Chickens that lay blue eggs

One of the best thing about raising your own chickens for egg is that you can pick and choose your chicken breeds so that you have multicolored eggs. Chicken eggs come in many colors the most common are blue, green, brown and white. Admittedly, most people are only familiar with white and brown eggs, which is probably why owning a blue egg laying chicken is such a novelty for the backyard chicken keeper.

Blue chicken eggs


There are several breeds that lay blue eggs and they are all readily available from hatcheries and private breeders alike. Just like brown eggs come in various shades though, so do blue eggs. While only a few breeds actually lay blue eggs, by cross breeding them with chickens from breeds that lay other eggs colors, you can get a chicken that lays an aqua, olive or even purple hued egg.



What make an egg blue?


All eggs start out as calcium carbonate which is white, so way back at the beginning every single egg is white. Obviously white eggs remain white but the ones that are going to be brown eggs travel down the oviduct as white and the color is applied right before the egg is laid. With blue eggs however, the color (called oocyanin) is applied as the shell is formed and so it can sink through to the inside of the shell. This is why the inside shell of a blue egg is blue but the inside shell of a brown egg is white. It all has to do with the timing of when the color is applied.

This article claims it was actually started with a virus several hundred years ago!

If you want to get more confusing and into the complexity of genetics, olive eggs are formed when a blue egg has the brown coloring applied to it at the end of the process. Of course they're all different shades of olives and greens and eggs and general but that's the basic overview of how the coloring is applied.

As you can see there are really only two colors of eggs white and blue, the other colors are just a coating of 'paint'.

Blue, green, brown and pink chicken eggs.

Do blue eggs taste different?


No. Blue eggs do not taste different. They taste exactly the same as any other farm fresh egg. I have a theory on why people say different colored eggs taste better. I discussed this in my article on Marans eggs, but here's an overview.

Many people believe that brown eggs naturally taste better than white eggs. What's actually happening here is that the white eggs are commercial eggs from the store and the brown eggs are farm fresh eggs. Commercial eggs are fed only feed and rarely have free range time. They have no access to the yummy bugs, grasses and seeds that helped contribute to the taste and nutrition of farm fresh eggs. If you picked up those commercial hens and place them on a backyard farm to live, they would soon produce eggs that taste exactly like the 'better' brown eggs do.

There are several companies trying to capitalize on this belief by stocking their commercial egg farms with brown egg laying hens. Unfortunately because of the factory living conditions, they produce eggs that taste just like commercial white eggs.

Did ya get all that? It's confusing to write out! Lol Moral of the story though, is egg flavor depends on the chickens diet not the shell color. That being said, having blue eggs in your egg basket is fun. Here are the breeds you'll want to raise if you want to collect blue eggs from your coop...

Blue egg laying chickens


Arcauna

A breed with its origins in South America known to be rumpless and tufted with a pea comb. In fact their ear tufts can often stick out from the sides of their face by an inch or more. Known for their difficulty to breed, they often are priced higher at hatcheries or breeders. It is very hard to come by a true Arcauna. Recognized colors include black, black red, silver duckwing, golden duckwing and white.

Ameracauna

Quite similar to the Arcauna except the Amercauna has muffs and a beard instead of the ear tufts, though it also has the pea comb. More hardy and easier to breed along with being less rare than the Arcauna makes this a more popular choice for a blue egg laying chicken. The Ameracauna was actually developed from the Arcauna. Available in: blue, black, blue wheaten, brown, red, wheaten, silver, white and buff.

Easter Egger

The sad truth is if you bought an Arcauna or Ameracauna from a hatchery you probably have an EE! These are not a purebred, but rather a mix of one of the above chickens which carry the blue egg laying gene and basically any other chicken. Often called a 'mutt', they are not a recognized breed to be shown and can come in virtually any color possible. They can lay blue eggs, but can also lay green, olive, brown, pink and even a purple tinged egg. Hence the name 'Easter' egger! Egg color depends on what mix the hen is.


Cream Legbar

This is another fairly rare breed. they are recognized by their small crests and single comb. The chicks are auto sexing (you can tell the males from the females by their markings at hatch) and hatch from a pretty blue egg. Available in gold, silver or cream color.

There are a few other really rare breeding projects that are working on blue eggs, but it's nothing that is available in the states right now.

Blue eggs.

Which breed of blue egg laying hen should I buy?


If you want a blue egg laying hen and buy one of the first 2 breeds I mentioned at the feed store, you will most likely get an Easter egger. They will still lay a colored egg, so there is no need to find a breeder and pay a ton of money for a purebred hen. In fact, it's quite fun to wait for your EE's first egg not knowing what color it will be! Some people buy Easter eggers exclusively since most times they will all lay sightly different colored eggs. It makes for a beautiful egg basket! 

Do you pick your hens for egg color, or is there some other quality you look for? If you want the lowdown on all the different color eggs available (including black!) check out: Which breeds to raise for pretty eggs.

Want to know more about raising chickens? Click here for my most read chicken keeping articles!

~L


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2 comments:

  1. What about the Swedish flower hens? They lay blue eggs too I believe.

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    1. Hi Cath! From what I understand about them they usually lay a cream colored egg but can lay different colors. It would be hit or miss on the egg color, but they are so pretty I'd raise them anyway!

      Have a great weekend!
      Lisa

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