Cross-Breed: Olive Egger chicken
Origin: Olive Egger chickens are not a breed, per se, but a cross of two breeds — usually a blue egg layer and a dark brown egg layer. For example, when an Ameraucana hen’s egg is fertilized by a Marans rooster, the resulting chick will be an Olive Egger who will lay olive green eggs. The chick will hatch out of a blue egg, but it will inherit the traits of both parents. From the mating example above, Olive Egger chickens often take on the coloring of a Marans (black with feathered feet) and Ameraucana features (like puffy cheeks).
Egg Color: Olive green
Egg Size: Large
Laying Habits: 150-200 eggs would make a good year
Testimonial from an Olive Egger chicken owner: “I had really wanted to add some olive green eggs to my egg basket for a long time, and was concentrating more on the egg color than on the chicken breed itself, but now having raised Olive Egger chickens for several years, I can tell you that they are some of my favorite hens. Mine are a cross between a Black Ameraucana and a Black Copper Marans, so they’re solid black with the trademark Ameraucana cheek puffs, and one has the feathered feet of a Marans too! Unlike Marans who I find a bit standoffish, and Amerauanas which can be skittish, their offspring, the Olive Egger chicken, is a chatty, friendly hen who I think has retained some of the best qualities of each of their parents. My Olive Eggers are more consistent layers than my Ameraucanas, which is nice. They are extremely cold-hardy, but don’t seem overly bothered by heat either. They are on the smallish side, definitely more Amerauana-sized than Marans-sized, but their eggs are good-sized. They are fairly talkative chickens, but they tend to chatter quietly and rarely cluck loudly. They have been a wonderful addition to my backyard flock.” – Lisa Steele, from FreshEggsDaily.com
Popular Use: Eggs and meat
Varieties: None recognized, as this is not a standard breed
Skin Color: Varies
Weight: Usually large, but varies based on breeding
It really isn’t an Olive Egger chicken if it is: Not a cross. Favaucanas, Ameraucanas, and Aruacanas have been known to lay greenish eggs from time to time, but are not considered Olive Egger chickens.
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Originally published in 2016 as the May Breed of the Month and regularly vetted for accuracy.