With Easter fast approaching, many of you will be turning your attention to dyeing eggs with your kids. But instead, what about raising a flock of backyard chickens that lay colored eggs for you — no artificial dyes required! Imagine the excitement of peering into your nesting boxes and finding a rainbow of different colored eggs every day. There are more than 60 breeds of chickens recognized by the American Poultry Association and hundreds of other chicken breeds that have been developed worldwide — many of whom lay gorgeous eggs in a rainbow of hues ranging from white to cream, green, pink, blue and even chocolate brown.
While the color of the eggshell doesn’t determine egg nutrient value or taste in the least, if you want to put some color in your egg basket, consider some of the following breeds that lay prettily hued eggs. Increasingly, these fairly rare breeds are becoming more widely available from hatcheries such as Chickens for Backyards and Meyer Hatchery, while others can still only be found from specialty breeders online.
Add some of these delightful breeds to your flock, and in no time, you could be collecting green, blue, cream, pinkish and even chocolate brown eggs nearly year-round, not just at Easter time.
Ever since Martha Stewart shared photos a couple of years ago in her magazine of her egg baskets bursting to the brim with beautiful blue eggs laid by her own flock, azure eggs have been coveted by backyard chicken keepers everywhere also wanting beautiful, sky blue eggs in their baskets. Ameraucanas, Araucanas and Cream Legbars all lay blue eggs.
To add a few green eggs in your basket, consider raising some aptly-named Easter Eggers. (In fact, a flock of this mixed breed of chickens can lay a rainbow of egg colors on their own including bluish, green, pinkish or cream!), Olive Eggers or Favaucanas. Several other breeds lay varying shades of green eggs. Olive Egger chickens (half Marans chickens and half Ameraucana chickens) lay olive green eggs, while a new breed developed by My Pet Chicken, the Favaucana (half Faverolle and half Ameraucana), lays a pale sage green egg. Isbars also lay a range of greenish-colored eggs from mossy to mint green.
A nice change from ordinary brown or tan eggs, cream or pale pink eggs will add some subtle variety to your egg basket. Light Sussex, Mottled Javas, Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Silkies and Faverolles all lay a pinkish-cream egg. As noted above, some Easter Eggers will also lay cream or pink eggs, while others will lay green or bluish eggs.
Dark Brown Eggs
Brown eggs are pretty common, but gorgeous dark chocolate brown eggs lend a pop of rich color to your egg basket. If you are wondering which chickens lay dark brown eggs, here’s your answer: try raising some Welsummers, Barnevelders, Penedesencas or Marans.
If you’re still intent on dyeing some eggs for Easter, then you’ll want to add a few white eggs to the mix as well. Nestling in a basket with all the different colored chicken eggs from the chicken breeds listed above, white eggs also add a gorgeous contrast. Leghorns are the most common breed of white egg layer, but several other Mediterranean breeds of chickens including Andalusians and Anconas also lay white eggs, as do Lakenvelders, Polish and Hamburg hens.
Once you have added some colorful egg layers to your flock, you might have friends and egg customers say they think that brown eggs taste better than white eggs. You might also have others look at your blue and green eggs and ask how they taste — if they taste different than white or brown eggs. So if you’re wondering how to respond to the question: Do different chicken egg colors taste different? The short answer is no. All chicken eggs are the same on the inside. Egg taste is dictated by what a hen eats. While a single food won’t change the taste of an egg, a diet high in grasses, seeds, vegetables, and herbs will result in a better tasting egg overall. And of course, the freshness of the egg matters the most.
Originally published in 2014 and regularly vetted for accuracy.
|EGG COLOR BY BREED||White Eggs||Blue Eggs||Green Eggs||Dark Brown Eggs||Pinkish/Cream Eggs|