Chicken breeds to raise for pretty eggs

When I got my first chickens 10 years ago, I hung out on chicken forums an awful lot. It seemed like everyone in there was obsessed with having a 'pretty egg basket'. Chicken breeds were selected carefully by what color egg they would produce. Blue egg layers and chocolate brown egg layers were the crowd favorites, though green egg layers were favored over the standard brown.

I didn't pick my chicken breeds that way.

Colorful chicken eggs come from these breeds of hen.

I bought whatever they had at the feed store to round out the Marans my husband wanted and the silkies I wanted. I ended up with easter eggers and buff orpingtons because that's all that was left when I got there. I acquired olive eggers when a Marans breeder sent me extra eggs just to fill the carton. Accidentally, this made for a beautiful range of farm fresh egg colors!


Since then, I have bought chickens based on what color egg they lay. What can I say? I was hooked and now I just love my pretty colored eggs! Here are the colored egg layer breeds you'll want if  your looking for a specific color of pretty eggs, or just a really pretty multi colored basket of eggs!

Chicken breeds that lay pretty eggs


Blue, green, pink & more: Most of the blue egg layers sold in feed stores are easter eggers. They are sort of the 'designer dog' of the chicken world, which is just to say they are mutts with a specific breeding. Easter eggers are cold hardy and are known for their pretty egg colors and friendly nature. They're often labeled as Ameraucanas or Araucanas but they are rarely pure breed and could lay any color of egg from blue, pinkish, green or even a light purple color. I've owned several easter eggers over the years and they are some of the sweetest chicken pets ever!

blue and green farm eggs

Blue eggs: The Ameraucana and Arcauna both are blue egg laying chickens and unlike the easter eggers mentioned above, these two have a breed standard, APA approved colors and guaranteed egg color. If you're interested in showing your chickens, you'll need to buy them through a breeder as true Ameraucanas and Arcaunas are harder to find. They're not cheap though, so if you're not showing or breeding....you'll do fine to get the ones from the feed store. 

Not sure which one you have? Check out: Differences between Ameraucana, Aracana and easter egger chickens.

brown, blue and green farm fresh chicken eggs

Olive colored eggs: My hen Sally is an olive egger. Her egg was sent to me by the first Marans breeder I bought eggs from. The egg was blue and he told me his marans roosters were in with those hens also. This is the perfect breeding for an olive egg laying hen where a blue egg laying hen is covered by a rooster that came from a dark brown egg. She is a typical olive egger with her coloring coming from her father, but her beard and muffs coming from her mother. An olive egger's eggs can be various colors of olive green usually leaning towards the dark end of the spectrum.  

Cream colored eggs: Not quite brown but not quite white, the cream colored egg makes a lovely addition to any egg basket. Many chickens lay a pretty cream colored egg including: the Cochin, Lakenvelder, Faverolle and Dorking. My buff orpington laid the cream colored egg on the left in the picture below. 

Want to add tiny cream colored eggs to your collection? Several bantam sized chickens also lay cream colored eggs including d'Uccles and bantam cochins.

Fresh chicken eggs in several colors

Chocolate brown eggs: Marans lay the darkest brown eggs of all chickens. Some Marans hens lay speckled eggs. I started breeding Marans after my husband picked a photo out of google search for black roosters. I figured out what breed it was and had some eggs shipped to me. Since then I have been on a quest to breed the perfect chocolate brown egg laying hen. 

Of all the varieties of Marans, the black copper generally lays the darkest eggs. I have seen some beautifully dark brown cuckoo Marans eggs also though. If you're interested in adding these chocolate eggs to your flock, you'll want to read: Marans eggs facts and myths first. 

chocolate brown Marans eggs

Terracotta colored eggs: When talking about dark brown eggs we can't leave out the Welsummer. Welsummer hens lay a dark brown egg, but it has a tinge of orange to it....so many appear to be a terracotta color. These large eggs are often speckled with darker brown spots. Very pretty! 

If rarer breeds are your thing, the Penedesenca also lays a dark brown egg with a slight terracotta or rust colored tinge to it. 

black duck eggs & blue chicken eggs

This picture brings me to our honorable mentions. While these next two eggs are not laid by chickens, they are certainly a great addition to our pretty egg list!

Black eggs: The Cayuga duck starts the breeding season each year by laying black eggs. The eggs lighten up as the season goes on passing through various shades of gray and blue, eventually ending the year laying completely white eggs. Now that's unique!

speckled quail eggs

Tiny speckled eggs: Coturnix Quail lay the most adorable little speckled eggs you will ever see! Even though they are much smaller than an average chicken egg, they make a perfect addition to your egg basket and quail are really easy to raise. 

Think you might want to add quail to your homestead? Check out How to raise Coturnix quail

Now, I know it's all in my head...but for some reason collecting multicolored eggs from the nest box is just so much more fun! Do you raise chickens that lay colorful eggs?

~L

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