Can a specific chicken lay different color eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chebird, May 21, 2019.

  1. Chebird

    Chebird Songster

    Apr 16, 2019
    Chino Valley, AZ
    I have a Black Star and a Black Marans that are four years old. The Marans used to lay the beautiful dark chocolate eggs, but I haven't seen any for two years. I was showing my brother the eggs from the Black Star, and he said that those were eggs from two different hens since they were a slightly different color. Could two of these eggs be from the Marans, or is that ridiculous? Of course it's hard to see the difference in the picture. IMG_20190521_101525.jpg
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    While shade can vary from one day to the next, usually being darkest after taking a day off... the color does not change. If the size and shape are practically identical.. that also indicates same layer. But all birds being individuals and not being the one collecting or seeing where they spend their time, meaning away in a lay box or always around... you will probably have to go with YOUR gut feeling.

    Some folks have been known to use lipstick or food coloring on the vent and it's supposed to leave a smear of that color on the egg when it's laid to identify "who".

    Those are not likely from your Marans. in my experience.

    I have a rock who hasn't laid in a year and she also isn't hiding a nest. She did start crowing but isn't showing any signs of internal laying or other issues that I can tell so far.

    How awesome that you have a black star living at 4 years old! :wee
    Chebird and Bettyboop7499 like this.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    A couple of things. Black Star is a marketing name that just means it is a sex link. It could be a hybrid egg-laying commercial type, those are not known for long life, but if they do live they can be pretty productive, even later in life. The other type of black sex link is made from crossing two regular breeds, maybe a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Barred Rock hen but other breeds can be used. These are no different than a regular dual purpose hen. If you know which hatchery she came from you may be able to go online and see which she is.

    The basic egg shell color will not change. That is set genetically. They are either blue or white, if brown is added then green or brown. The genetics that control the shade of brown can get messy. There are a lot of different genes that can be involved, whichever genes the hen has sets the basic shade of brown, all the way from a pink tint to a deep chocolate. That basic shade is set by genetics.

    But what can change is shade of green or brown. The way the process works the brown is typically added after the shell has been formed during the last half hour or so that the egg is still in the shell gland. If the hen lays the egg a little early then all the brown might not all get put on. That can give different shades of brown from one day to the next. The hen only makes so much brown in a day so a delay in laying may make more brown available. If the hen lays a double yolker that brown can get spread kind of thin, a small egg it may be darker than normal.

    Another thing that happens is hat over a hen's egg laying cycle the eggs get lighter. When she starts laying after a molt the eggs are typically as dark as she will lay. Over the weeks and months the eggs can gradually get lighter. As hens age some of this stuff can change too. A lot of this won't apply to your eggs. If both are laying it would be polite of them to both lay in the same day so you would know.

    I haven't tried it myself but I've read you can put some food coloring inside a hen's vent in the morning before she lays and mark he eggs that way. I've also heard about the lipstick but no way am I going to try to explain to my wife why I'm putting lipstick on a hens vent.

    Another way to check if a hen is laying is to look at her vent. If it looks soft and moist she should be laying. You can't tell how often, just if. If the vent is hard and tight she is not laying. The difference is pretty obvious when you see it.

    It's hard for me to look at that photo and tell but if you are consistently getting two different shades of brown it's probably two different hens.
    Chebird and EggSighted4Life like this.
  4. Chebird

    Chebird Songster

    Apr 16, 2019
    Chino Valley, AZ
    Thank you both so much for the valuable info!!!!!
  5. Lizzy733

    Lizzy733 Chirping

    Nov 13, 2018
    New Zealand
    I have 3 production reds and their colors and the amount of speckles can vary greatly, as can size. I've seen beige to chocolate to orange eggs, some days there's brown freckles and then none at all. Hybrids lay so fast that I think their system is just playing catch-up most of the time. They also lay 'every day' without rest.

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