per month
  • Feeders & waterers cost about $5 each
  • Baby chicks cost about $5, adult chickens cost $1 to $30 on average

 

You can read more about the bedding I recommend here.

How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Chicken?

Buying a baby chicken can cost anything from a few cents to hundreds of dollars (for purebred breeding-quality chickens). On average, though baby chicks should cost less than $5 for most chicken breeds. The specific cost depends on a variety of factors, such as the sex of the chicken (females usually cost more than males), how rare the breed is (rare breeds cost more), and if it is a hybrid chicken (like an Easter Egger). Started pullets, which are young female chickens that are about 4 weeks old,, cost on average $15 to $25 each. Laying hens can cost anywhere from $10 (for mixed breeds) to $100 (purebred from a hatchery). Certain breeds, like the all black chicken Ayam Cemani, can cost up to $5,000!

 

  • Baby chicks: Starting at $1, averaging about $5
  • Started pullets (4 weeks – 16 weeks): About $15 – $25
  • Laying Hens: About $10 to $100, depending on breed

 

Here’s where to buy baby chicks and started pullets. If you only want female chickens (pullets), then learn how to sex baby chicks here. Layers are easiest to buy in your local area.

How Much Does A Pullet Cost?

It depends on the breed, but started pullets are on average around $15 to $25, although this amount varies by location. If you purchase one from a hatchery, you will also need to pay shipping. It’s typically best to buy a started pullet in your local area.

 

How Do You Get Chickens In Your Backyard?

To start raising chickens in your backyard, first make sure you can have chickens! Otherwise, you might have a nasty surprise visit from your city/town officials, and, heartbreakingly, you might have to re-home your flock. If you’re sure it’s okay to have chickens, you will need to make sure all their basic necessities such as the coop (or brooder, if they’re chicks), feed, water, and etc are covered. You can learn more about what backyard chickens need here.  You can also find out where to buy baby chicks here.

 

If you want to hatch chicks from eggs (you can get eggs from a local dealer – just make sure the flock has a rooster), you’ll need an incubator, You can read about the best incubators I recommend here, and my favorite incubator here.

 

Where Can I Buy Egg Laying Chickens?

You can buy egg laying chickens at a hatchery, your local farm store (like Tractor Supply, Orschelns, Southern States, or Rural King, depending on your region), or from a local breeder. To find a local breeder, it’s best to ask at farm stores in your area, or look on Facebook for groups. If you want a specific breed, you can search Facebook for breeder groups. If you plan to use a hatchery, choose one near you – the chicks will be shipped overnight or 2 day priority. A hatchery close to you means the chicks will have less time in transit.

 

Here’s a list of recommended hatcheries that will ship chicks to you:

 

  • Cackle Hatchery (this is the hatchery I personally use)
  • Murray McMurray
  • Meyer Hatchery
  • Ideal Hatchery
  • My Pet Chicken
  • Stromberg’s Chicks
  • Freedom Ranger Hatchery

 

When purchasing chicks from a local farm store, be sure to note the welfare of the chicks – if they don’t look healthy, or their crates don’t look clean, DO NOT BUY!!

 

Feeding Chickens

How much does it cost to feed a chicken per month?

On average, it costs $0.15 to feed your chickens per day, with organic feed costing at around $0.60 per pound. For a flock of 5 chickens, you will likely spend less than $30 a month, if you feed a 16% layer feed found at local farm stores. For organic feed, you will spend more – about $150 per month. If you feed treats like black soldier fly larvae or mixed treats like BEE A Happy Hen (which is really popular), you need to factor those costs in as well. However, it doesn’t pay to be cheap – chickens are living creatures, and you will need to feed them well so they lay healthy eggs for you. I have a list of what chickens can eat here.

 

How much should I feed a chicken?

The amount to feed a chicken varies, however, on average, 1 chicken needs about ½ – 1 cup of feed daily. You can free feed your chickens (you can use one of the chicken feeders I recommend here) or put a meal out for them daily. Check their weight and general health frequently, and increase their feed if they need it. If you see them wasting a lot of feed, then decrease the amount you’re putting out for them (or use a no-waste chicken feeder).

 

Do chickens need herbal supplements?

While not strictly necessary, you can offer your flock herbal supplements (such as nesting herbs, or mixing herbs in their feed) to ensure that they will be at their optimum health – and a healthy immune system will protect them against common diseases. Remember that treating unhealthy chickens can impact your wallet and result in a lost flock member.

 

How much does a free range chicken cost?

If you plan to free range your chickens, you can save some money on their feed. However, it’s still advisable to feed them a 16% layer feed. For a flock of 5 chickens, you will likely spend less than $30 a month, if you feed a 16% layer feed found at local farm stores. If you want to feed your hens non-GMO feed, it typically costs about $150 per month. If you feed treats like black soldier fly larvae or mixed treats like PowerHen, you need to factor those costs in as well. If you want your chickens to lay eggs for you, then you’ll need to feed them well. Free range chickens might not get all the nutrients they need, or they might eat stuff that effects the nutritional value of their eggs. I have a list of what chickens can eat here. You can find a list of alternative feeds for chickens here, if you really don’t want to purchase chicken feed.

 

Buying Eggs vs. Keeping Chickens

Is it cheaper to have chickens or buy eggs?

If you simply want to save money, it’s cheapest to buy your eggs from a grocery store or allow your own flock to free range permanently. However, there’s other issues with both of those options. For starters, the industrial egg industry, being concerned with profits, typically does not provide their chickens with healthy, happy lives and there’s multiple animal welfare issues. Many of these chickens are killed or otherwise disposed of after 12 – 18 months. They’re usually confined to cages or very crowded living conditions. In some cases, they’re given antibiotics continuously, which does show up in their eggs. The quality of the eggs is poor. If you’re conscious of your food sources, or an animal lover, consider raising chickens yourself or getting your eggs from a local supplier, where you can be sure the animals are treated with respect.

 

Chickens that free range permanently tend to have happier lives than chickens that are kept by the egg industry. However, they tend to hide their eggs (which defeats the purpose of raising them for eggs), or stop laying eggs altogether. They might also become flighty, since they have to fend for themselves (since free range chickens aren’t typically provided secure coops and runs) against chicken predators.

 

Another option is to allow your chickens to feed off your compost pile, develop a mealworm breeding farm, or raise black soldier fly larvae (which can also feed off your compost pile). During spring, summer, and fall months, you can provide some type of free feed to your hens (through your compost pile) but the nutritional value of your eggs isn’t guaranteed, nor is the health of your flock.

 

Remember that once you have an established flock, keeping chickens is a relatively low cost because unlike other pets you can greatly profit from them since they produce food for you.

 

How many eggs does a chicken lay a day?

Chickens lay only one egg per day (unless they’ve laid an egg inside an egg – then technically, they’ve laid two. You can read more about abnormal eggs here.) Remember that there will be some days where they won’t lay eggs at all since a hen’s body take 24 – 26 hours to fully form one egg.

 

Chicken Coop Costs

How much does a chicken coop cost?

The chicken coop cost is typically around $200 to $2000 if you buy them from Amazon or another store.  You can build your own chicken coop for around $100 or less (for a very simple structure) or, if you can find pallets, you can build it for the cost of nails. You can find 55+ free chicken coop plans here and a list of free pallet barn plans here. You can also find a list of what your coop should include here. You can find reviews of different chicken wire options here.

 

These are the coops on Amazon that we recommend:

 

Is it cheaper to buy a coop or build one?

It depends primarily on the materials you use and the features your coop will have. Many low cost coops (around $200 – $300) are very cheap and will break after 1 or 2 years, regardless of what the manufacturer promises. In the long run, it’s cheaper to invest in a good coop or garden shed (that can be converted into a coop) or to build a coop yourself with good quality materials.

 

Remember that if you purchase a garden shed and convert it into a coop, you can always convert it back into a garden shed if you decide chickens aren’t for you – so this makes buying a good quality building worth the investment and it might increase your property value.

 

Keeping Chickens For Beginners

What are the best chickens for beginners?

Here’s a list of champion egg laying chicken breeds:

  • Cochins
  • Delaware
  • Easter Eggers
  • Jersey Giants
  • Marans
  • Rhode Island Reds

 

You can also read about more chicken breeds here.

 

Cochins

Cochins are a lot of fun to own because they’re hardy, lay brown eggs consistently, and enjoy human company. You can get a full-sized cochin or the bantam variety – and both have feathered feet! The bantams will eat less but will also lay smaller eggs. You can read about cochin chickens here.

Delaware

Delawares are excellent laying chickens that can produce up to 5 brown eggs per week. They’re cold hardy, distinctive looking, and friendly.

 

Easter Eggers

Great for beginners because they lay consistently of about 250 eggs per year – and you might even get blue eggs! (Or green, or pink…..it just depends on the genetics of the individual hen.) You can read more about Easter Eggers here and other blue egg laying breeds here. If you definitely want blue eggs, you can learn about Ameraucanas here and Araucanas here.

 

Jersey Giants

Jersey Giants are a heritage chicken breed, and also one of the largest purebred chickens in the United States. They’re great egg layers producing at around 200 eggs per year.

 

Marans

Marans are pretty quiet, disease-resistant, and are cold-hardy chickens that don’t require a lot of work. The hens lay chocolate-colored eggs (although how dark they are will depend on the individual chicken). They’re great layers producing approximately 250 per year.

 

Rhode Island Reds

Rhode Island Reds are another heritage chicken breed that’s pretty popular. They require little care (except for food, water, a clean coop, and vet care), but lay large brown eggs 4-5 times a week.

 

Is it hard to raise chickens for eggs?

No, but like any other pet, you need to ensure they’re safe, have access to food and water, and a clean home. They’re easier than dogs or cats because they can feed and water themselves (as long as you use a gravity feeder or a DIY chicken waterer that allows them to free-feed). And unlike dogs or cats, they don’t need to be let in and out of the house constantly.

 

It you’re concerned about the work, it’s best to start with 3 hens, and a small coop. You can always expand and build a bigger coop later. Chickens will produce eggs if they feel they are protected and are in a healthy and spacious environment. As long as you provide this, they should prove no trouble to raise for eggs.

 

Selling Chickens & Eggs for Profit

How much is a live chicken worth?

A live chicken will on average cost around $3 to $30 depending on the breed and age of the chicken. Here’s some general guidelines:

 

  • Baby chicks: Starting at $1, averaging about $5
  • Started pullets (4 weeks – 16 weeks): About $15 – $25
  • Laying Hens: About $10 to $100, depending on breed

 

How much is a full grown chicken worth?

A full grown chicken can cost at around $1 to $5,000 depending on the breed and sex of the bird. Barnyard mixes (chickens of unknown lineage) can cost $1 while prized breeds like Ayam Cemani can cost $5,000. Age is also a factor: hens that come from the egg laying industry might be 12 months old, but cost $1. Older hens might be less (or even free), while chicks that are 6 months old (so, just starting to lay eggs) might cost more because they have a lot of egg laying year left. So, best to do your research first in locking down your ideal bird, then calculate how much does it cost to own a chicken for your area.

 

Can I make money from eggs?

POssibly. This will depend on a variety of factors, including how much it costs to raise your chickens, what your chickens eat, and how much people will pay for eggs in your area. If you only sell a dozen eggs for $1, then it’s harder to turn a profit. But if you sell your eggs for $6 a dozen, then you’ll make money, as long as your chickens cost less than $6 to feed. It’s best to write a detailed spreadsheet of expenses, then base your cost per dozen eggs off that.

 

How much are baby chicks worth?

The average baby chick sells for $5, depending on the breed. Purebred and unusual breeds will sell for more (maybe $7 – $10), while mixed breeds will sell for $1 or $2. Chicks over 1 week typically sell for less, also (since farm stores don’t want to keep them longer than 1 – 2 weeks). If you’re planning to hatch eggs yourself, then you will want to sell the chicks “straight run,” and tell buyers you aren’t sure whether the chicks are hens or roosters. You’ll need to decide whether you’ll sell purebred or a hybrid chicken. Cost of a baby chick varies based on these factors.

 

Can I sell chicken feathers?

Yes, you can sell chicken feathers – there are even special birds bred for their feathers. Many chicken owners sell feathers on Ebay or Etsy. Feathers are usually sold by the pound.

 

Do you still wonder “How much does it cost to own a chicken?” Do you think chicken-keeping is for you?

Chickens That Lay Blue Eggs: Buyer’s Guide

Chickens That Lay Blue Eggs: Buyer’s Guide

Heard there are chickens that lay blue eggs? Want one? Then you’re in for a treat – in this article, you’ll discover several chickens that pop out gorgeous, sky-colored eggs!

 

There are quite a few types of chickens that lay blue eggs – and they’re all friendly and wonderful to look at.

 

Why Are Some Chicken Eggs Blue?

But first – do you know WHY some backyard chickens lay blue eggs?

 

Turns out, it’s a genetic anomaly caused by a retrovirus between 200 and 500 years ago. Chicken breeds that lay blue eggs possess a gene called “callee oocyan” that is responsible for the coloration of the eggs.

 

And unlike other colors, the blue penetrates the egg – so even the inside of the shell is blue! (If you crack open a brown egg, you’ll notice the inside of the eggshell is white – that’s because the brown doesn’t penetrate the shell).

 

No, it doesn’t mean these chickens are sick – it just means a virus caused a genetic mutation that lead to blue eggs. And now we get to benefit.

 

Another common question is whether blue eggs are genetically modified. No, they’re definitely not! They’re completely natural!

 

In fact, all eggs produced by chickens are either white or blue. Here’s why.

 

You might wonder whether there’s chickens that lay dark blue eggs – the color of the egg depends on the individual hen.

 

What Kind Of Chicken Lays Blue Eggs?

  • Ameraucana
  • Araucana
  • Cream Legbars
  • Easter Eggers
  • Arkansas Blue

 

Although each of these 5 types of chickens lays blue eggs, just understand that the shade of blue might vary. Some might be a pale blue, while others might lay striking sky blue eggs.

 

Ameraucana

Want chickens that lay blue eggs? Why not an Ameraucana?

 

Ameraucana are truly an American breed – as their name implies! The name Ameraucana is a cross between “America” and “Araucana.” (More on Araucanas below)

 

Agricultural scientists developed this breed, hoping to preserve the blue-egg laying genes of the Araucana chicken – but also to eliminate its lethal gene that can kill the chick before it hatches.

 

Through trial and error, scientists created these beautiful grey-blue feathered hens. In the 1980’s, they were formally recognized by APA and American Bantam Association (ABA).

 

Even though they look unique, Ameraucanas are easily confused with other chickens that lay blue eggs – the Araucana chicken and Easter Eggers.

 

For those who don’t know the difference, it’s so confusing that you’ll find even hatcheries sometimes mislabel these birds.

 

Ameraucana chickens have a beautiful curved beak, large eyes, and a red “pea” comb. This pea comb, together with the wattles and the round earlobes, should be red.

 

Ameraucana chickens also appear to have a “beard of feathers” and adorable muffs that sometimes almost cover their face.

 

They’re consistent egg layers that produce about 200 blue eggs a year – pretty good statistics! Ameraucana eggs can be light blue to almost green to sky blue – it just depends on the individual hen.

 

You can learn more about Ameraucanas here.


Araucana Chickens

Araucanas are wonderful chickens, and truly a unique, ancient breed. They’re also the foundation of every blue egg laying breed out there!

 

This breed is native to Chile, and are named after the Araucania region of Chile.

 

These chickens have a very unique appearance. Like Ameraucana and Easter eggers, they have “peduncles” – tufts of feathers that develop near their ears that they’re born with.

 

Some can have tufts so pronounced, they look like handlebar mustaches!

 

Araucanas don’t have tail bones like most chicken breeds, so they won’t grow any long, fabulous tail feathers. It gives them a distinctive profile that can differ from Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers.

 

Like Brahma chickens and Silkies, Araucanas are born with small pea combs, which makes them ideal for colder climates. It’s less likely they’ll develop frostbite!

 

Adult males weigh about 5 pounds while hens lay about 4 pounds, making them one of the smaller breeds of chickens.

 

Just remember that if you plan to buy these blue egg layers, they should be recognized colors, exhibit the tufts, and be rumpless. You can use these characteristics to be sure the chickens you’re buying are truly chickens that lay blue eggs.

 

You can read more about Araucana chickens here.

 

Easter Eggers

Unlike Ameraucana, Easter eggers are hybrids (meaning, they’re not a recognized standard breed). This variety is, usually a mix between Ameraucana or Araucana chickens and a brown egg layer, such as a Rhode Island Red.

 

In other words, Easter Egger chickens can be of any lineage, as long as at least one parent has the blue egg laying gene.

 

While some do lay blue eggs, because of their mixed heritage, not all will. Easter Egger eggs can be blue, brown, green, or even pink – a rainbow of egg colors certain to brighten any basket!

 

Also, they do not breed true, so even if you breed 2 Easter Egger chickens together, there’s no telling what characteristics the offspring will have. No two Easter Eggers look exactly the same.

 

They make wonderful pets (I own quite a few) but if you want blue eggs, it’s best to consider an Araucana or Ameraucana.

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You can learn more about Easter Egger Chickens here.

 

Cream Legbar

Cream Legbars are a breed developed in the 20th century by researchers at Cambridge University by crossing a heritage breed like Barred Plymouth Rocks, Leghorns, Cambars, and Araucanas. They’re medium-sized birds, with cream colored feathers. The hens aren’t very broody – so egg collecting should be easy!

 

They have adorable tufts of feathers on their heads – so they’re a sure show-stopper!

 

This variety lays about 200 blue or blue-green eggs each year. You can buy Cream Legbars from Greenfire Farms along with other breeders – just make sure to go to one with a good reputation.

 

Arkansas Blue

This variety was developed in Arkansas (hence its name) at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. Although derived from Araucana bloodlines, these chickens don’t have the muffs, tufts, or beards. They do have the pea comb, however. While still a new breed that’s not recognized, the chickens do lay blue eggs. 

 

How Do You Tell What Color Eggs A Chicken Will Lay?

In short, when it comes to chickens that lay blue eggs, you can’t really tell what color eggs they’ll lay unless your hens are purebred Araucana, Ameraucanas, or Cream Legbars. In a general sense, though, brown egg layers have red earlobes. However, you’ll likely notice that Easter Eggers, Ameraucanas, Araucanas, and even olive eggers have red earlobes! So, the easiest way to tell what color eggs a chicken lays is to either purchase purebred hens OR wait and see what pops out!

 

Do Blue Chicken Eggs Taste Different?

NO! They taste just like any other egg (maybe even better if your hens have an organic diet with herbs included!). And they’re just as healthy! In fact, the nutritional quality of an egg depends completely on the health of the hen and her diet. It’s a common misconception to think that eggs of different colors taste will taste weird, however. Eggs generally do not taste different when the hens eat the same chicken feed and live under the same conditions.

 

If you want to make sure all your chickens eat the same diet, you can read our review of chicken feeders here. There’s several automatic feeders that make it easy to track how much your flock is eating. You can read more about what to feed a chicken for great tasting eggs here.

 

Are Blue Chicken Eggs Safe Or Edible?

Yes! The color of the eggs doesn’t make it taste any different as long as the hens are fed the same consistent diet. The color of the egg just effects the look of the eggshell – not the nutritional value. Chickens that lay blue eggs – like every other chicken – should have a diet that includes a high quality commercial layer feed to ensure the highest quality yolks.

 

Are Blue Eggs Better For You?

While some health food proponents claim that blue eggs contain less cholesterol than the regular white or brown eggs, it has been proven false by scientific data. The color of the egg doesn’t effect its quality – just the diet of the hen!

 

Which breed of chickens that lay blue eggs is for you? Leave a comment below!

Easter Egger Chickens: Egg Color, Personalities, And More!

Easter Egger Chickens: Egg Color, Personalities, And More!

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!

easter egger chicken baby

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!

blue easter egger 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!

Ameraucana Chickens: Know Before You Buy!

Ameraucana Chickens: Know Before You Buy!

With large expressive eyes, Ameraucana chickens could just be the inspiration for the angry hen stereotype in cartoons.

 

But there’s more to this rare chicken than their eyes, multicolored feathers, and the lovely blue eggs they lay!

 

You’ll see online that lots different types of chickens are sold as Ameraucana chickens.

 

This breed of chicken is easily confused with the Araucana chicken and Easter Eggers – especially since both breeds lay blue eggs.  

 

Araucana vs Ameraucana vs Easter Egger are common subjects in forums and threads, but Ameraucana chickens have a few stand out characteristics that separate it from the other blue egg layers.

 

From afar, you’d see a beautiful creature that does not look like the average chicken in the coop. Now, let’s inspect the Ameraucana chicken from head to toe.

 

About Ameraucana Chickens – Breed Characteristics, History, & Personalities

For a little bit of storytelling, Ameraucana chickens originated in the United States.

 

Agricultural scientists created this breed, hoping to preserve the genetics of the South American, blue-egg laying Araucana chicken – but also to eliminate its lethal gene that can kill the chick while inside the shell.

 

Eventually, the Pratt Experimental Farm in Pennsylvania got the right genes together sometime in the early 70’s.

 

And yes, most breeds of chickens are not considered “true chicken breeds” by most people until the American Poultry Association (APA) says so, and eight varieties later it was finally recognized by APA and American Bantam Association (ABA) in the 1980s.

 

Ameraucana chickens have a beautiful curved beak, large eyes, and a red “pea” comb. This pea comb, together with the wattles and the round earlobes, should be red.

 

Ameraucana chickens also appear to have a “beard of feathers” and adorable muffs that sometimes almost cover their face.

 

This makes them charming – giving you more reason to own and breed one, if the chicken gods would permit you to find Ameraucana chickens for sale.

 

If closely compared the Araucana and Easter Eggers, Ameraucanas will also have a well spread, full tail. (Araucana chickens, on the other hand, are “rumpless.”

 

This chicken breed also sports a few uncanny characteristics like having blue slate shanks and bottoms.

 

Are Ameraucanas Cold Hardy?

Most chicken breeds (like Silkies) are cold hardy, and Ameraucanas are no exception – ours have always done better in winter than summer.

 

Our Ameraucanas don’t really like going out in the snow, but because they have small pea combs and smaller wattles, they are resistant to frostbite on these areas.

 

They also lay well during colder seasons.

 

Offering your flock extra treats during the colder months can lift their spirits and provide extra protein.

 

Can Ameraucana Chickens Fly?

Ameraucana chickens can fly short distances and enjoy the view from a tree branch. They’re smaller and lighter framed than other heavier chicken breeds (like buff orpingtons and brahmas, for example), so it’s easier for them to catch some air for lift off.

 

They won’t fly long distances or even leave your farm, though.

 

How Long Do Ameraucana Chickens Live?

While backyard Araucanas can live more than 10 years, the actual lifespan of your Ameraucana chick can vary greatly depending on its diet, genetics and exposure to predators.

 

Most pet chickens live between 5-6 years if they’re given a warm shelter and a high quality layer feed, clean chicken feeders and waterers, and are protected from fox, raccoons, and other predators.

 

What Is The Difference Between Easter Eggers And Ameraucana Chickens?

Easter eggers are hybrids, usually a mix between Ameraucana or Araucana chickens and a brown egg layer, such as a Rhode Island Red.

 

They come from different breeds with one parent having the blue egg laying gene.

 

Unlike Ameraucana chickens, Easter Eggers don’t just lay blue eggs – they can lay brown, green, or even pink eggs – a veritable rainbow of egg colors.

 

If you’ve heard of lavender Ameraucana chicken eggs, you’re likely thinking of Easter Eggers. Both make wonderful pets!

 

The Ameraucana chicken egg color is blue – not lavender, however.

 

Also, they do not breed true, so even if you breed 2 Easter Egger chickens together, there’s no telling what characteristics the offspring will have. No two Easter Eggers look exactly the same.

 

Personally, I like this “grab bag” approach to breeding, but the bottom line is breeding two Easter Egger chickens together can have some surprising and offbeat results.

 

Types of Ameraucana Chickens

Be ready to have a colorful flock when you have these clucking in your coop or grazing in your backyard. Each variety come in different sets of color.

 

So, What Colors Do Ameraucana Chickens Come In?

The recognized Ameraucana chicken colors (all Ameraucana chicken breeds colors) are:

 

  1. black,
  2. blue,
  3. brown red,
  4. buff silver,
  5. blue wheaten,
  6. wheaten, and
  7. white.

 

Some breeders are also working on new varieties like black gold and also lavender! How wonderful would those be?

 

The blacks and blues are the most common Ameraucana colors.

 

The black Ameraucana chicken is purely black with shiny coal black feathers aside from the red wattles, ears, and comb.

 

The same is true for the white Ameraucana chicken – except it’s snow white and not black.

 

Don’t expect sky-blue chickens to grow from a Blue Ameraucana chicken, though.

 

The blues of this breed are more of an ashy blue. This color is derived from the black Ameraucana chicken that has been diluted with the blue gene.

 

The Ameraucana recognized variety, buff, is also quite interesting to look at, with its contrasting golden buff color and blue legs.

 

You might also be confused with the wheaten and blue wheaten color. It’s quite simple: blue feathers on blue wheatens will replace the black feathers on regular wheatens for both hens and roosters.

 

Just be aware that when you raise Ameraucana chicks, you’ll only be able to distinguish what color they will be as adults when they start feathering out. This is especially true if you get them from a hatchery, rather than a local dealer where you can see the parent stock.

 

Until then, you can only fantasize and stare at an ameraucana chicken color chart hoping they would turn out to be the colors you want to have.

 

I want the Ameraucana recognized variety blue myself.

 

Expect in general that males would have more orange tint with blue and gray shanks.

 

Anyway, no matter what color your chicks turn out to be they’re guaranteed to have blue eggs in different shades as long as they are genuine/pure breeds.

 

There is also a “standard” size and bantam size for this breed.

 

A standard Ameraucana chicken can weigh up to 4.5 – 6.5 lbs and stand up to 18” tall. Ameraucana bantam chickens are the cuter versions that grow half the size of a standard – and bantam chickens in general tend to be more cuddly with their humans than regular-sized chickens. You can buy the bantam versions from these hatcheries.

 

Are Ameraucanas Good Egg Layers?

There is no questioning the capabilities of the Ameraucana for egg production. They are one of the most productive egg laying breeds known to give at least 250 to 300 eggs a year, weighing approximately 53 – 60 grams.

 

Those are some nice, big, blue eggs!

 

Do Ameraucana Chickens Lay Eggs Everyday?

On the average, they produce 3-6 eggs a week, more in their first laying year. The exact amount they’ll lay – and whether they lay consistently – will depend on their diet and environment. It’s always best to provide a high-quality layer feed with at least 16% protein and plenty of calcium.

 

Note that chickens who do not have a good diet, or who free range for most of their nutrients, or have experienced some sort of stress, might not lay as well. You can explore reasons chickens stop laying eggs here.

 

What Age Do Ameraucana Chickens Lay Eggs?

They start laying eggs at about 6-7 months old, although it can depend on certain factors, such as the individual chicken, her diet, the time of year, etc. Pullets that reach the 7 month mark during the darkest days of winter might not lay until spring, since 12-14 hours of light is needed to spur egg production. Once your hens do start laying, offer them a high quality layer feed with plenty of calcium.

 

Some breeders would say that it’s quite a long time before they start laying, but pretty colored eggs are worth the wait. When your hens start producing eggs, make sure they don’t go through too much stress like change in environment or feeding. Stressed hens might just stop laying.

 

Their eggs aren’t only coveted for their unique and gorgeous blue color. Ameraucana chicken eggs are one of the healthiest, with low cholesterol and rich flavors.

 

Personalities

This breed can be misunderstood because there is a variety of Ameraucana chicken temperaments. Looks are deceiving for this breed.

 

A lot of breeders would testify that it is a friendly breed and easy to tame. They can be fun to watch when they start being curious and explore the backyard.

 

To give a piece of advice though, you might need to think twice about picking them up for a cuddle. These mild chickens are also easily spooked when they are not used to having humans around and can be broody.

 

The exception are well-handled bantam varieties.

 

In Ameraucana flocks, males are dominant. They protect hens when in they’re in trouble, but they can be aggressive too. It is a good practice to separate the males from females when they’re not breeding if the roosters are being difficult.

 

While they enjoy free-ranging and enjoying mother nature’s treat, this is a breed that doesn’t mind confinement. They can easily adjust and thrive cooped up, as long as their environment is set up to reduce stress.

 

You can provide them treats and toys to keep them entertained.

 

Starting to think Ameraucana chickens are for you? Let me know – leave a comment below! (Feature image courtesy of Royale Photography [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)])




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