As a chicken owner, there’s likely nothing you would love more than to open the door to your nest boxes and see a beautiful array of eggs, with the assortment representing each color of the rainbow.
While you, unfortunately, aren’t going to find any purple eggs any time soon, there are easy ways to ensure that you have chocolate, pink, blue, and green colored eggs – yes, colors besides the typical tan and white!
It doesn’t have anything to do with what you feed your chickens, either.
The color of the eggs your chickens lay will be determined solely by one thing – genetics.
Here are some ways to figure out which colors will be represented in your nesting boxes, as well as some of the top colorful egg-laying breeds.
Is There a Way to Predict Egg Color?
There is – it’s simply by looking at the breed of chicken in question. There is generally uniform color in the eggs among chickens of the same breed.
Another hack is to look at the color of your chickens’ earlobes – this isn’t always foolproof, as some chickens don’t follow this standard.
However, generally, a chicken with white earlobes is going to produce white eggs and one with red earlobes will produce brown eggs.
The exception to this is hybrid chickens or those from mixed parent stock, as well as Silkies. Silkies have blue earlobes but sadly lay white eggs.
Egg color genetics don’t come from one parent, either. It’s not just up to the rooster or hen. Usually, it’s the genes from both parents that influence shell color.
Within a breed, egg color will, for the most part, be the same. The exception to this is in hybrid breeds or those such as Easter Eggers, where individual hens in a flock can each lay different colored eggs.
It’s important to note that each chicken can only lay one color egg.
This is determined by her genetics, so it’s not something that can be changed by age, diet, or other factors.
That being said, hens who are stressed can lay eggs with odd-looking eggshells or even those that are a bit of a lighter shade.
Types of Chickens that Lay Colored Eggs
Here are a few common chickens breeds that are known to lay colored eggs:
Named after the Araucana region of Chile, where these chickens supposedly evolved, the Araucana chicken lays gorgeous blue eggs.
These chickens are prized for reasons besides their eggs.
They are also quite interesting to look at, with tufts of feathers known as peduncles that lie close and tight to their ears. They don’t have typical tails, either.
Araucanas are often confused with Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers.
Although these chickens look similar, it’s important that you choose only Araucanas, or you’re likely going to be disappointed by the results.
These birds lay up to 200 blue eggs each year.
A unique breed, it can be tough to hatch your own Araucana chicks on your farm. This is because Araucana chickens have lethal genes that kill a large portion of chicks before they hatch.
If you want Araucana chicks, you may be better off ordering them from a hatchery.
Although the name sounds similar to Araucana, it’s important that you don’t get the two confused!
Although the breeds are similar, the Ameraucana is actually a descendant of the Araucana, bred as a combination between the Araucana and another breed to eliminate the lethal gene that kills unhatched chicks.
Like the Araucana, the Ameraucana lays blue eggs and has a unique appearance with tufts of feathers, close muffs, and even a beard.
This fluffy chicken has a pea comb and produces roughly 200 blue or even green eggs each year.
3. Cream Legbar
A modern 20th-century chicken breed, the Cream Legbar was developed in the late 1900s as a cross between Leghorns, Cambars, Barred Plymouth Rocks, and Araucanas.
Another type of chicken whose genetics do not contain the lethal Araucana chick gene, this breed has cream-colored plumage and lays blue or blue-green eggs.
You can expect to receive up to 200 colorful eggs each year with this delightful breed.
4. Easter Eggers
If you’re looking for colorful chicken eggs, you’re probably familiar with the Easter Egger.
This breed is one of the most popular among people seeking colorful chicken eggs.
With the ability to produce up to 250 eggs each year, this chicken breed lays eggs that are a variety of colors – although most lay blue eggs, some lay eggs of other colors.
Each individual chicken will only lay one color, but you could have a flock of Easter Eggers in which each and every bird produces a different colored egg.
Therefore, if you want a monochromatic egg basket, you may be better off going with one of these other breeds.
This is because the Easter Egger is a hybrid and the genetics aren’t always necessarily standardized – an Easter Egger is not a formally recognized breed on its own and can be the result of a cross between any blue egg layer and a brown egg layer.
Easter Eggers can also lay green and pink eggs, too. Results may vary!
5. Light Sussex
The Light Sussex is a gorgeous breed of chicken that is often considered the quintessential backyard breed.
These birds are fun to have around and are also quite a docile bird they are alert and are also known for their excellent foraging abilities.
Light Sussex chickens can produce up to 250 gorgeous pink eggs each year.
Maran eggs are regarded by chefs as some of the best in the world. A traditionally dual-purpose breed, this chicken is mostly raised for its eggs.
Not only do they produce a decent amount of eggs, but Marans also produce eggs that are a gorgeous chocolate brown in color.
Marans are unique among other colorful egg producers, however, because the specific shade will vary depending on the individual bird.
A younger hen will lay darker eggs than an older hen.
The Welsummer has a reputation as being one of the most docile and most intelligent chicken breed surround.
These chickens lay chocolate-brown eggs and are native to Holland.
As a heritage breed, they’re also great foragers and will lay up to 200 eggs each year.
What’s really lovely about the coloration of a Welsummer’s egg is that it’s not only a deep chocolate brown in color, but it can also have speckles. This gives the eggs a lovely mottled look that you will truly enjoy.
Native to the Barneveld area of Holland, this chicken is a classic breed for you to consider.
It was developed 200 years ago as a cross between imported Asian breed with Brahmas and Cochins.
A gorgeous bird, the Barnevleder has double-laced feathering that can be either blue and green-tinged, black and white, or buff-and-white.
Added to the American Standard of Perfection in 1991, this chicken does have some auto-sexing varieties, with auto-sexing variants including Silver, Blue, Partridge, Dark Brown, Barred, and Chamois types.
Best yet, Barneveleders are prized for their beautiful eggs. They lay eggs that are a rich chocolate brown.
A lovely warm weather breed, the Penedesenca chicken breed was developed in the Spanish region of Catalonia in the early 20th century.
A small chicken with a large comb, the Penedesenca lays chocolate brown eggs.
Penedesencas are known for being very alert, skittish chickens. They aren’t the best chickens to have as pets, but are still fun to have around nonetheless.
Dorking chickens are unique birds that may have funny names, but lay some of the most beautiful cream-colored eggs.
These chickens are one of the oldest chicken breeds, with their roots dating all the way back to the Roman Empire.
As sweet, fun-loving birds, they are also quite lovely to look at. These chickens have short, squat legs with five toes.
11. Olive Eggers
Another hybrid egg producer is the Olive Egger. This chicken will lay up to 200 eggs each year, although the amount will vary, since the breed is a hybrid.
That being said, Olive Eggers usually lay dark green eggs.
Since they are a combination of blue and dark brown egg layers, the color of your Olive Eggers’ eggs can vary from dark green to brownish-green.
Usually, Olive Eggers are produced as a cross between Ameraucanas and Marans.
12. Barred Rock
The Barred Rock chicken is a common backyard breed, utilized both as a laying chicken as well as a meat bird.
Lying about 280 eggs each year, this chicken is known for its ability to produce light pink eggs.
Also referred to as the Aseel, this ancient bird is very difficult to raise but produces cream-colored eggs.
Developed in Pakistan and India for cockfighting, it made its way to the Americas in the 1800s.
Despite its beauty, the Asil is difficult to raise because it is overly aggressive. In
Addition, although the eggs you get will be a lovely pink or cream shade, you won’t get very many of them -Asil chickens usually only produce about 40 eggs per year.
If you’re looking for milky, cream-colored eggs, consider the Yokohama.
This chicken breed can be difficult to find, but it’s known for its dramatic tail feathers and cream-tinted eggs. It was developed in Germany in the 19th century, bred from Japanese birds.
15. Arkansas Blue
Here’s another unique breed designed to lay blue eggs. Unfortunately, the Arkansas Blue is so new that it’s not yet available for sale.
However, watch out for it when it hits the market – this unique chicken has a pea comb and lays beautifully colored eggs.
Pronounced “ice bar,” the Isobar is a Swedish chicken breed that came onto the scene in the mid-1900s.
Developed by Martin Silverudd, this chicken breed is an autosexing one – meaning you can tell the difference between roosters and hens upon hatched.
The Isbar lays up to 200 green eggs each year. It’s a rare breed that’s pretty difficult to find, but trust us – it’s worth it.
17. Ice Cream Bars
One of the newest chicken breeds on this list that lays colorful eggs, the Ice Cream Bar is a cross between the Isobar and the Cream Legbar.
It lays eggs that range from light bluish-green to a deep teal in color. Like the Isbar and Cream Legbar, it is somewhat difficult to find.
The final breed on our list is yet another hybrid chicken breed/ produced as the result of Favorelle and Ameraucana parentage, this breed lays eggs that are sage green in color.
These chickens are prized for their friendly, personable demeanors.
How Are Chicken Egg Colors Produced?
Chickens aren’t born with the ability to lay eggs – if you raise laying hens, you probably already know this.
It takes some time for a chicken to become mature enough to produce eggs. However, did you know that it takes up to 26 hours to form an egg inside a chicken’s body?
That’s why most breeds of chickens lay eggs just a few times a week instead of every day.
To form an eggshell takes a total of 20 hours, while pigmentation of an eggshell takes roughly five additional hours.
All eggs actually start out as white eggs. The internal dyeing process is what causes eggs to change colors.
However, some chicken breeds have pigments that cause their eggs to turn blue, brown, green, or a variety of shades in between. Most eggs only are colored on the outer shell.
In the case of blue chicken eggs, this coloration is the result of the oocyan gene. This gene is a mutation caused by a retrovirus.
Why Are My Eggs Purple?
Sadly, there is no chicken breed that lays truly purple eggs. If your eggs look purple, it’s the bloom to blame.
The bloom is a protective layer on the outside of the gg that helps prevent bacteria from entering the shell. It also helps the eggs stay fresh.
If you have brown egg layers in particular, you may notice a purplish tinge on the egg after it has been laid.
This is usually something that can be washed off – however if you plan on incubating or hatching the eggs, don’t do this! You need the bloom to help the chick stay healthy.
Can Eggs Change Color Over Time?
Eggs will generally remain the same color over time. That being said, you may notice a slight decrease in pigmentation in the eggshell.
So while it might be a lighter shade of green or blue than it used to be, it will still be green or blue.
Changes in egg color are usually related to poor diet, age, or stress. If your hen has been exposed to threats by predators or even hot weather, she may have a lighter-than-normal eggshell.
There’s not always a lot you can do to prevent stress, but you can certainly reduce it by ensuring that your hen has plenty nutritious feed and fresh water, along with a safe shelter.
What Do Colored Chicken Eggs Taste Like?
Let’s answer this question with another question – what do regularly colored eggs (those that are white or tan) taste like?
Eggs with unusual colors don’t taste any different than those that are normally colored.
The egg’s test depends on the health of men – particularly on her diet – and not on the eggshell color.
So, unfortunately, a chocolate-brown egg is not going to taste like chocolate.
Improving Egg Quality
As we’ve mentioned, there’s really no way to influence colorful egg production besides smart breed selection.
However, you can improve the intensity of the expressed colors – as well as your overall egg production – by paying attention to the standard of care that you are providing for your birds.
Nutritional requirements for your chickens will vary depending on their age and whether they’re lying, molting, broody, or in another delicate stage of their lives.
For most layers, protein content of about 20% is necessary, with an average portion of ¼ lb of feed per bird each day.
This varies depending on the time of year, though. During very cold weather, your chickens may need slightly more food, while free-ranging birds will need a bit less.
You also need to supply your hens with additional calcium – since eggshells are primarily calcium carbonate, hens need extra quantities of this nutrient in order to produce strong, vibrantly-colored shells.
You should also ensure that your hens have access to plenty of clean, fresh water, and that they aren’t subjected to stressful conditions.
A hen who feels stressed may lay eggs with weak shells or that are malformed or discolored.
Are Colored Chicken Eggs Worth It?
If you’re interested in producing a colorful egg basket with the help of your backyard flock, you’re not alone.
Plenty of people are interested in exploring this phenomenon!
However, it’s important that you decide whether it’s worth it.
Most of the best egg-laying chicken breeds are not those that also lay colored eggs – in fact, the top layer breeds, such as the White Leghorn, lay plain old white eggs.
If you’re not willing to sacrifice quantity for aesthetics, don’t select one of these breeds.
In addition, it’s important to remember that, at the end of the day, a green egg tastes just like a white egg.
There’s really no added nutritional benefit to eating colorful eggs.
But if a rainbow of colors in your egg basket is what you’re after, then these chicken breeds can definitely help to make your dreams come true!