Which Bantams Lay Great Eggs?

Which Bantams Lay Great Eggs?

Oh, bantams, you infinitely cute and cuddly chickens. What is it about small that just turns our knees to jelly? Is it really just because they’re smaller? Or maybe it’s because they’re adorable AND they lay eggs? 

It could also be their attitudes. Most bantams are just the sweetest birds. They really are the perfect package of lovely – they’re irresistible!

If you’re like me, you’re probably going to find a few in your coop. You might never know how they get there, either. One day, you’ll just head out there and find the most adorable hen in with your other layers. Chicken math wins again.

It’s alright, of course, as you’ll fall in love with her, but the question is, if you’re actually planning on adding some bantam hens to your coop, should you spend time researching which variety to add? It couldn’t hurt!

Bantams are more than just a pretty face. They’re great at laying eggs, just like their larger cousins. In fact, you can get several eggs a week from one hen. As a bonus, she won’t eat as much! 

In this article, we’ll look at the top tier bantam eggers (whether they’re true bantams or not). True bantams are chickens whose breed has no regular-sized alternative. “True” bantams will be marked as such, in case anyone is interested. 

Araucanas

These South American birds are known for their blue eggs. They’re a very distinctive breed – they’re “rumpless” and have no tails to speak of.  They are friendly and come in a variety of colors. Like most other bantam varieties on this list, Araucana eggs are quite small. But they lay fairly abundantly – you can expect about 150 blue eggs per year. 

Frizzles

Frizzles are an odd addition to this list. Sure, they are generally excellent layers that can produce about 200 eggs per year. But what really sets them apart from most other chicken breeds on this list is they aren’t actually a breed. They’re a variation of a breed. Meaning, out of 2 parents, in any given clutch, some of the offspring will have frizzled feathers, and some won’t.

Frizzles are birds that have a quirky genetic disposition for feathers that curl outward, where most other chickens have feathers that lay flat against their bodies. They’re delightfully quirky looking as a result.

Two things to consider with these birds is that most frizzles are not cold hardy. Because their feathers do not sit flush, they are susceptible to chills in really cold weather. The other thing to keep in mind is that the number of eggs they produce will intimately reflect the tendencies of their base breed. If you have a Cochin frizzle, it will lay a solid 200 eggs per year, but if you have a Japanese bantam, you’ll get less than half that amount – about 75 max!

Polish Bantams

These funny looking characters are some of the friendliest chickens out there! The tufts on their head are actually extra feathers. While there’s a lot of Polish bantam varieties out there, I’m partial to Silver Laced. You can expect about 150 white eggs per year.

Dutch Bantam

These are another bantam variety that has the potential to add a rainbow of color to your flock. They originated in Holland. Their officially recognized colors are:

  • Partridge
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Lavender
  • Silver

These are really colorful birds. What’s more, Dutchies are true bantams! There is no larger equivalent. These are a special breed designed for their compact sizes and about 160 to 200 small cream-colored eggs each year. 

Barbu d’Uccle

In French, the name means “Beards of Uccle,” and their beards truly are a delight to run fingertips through. These are a newer variety of bantam chicken, but boy are they colorful! They come in:

  • Blue
  • Lavender
  • Mille fleur
  • Porcelain
  • Mottled
  • Black
  • White
  • Cuckoo

For eggs, each year, these lovely birds can deposit up to 200 cream-colored eggs to your collecting baskets.

Brahmas

While Brahmas are known as a large breed, there is a bantam variety. These chickens are amazingly sweet. For people with limited space, you’d be hard pressed to find a hen more ideally suited for urban environments and for cold weather. These little sweethearts are one of the best egg-laying bantams out there – at over 200 each year. An added bonus is the variety of colors that Brahmas come in. In addition to laying lots of eggs, your flock can be a rainbow of light, dark, buff, black, and white.

Cochins

Like Brahmas, Cochins are known for being a larger breed. But there is a bantam variety, and they’re some of the friendliest chickens out there! I really like my Cochin bantam hens, and recommend them to families with children. If anyone is looking for a sweet, docile breed that’s like toy poodle of the chicken world, Cochin bantams are it. As a bonus, each hen usually drops upwards of 200 brown eggs every year. They have feathered legs, and enjoy spending time with their humans.

Easter Eggers

No list about egg laying would be complete without mentioning Easter Eggers. With these birds, you can end up with a coop full of a rainbow of egg colors. Because Easter Eggers are mixed breed chickens, they can lay white, brown, cream, blue, green, or olive eggs. They’re not as friendly as other breeds on this list (in my experience, the Easter Egger bantams tend to be more flighty). But they make up for it with their eggs! You can expect about 200 eggs per year. The color will be dependent on the genetics of each individual chicken.

With the bantam options available, there are two things to keep in mind: the eggs will generally be small (with some possibly even being tiny), and the chickens will be adorable! I hope this list helps you to find the best layers for your number goals. 

Cream Legbars: Hatchery Reviews & More

Cream Legbars: Hatchery Reviews & More

Pet birds don’t get much better than Cream Legbar chickens. They lay blue eggs and you can tell which are males and which are females seconds after they hatch – what’s not to love?

 

This fascinating breed of chicken is a relative newcomer to the backyard flock scene, but because of their good looks, excellent egg laying ability, docile personality, and sky-colored eggs, they’ve become extremely popular.

 

However, you might not be sure where to find these wonderful colored egg layers

– or which breeders are the best.

 

In this article, you’ll discover everything there is to know about Cream Legbar chickens, where to buy them, what to look for, and how to care for these feathered beauties.

 

5 Amazing Cream Legbar Chicken Facts

  • They’re an unusual crested chicken breed.
  • The chicks are autosexing
  • They lay blue or blue/green eggs
  • The breed almost went extinct in the 70s because nobody wanted blue eggs (surprising since powder blue suits were all the rage).
  • It took several decades of study for the breed to form.

 

Where to Buy Cream Legbar Chickens

There are several major hatcheries and a few recommended breeders where you can buy your Cream Legbar chicks from.

 

With a breed like this – very popular and not very well publicized – it’s easy to head to the wrong place and purchase chickens that LOOK like Cream Legbars, but won’t lay blue eggs or are unhealthy.

 

(One popular cross I’ve seen is a Cream Legbar and a Welsummer chicken – they look like the real deal, but likely won’t lay blue eggs.)

 

Or, you might find the breeder doesn’t know the difference between Cream Legbars, Ameraucanas, Easter Eggers, or Araucanas and accidentally sells you the wrong breed. You can learn the difference between these super blue egg layers here.

 

Because of their popularity, they tend to be much more expensive than other chicken breeds, which makes it tempting for people to pass off hybrids for purebred Cream Legbars.

 

When it comes to this breed, make sure you’re prepared to spend a bit more at a reliable hatchery. While most chicken breeds tend to cost between $2 – $5, Cream Legbar pullets start at approximately $25, while the young roosters are less.

 

Recommended Hatcheries

The top hatcheries to purchase Cream Legbars are:

  1. My Pet Chicken
  2. Meyer Hatchery
  3. Cackle Hatchery
  4. Murray McMurray

 

My Pet Chicken

Located in Connecticut. If you live on the East Coast, you’ll want to use this hatchery so your chicks don’t travel too far.

 

This has been one of the top hatcheries for decades in the United States. They carry day old chicks that you can have shipped right to your door. The Cream Legbars on their site have gotten many 5 star reviews, and owners seem happy with their purchase.

 

Meyer Hatchery

Located in Ohio. If you live in the Mid-Atlantic or Northern Midwest, this is a good hatchery to order from. Your chicks won’t travel too far.

 

Meyer has a good reputation, and on their website, they show photos of beautiful sky blue eggs that’ll be perfect in any morning egg basket. Their reviews aren’t quite as good as My Pet Chicken’s, although it seems there are more reviews (which is a good thing). The prices of the Cream Legbars are the same as other hatcheries.

 

Cackle Hatchery

Located in Missouri. A good hatchery to order from if you live in the Midwest, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, the Dakotas, etc. This is the hatchery I have the most experience with. Every time I’ve ordered from them, the chicks arrived ASAP and in good shape.

 

Their prices for Cream Legbar chicks are competitive. Note that as of the time of press, they only shipped these chicks through June, so get your orders in early.

 

The roosters in particular look very beautiful. You can read our review of Cackle Hatchery here.

 

Murray McMurray

Located in Iowa. A good place to order from if you live in the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota, etc. I’ve ordered from this hatchery before (although not Cream Legbar chickens), and had a good experience.

 

Their prices are very competitive, and the photos on their website show pretty blue/green eggs, and hens with very impressive crest feathers!

 

There’s only 1 review on their site for this chicken breed.

 

Recommended Cream Legbar Breeders

Greenfire Farms

One of the top breeders (if not THE top breeder) in the United States, Greenfire Farms, also has Cream Legbar chickens for sale. As one of the first importers of these chickens, they’ve helped establish solid flocks for other breeders, and only raise healthy birds you’ll be proud to have in your flock. You can expect to make more of an investment in your birds, but you’ll have beautiful parent stock from which you can establish your own flocks.

 

Willow Croft Farm

These breeders are based in Washington state, and might be a good option for those living on the West Coast. They only offer a limited number each year, so it’s best to check with them directly. According to buyers, their Cream Legbar chickens come from Greenfire stock, are very healthy, and lay every day.

 

Cream Legbar Chicken Hatching Eggs

If you want to purchase hatching eggs, Purely Poultry seems to have them in stock. Bear in mind that while this can seem like an easy way to save some money, the phrase “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” rings true for a reason – there’s no guarantee you’ll have any chicks. The USPS is notoriously bad for shipping eggs.

 

Other Ways To Purchase Cream Legbar Chickens

 

  1. You can join the Cream Legbar Club to connect with other enthusiasts (and possibly breeders).
  2. Join Facebook groups and ask for breeder recommendations. Here’s a popular group called Cream Legbar Breeders of America.

 

Cream Legbar Eggs

What Color Eggs Do Cream Legbars Lay?

Because of their Araucana heritage (and selective breeding), the crested Cream Legbar egg color is blue or blue/green. If your Cream Legbar hen doesn’t lay blue eggs, then it’s likely a hybrid (you can find out about other colored egg layers here.).

 

How Many Eggs Does A Cream Legbar Lay?

Cream Legbars lay about 280 eggs each year, and are noted for being very prolific egg layers. So, don’t be surprised if you find lovely blue eggs in your nesting boxes 5 times a week!

 

You can learn more about which nesting boxes chickens prefer here.

 

What Age Do Cream Legbars Start Laying?

Like most chickens, Cream Legbars start laying their eggs at about 6 months of age. This will depend on different factors, however, such as her diet and the time of year. It’s always best to feed your hens a high quality layer feed that’s at least 16% protein. You can also supplement with extra treats, such as black soldier fly larvae and oyster shells for extra calcium.

 

Many readers ask “When do cream legbars start laying?” because their chickens are 7 months old, with no eggs in sight. Remember that if your hen turns 6 months old during winter, she is less likely to start laying. In fact, she might wait until spring before beginning egg production. You can find out more about how often hens lay eggs here.

 

If your Cream Legbar hen stops laying eggs, you can troubleshoot egg laying problems here.

 

Cream Legbar Vs. Ameraucana: Which Is Better?

When it comes to laying eggs, many owners report that Cream Legbars are more prolific layers. However the Ameraucana is more likely to be friendlier and cuddlier. Ameraucana roosters are also usually pretty mellow.

 

Cream Legbar Breed Standard

History Of The Cream Legbar Breed

Established in the United Kingdom, Cream Legbars are getting more popular, but are still considered to be a fairly rare breed in the USA.

 

It was developed by Reginald Crundall Punnett and Michael Pease, researchers at Cambridge University, who wanted to create a breed that could easily be sexed at hatching (you can read more about how to sex a baby chick here).

 

These gentlemen crossed a Gold Legbar chicken (a hybrid of Barred Rocks and Brown Leghorns) with white Leghorns and Aracauna chickens.

 

While this gets a bit technical about chicken genetics, the Araucanas brought the dilute creme gene to the mixture, which inhibits the gold gene from being expressed in the chicks (which is why Cream Legbars are a light grey or cream color).

 

It’s also from the Araucanas that the Cream Legbar gets its crest and blue egg laying genes.

 

Thanks to this mixture, the chicks can be sexed after they hatch by examining their down. Like other autosexing chicken breeds, Cream Legbars have specific markings when they’re born. The pullets have a dark brown stripe extending over the head, neck and tail, and barring around the eye. They also have a head spot. Roosters have paler down, and less pronounced barring.

 

Breed Standard

According to breeding clubs, these are the required markings of Cream Legbar hens and roosters:

 

Roosters: Cream neck hackles, sparsely barred. Crests are cream and grey colored. Saddle hackle feathers are long and cream barred. The wings are also faintly barred.

 

Hens: The breast is salmon colored and the rest of the body is silver-grey with soft barring. The neck hackles and tail are covered with cream feathers with grey barring. Like the roosters, the crest should be cream and grey. The hens should lay blue or blue/green eggs, and should lay prolifically.

 

Unlike their Araucana ancestors, these chickens don’t have the tufts.

 

You can read detailed breed standards here.

 

What Color Legs Do Cream Legbars Have?

Cream Legbars have yellow legs and feet.

 

Feeding Cream Legbar Chickens

Like most chickens, the best Cream Legbar diet includes a lot of protein. Chicks need a high protein diet to grow correctly- 18% protein chick starter is best.

 

Layers need it also so they can provide you with yummy eggs. The ideal diet for a hen includes a 16% protein layer feed and fresh, clean water every day.

 

Most commercial feeds are perfectly adequate. If you want to save some money and keep rodents away from your hens, use a no-waste feeder like these. You can also build your own with these tutorials.

 

This is especially important since Cream Legbars (thanks to the Leghorn genes) have a very good feed to egg ratio, so they won’t eat as much as bigger chickens. You want that feed to last as long as possible!

 

Keeping the feed out 24 hours a day will attract pests and predators. Since your Cream Legbars are smaller chickens, they’re more susceptible to being attacked. Keep their feed locked up at night when they’re not going to eat it anyway.

 

For nicely colored yolks, you can add herbs high in beta carotenes, such as calendula.

 

Your flock should have 24 hour access to water (although they probably won’t drink at night). An automatic waterer makes this easy. You can find recommended waterers here.

 

If you want to build your own, you can get my tutorial for a $12 gravity waterer here.

 

Keeping Cream Legbar Chickens as Pets

Are Cream Legbar Chickens Friendly?

The cream legbar temperament is usually docile, but it depends on how they’re raised. Because they have Leghorn genetics, they can be a bit flighty (Leghorns are notorious for their flightiness). However, many owners report that if the Cream Legbar chicks are hand raised, they’re very friendly and will take treats from your hand.

 

According to the breed standard, having a docile Cream Legbar is ideal.

 

Cream Legbars also have a bantam variety, and on the whole, bantams tend to be friendlier than full sized chickens. You can read more about bantams here.

 

Are Cream Legbar Roosters Aggressive?

Some breeders report that Cream Legbar roosters tend to be more aggressive than other chicken breeds, and are good protectors. So, if you’re looking for a pet chicken for your children, then this breed might not be the best available (Silkies and Cochins are two options.)

 

Cream Legbar Chicken Lifespan

Cream Legbars tend to be healthy birds, and on a general basis, you can expect yours to live between 5-10 years. Note that the exact lifespan depends on lots of different factors, such as diet, shelter, and veterinary care. You can learn more about the factors that can effect how long your chickens live here.

 

Coops For Cream Legbar Chickens

The perfect Cream Legbar chicken habitat should be:

  1. Safe from predators
  2. Well ventilated
  3. Draft-free
  4. Easy to clean
  5. 10 square feet of space per chicken
  6. Full of environmental interest, such as branches and toys

 

While Cream Legbars are not very large, they can be flighty and nervous. It’s best to stick to the 10 square feet of space per chicken rule of thumb.

 

These are also smaller birds, and easily picked off by predators, including dogs, raccoons, opossums, and larger predators like bears. Make sure your coop is 100% predator proof, and use a run or tractor to allow your flock some outdoors time.

 

You can learn how to build a predator proof coop here and figure out the best chicken wire here for your particular coop. If you want to know how to identify common chicken predators, you can read this article.

 

Cream Legbars are both cold hardy and heat hardy, but remember that they’re still fairly small birds. So, your coop should keep them dry and warm in the winter so they don’t freeze.

 

In the summer, your coop should have good cross breezes so they don’t overheat. A few windows are always a good idea – just be sure to use screens or hardware cloth so no predators can eat your flock.

 

You can also offer frozen treats like these Beef Tallow Treats. Your flock will love you for it.

 

Known Health Issues

When Greenfire Farms first imported Cream Legbar chickens, Marek’s seemed to be a big issue. The breeder reported that this was partly due to the imported birds having no resistance to the strains of the virus we have in the USA. Subsequent generations seem more immune. However, it’s not a bad idea to have your Cream Legbar chicks vaccinated for Mareks to be on the safe side.

 

Because Cream Legbar hens are such prolific layers, there’s a chance she might end up with a prolapsed vent. However, this seems unlikely, and reports are few and far between.

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!

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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Raise Araucana Chickens For BEAUTIFUL BLUE EGGS!

Raise Araucana Chickens For BEAUTIFUL BLUE EGGS!

Who doesn’t love a great blue egg laying breed like Araucana chickens?

 

Blue eggs are one of those fun perks of owning backyard chickens….but not all blue egg layers are the same. (Even though they’re easily confused and mis-marketed).

 

If you’ve been wondering what this super cool (and rare) breed of chicken is about, then read below to learn all about Araucanas, including their particular breed characteristics and how to spot the real deal from their closely related kin, Ameraucanas, Easter Eggers, and Cream Legbars!

Breed Characteristics

Araucanas are a chicken breed native to Chile and have distinctive tufts of feathers (called peduncles) that protrude near their ears.

 

The tufts are present at birth (so if your Araucana doesn’t have them as chicks, they won’t develop them), and chickens can have no tufts, or just single tuft, or two tufts. Two tufts are considered ideal for the breed.

 

Araucanas are rumpless (meaning they don’t have tail bones like most chicken breeds)) with small pea combs. They’re possibly the only chicken breed native to the Americas, and the name Araucana comes from the Araucania region of Chile.

 

Araucanas are commonly confused with Ameraucanas, a breed developed in the United States in the 1970s, based on the Araucana breed, but they are two distinct breeds. The name Ameraucana is a cross between American and Araucana.

 

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

 

It’s important to remember that if you’re looking to raise purebred Araucanas, to buy chickens that adhere to the traditional characteristics of the breed.

 

They should lay blue eggs, be recognized colors, exhibit the tufts, and be rumpless. You can use these characteristics to be sure the chickens you’re buying are truly the correct breed.

 

There’s definitely characteristics that differentiate Araucanas, Ameraucanas, Easter Eggers, and Cream Legbars! As always, it’s best to seek out a reputable breeder (more information on this at the end of this article.)

araucana laying different colored eggs

Araucana exhibiting tufts

 

Ameraucana who also displays the tufts:

Colors

Both full sized Araucana chickens and bantam breeds are recognized, and recognized color varieties in the United States include black breasted red, silver duckwing, golden duckwing, black, and white.

 

The bantam variety also include buff as a recognized color.

 

Eggs laid per year and color

Araucanas lay blue eggs, and on average they lay 260 eggs annually. The blue laying gene is a genetic anomaly possibly caused by a retrovirus or way back in the evolution of the Araucana breed. (You can tell of an Araucana egg is truly a blue egg by looking at the interior of the shell.)

 

Raising Araucana Chicks

They can be a bit tricky to hatch yourself, and according to the Araucana Club of America “Where most breeds get hatch rates of 90%; Araucana breeders get successful hatches (double tufted & rumpless) of anywhere from 55% to 25%, including the posthatch period.”

 

You can hatch Araucana eggs yourself (just be sure to buy fresh ones and store the hatching eggs correctly before incubating them). Raising chicks isn’t any different than raising other breeds.

 

What its like owning Araucana chickens

Araucanas are a fun chicken breed to own and despite their smaller size, they can lay nice big eggs.

 

Not all Araucanas enjoy a lot of human attention, so it’s important to spend time with them frequently when they’re chicks and spend a lot of time feeding them treats if you want lap chickens.

 

They don’t require special feed, are docile, and the hens don’t get aggressive during brooding.

 

Where you buy Araucanas

You can buy Araucanas at most major hatcheries however you should also seek a reputable breeder to ensure you’re getting true Araucanas and not Ameraucana or Easter Egger chickens.

 

You can buy hatching eggs, baby chicks, and started chickens. For a full list of Araucana breeders, you can visit the Araucana Club of America at http://www.araucana.net/breeders/.

 

For more information about Araucanas in the United States at Araucana Club of America.

 

Image of Araucana: By User:Anne Cushing – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24475773