Dark Egg layers laying white eggs!


12 Years
Jun 18, 2007
Northern Utah - little siberia
Well, the straw has broke the camel's back. That batch of dark egg layers that I have been bellyaching about for months have finally started to lay. So far I've gathered a light creamy tan and a white egg. If I don't see some dark brown coloring soon I'm going to scream!

For those who haven't heard my complaints, it all started last fall...

I knew that I wanted to add some dark egg layers to my menagerie - just for fun. I normally order chicks from McMurray but they only offer them as a straight run. So I started searching for a hatchery that offered what I wanted. I was excited to see that Ideal offered an assortment of dark egg laying pullets so I began 'talking myself' into the order.

I finally made up my mind about the time the hatcheries stop shipping. No problem, I'd put them on my 'wish list' and have them shipped to me first thing in the Spring. Much to my surprise, Ideal contacted me the next day via email. They said that they happened to have a batch of Dark Egg layers available and would I like some. I knew that the weather was iffy and I'd never over wintered chicks. I decided to go ahead and ordered the chicks, expecting them to be sent out the next day - after all, they said that they had some ready to go....

I was surprised to find out that they would arrive in 3 weeks - almost November 1st! We normally have snow here by Halloween. I called about my concerns but they assured me that it would be ok.

The chicks arrived fine - one died the next day. The 8 marans had the worst case of pasty butt I'd ever had with baby chicks and all three breeds looked puny and never looked like healthy, fluffy chicks. They grew slowly, always viewed me as a huge predator (never became friendly) and now two of the "pullets" are roosters and two of the marans have yellow legs. The worst is that the Welsummers have the ugliest look to them I've ever seen in chickens - bug eyes. They look like too much inbreeding has gone on.

Needless to say, I'd been debating about ordering from Ideal again but NOW - they finally start laying eggs and the darkest one is almost white! Right now, I've lost the remaining trust I had in Ideal. I know that others love them but I feel like I was really taken.

The worst is that I've sold 8 of these chickens to a friend who also wanted to have some dark eggs. We both know that hatchery chickens don't lay the darkest but I never expected white and I'll feel real bad if his lay white eggs too! I hope his have some color to them.

I'll let you know if they start showing color. Keep your fingers crossed.
Not to be pessimistic, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for them to get darker. My Marans lay the darkest they're gonna lay at the beginning of their laying cycle. I'd contact Ideal and tell them what color their "dark" layers are laying.
I'm hoping that some of the others will be darker. It is just so frustrating to have babied them all winter, worried about them when the heat lamp shattered and worked hard at keeping them warm. It doesn't help that they turned out to be the least friendly chickens I've ever had - they are so strange. They all remind me of Monty Python's "Upper Class Twits".
Sorry about your chickens. I've always wanted a couple of white eggs, except I didn't want to deal with all of those crazy white egg layers like flighty leghorns. Maybe they are unfriendly because they are laying white eggs? I know that shouldn't be true. . .

I had several chicken friends that ordered thru various hatcheries of their Marans, and Welsummers and they were very disappointed in their egg laying, the Marans didnt lay dark eggs, more like light brown eggs and the Welsummers sometimes laid white eggs, tan and light brown eggs, no terra cotta eggs. I had those friends bring their samples to compare with my real Welsummers (Thanks Christie Mothergoose!) and it was a BIG difference!

Now they have to start all over again and get Marans and Welsummers from reputable breeders!
There is always a HUGE difference in quality between most hatchery birds and those that come from private breeders. Real breeders select and cull which is something hatcheries can't afford to do and supply chicks at the prices they do.
Actually, I was planning on playing around with them. That is why I bought them from a hatchery to begin with - to have the challenge of starting with hatchery dark egg layers and seeing what results I could get by breeding. I wasn't too broken up about two turning out to be roos but I was a bit upset that the 'marans' roo has yellow legs. The other thing about him is that he is HUGE. He is almost twice the size of his sisters. He is so big that he has a hard time getting around so we're keeping an eye on him. The Welsummer roo is afraid of his shadow - and ugly! But still, it will be fun to see what comes of it all.

All in all, the fact that I ended up with some live chickens is fine with me. What bothers me the most about the purchase was that I think Ideal didn't care that the chickens might not make the 'iffy' weather this time of year (when I called to express my concerns they talked hard to convince me to order) and that they could care less about their stock. None of these chickens are anything to brag about - the yellow leg 'marans' makes me wonder if they just threw in some barred rocks figuring no one would know the difference. Considering the cold I expected some 'packing peanuts for extra warmth but was surprised that they sent exactly 25. I've never gotten the exact number from MM. I've always received a few more - and not roos.

The one thing I can praise them about over MM is that they took the time to note on the invoice how many of each chicken they sent which made it easier for me to figure out who was who. I'm still trying to figure out what some of my Aug MM order is.

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