EE Egg Colors

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by manaze88, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. manaze88

    manaze88 Chillin' With My Peeps

    98
    6
    79
    Apr 20, 2012
    Berryville, Virginia
    3 of my 5 girls are laying eggs, and all 3 lay the same color (greenish). When I originally decided on getting the EE's, part of my decision was based on what I thought would be a random coloring of the eggs: green, blue, pink

    Now, after making it this far, and learning a little bit more about them, it seems that the coloring is not so random, afterall. I'm pretty sure that the remaining 2 will lay the same color, since they all came from the same place. While they are all clearly different, and one even seems to be cross-bred with something completely different from the rest, I get the impression that maybe the green egg is the common color. Would this be an accurate assumption, or is that just what I'm getting because mine happen to be laying green?

    If I wanted to mix it up, and ensure I was able to get a blue egg in the mix, how would I go about getting a blue egg laying hen? My wife would love a pink egg, as well, being that is her favorite color. Then the egg basket would have a nice range of colors.

    [​IMG]


    I'm not sure we're really ready to add to our flock. 5 birds is more than enough for now, but should the opportunity present itself, I can always give eggs away.

    I purchased my 6 chicks locally at the Southern States, so I have no idea where they really came from. 1 was a rooster, and was rehomed due to local city ordinances (no roosters).

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,750
    4,320
    526
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Unless you know the genetics of the parents, you don’t know what color an EE will lay. What you have may just be luck or every hen in that flock may produce a hen that lays a green egg.

    EE’s are generally mixes of different breeds, at least somewhere back in their ancestry. Each parent contributes what genes they have. With egg color, there are two different things that determine egg color. Remember that these genes come in pairs, so if I mention one gene, that is one of a pair.

    The basic egg color is either blue or white. There is one gene pair that determines that. Since blue is dominant, if just one of the genes in that pair is blue the basic color will be blue. You can see the base color by looking on the inside of the egg shell after removing that membrane. Your green eggs will show blue underneath.

    There are a bunch of different genes that control brown. I’ve read as many as 13. That’s why you can get such a range of brown or green shades. Brown is just brown on top of white. Green is brown on top of blue. This might help you figure it out.

    Base blue + no brown = blue
    Base blue + brown = green
    Base white + no brown = white
    Base white + brown = brown

    That’s all the simple part. This is where it starts to get complicated. Since blue is dominant over white, you don’t know if the hen laying the egg has one blue gene or two. If she has two, she is called pure for that gene. If she has one blue and one white, it’s called split. Since a rooster does not lay an egg, you can’t be sure if he has any blue genes at all, is split, or is pure for blue.

    If either the hen or rooster is pure for blue, any pullet from that cross will lay blue or green eggs. Remember blue is dominant. Where it gets complicated with EE’s is that you don’t know what they have. If both parents are split, then about ¼ if the pullets will not lay blue or green and about ¾ will. Whether those are brown, white, blue, green, chocolate brown, olive, pink, mint, or some other shade depends on what brown genes are or are not present.

    If one of the parents is split for the blue egg gene and the other has no blue egg genes, only white, about half the pullets should lay blue or green. These are just odds for each egg. I’ve had seven pullets out of seven chicks when the odds were 50-50. It’s quite possible for one parent to be split and the other to have no blue gene and you still get 5 green egg laying pullets.

    I don’t know the genetics of the flock that laid the eggs your EE’s were hatched from. There are so many “if’s” involved you can get anything with the other two.

    If either parent of those chicks comes from a brown egg laying breed, every egg will probably be either brown or green. There are so many different genes involved with brown that it is highly likely some brown genes will be passed down. But again that depends on which genes are there to start with.

    How do you get a blue egg laying chicken? Get a pure Ameraucana or Araucana from a breeder that breeds for pure blue eggs. Hatcheries often call their chickens Ameraucana or Araucana but they are not. They are mixes and you might get some shade of brown or green, including possibly pink, or you might get white or blue, all depending on what they’ve mixed in.

    I know this is very long, but the short answer to your question is that you don’t know what you are going to get with EE’s. It is purely the luck of the draw unless you know the genetic background of the parents.
     
    2 people like this.
  3. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    866
    90
    158
    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
    No, you're right. The coloring isn't really all that random at all. Not for me.

    I don't get why anyone ever says that you can get green, blue, and pink eggs. I have only ever gotten green eggs from the chickens that were supposed to lay a variety of colors. Never a brown one. Never a pink one. And certainly never a blue one.

    Photos of blue eggs look green to me. Even the specialized chart used for defining the egg color of show quality Ameraucanas and Araucanas all look green to me. It could just be my eyes, though, because I know some breeders are very insistent that their green eggs are blue. I'm not sure if it's because genetically it's called "blue" or if they are actually seeing the color blue. I know that I am seeing the color green.

    As for the pink, I've had some regular brown layers lay a pinkish egg, but it seems to be just a whitish coating over a brown egg. And it depends on the lighting because when I collect them (over the years) they look slightly pink, but then when I get the eggs in the house, they look brown after all. So I feel for your wife.

    If I were desperate for a blue egg, I would venture into Cream Legbars. Folks in Britain claim that their eggs really look blue and Cream Legbars were imported in the last couple of years. I think some folks are selling eggs on eBay already meaning that they are becoming more prevalent and easier to find. So just keep an eye on your local CraigsList over the next few years and maybe one or two chicks/hens will show up locally that you could buy. No, I'm not guaranteeing a blue egg, but that would be a gamble I would take. Besides, they're so cute with their little crests. Link to the thread here at BYC: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/459044/the-legbar-thread

    One other fun color is the dark egg that Black Copper Marans lay. Some call it chocolate, but it seems to have more of a reddish tinge to my eyes. The Black Copper Marans hens seem pretty mellow (all of mine have been), so they are good in town. There are a couple of other breeds that also lay dark eggs, but the Black Copper Marans or the Wheaten Marans are fairly consistent on laying the dark eggs. (My Black Copper Marans have been completely consistent in their laying of dark eggs.) (Sorry for mentioning this if you don't want dark eggs. I was just thinking that maybe you want some variety in egg color.)
     
  4. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

    2,005
    51
    173
    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    I have three cream legbars - and one lays a really clear blue egg, but the other two are more of a green-blue. So even a cream legbar doesn't guarantee a clear blue egg. Same thing with Araucanas. They are supposed to be blue-egg layers - but many of their eggs have a greenish tinge to them. I plan to incubate only the bright blue eggs from my Legbars in hopes of producing more blue egg layers.

    My experience with EEs is that the eggs are usually some shade of green. I have one that lays a pale brown (cream-colored) egg. The rest lay varying shades of blue/green.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,750
    4,320
    526
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas

    Try reading to understand my genetic explanation of egg shell colors in my previous post..

    One, it is simple genetics.

    Two, many if us have seen it happen with eggs we have hatched from chickens we've bred. So it is pretty easy to say you can get green, blue, and pink eggs. You can get white or brown eggs too.

    Once the brown is introduced, it is real hard to ever get pure white or blue again. There are just too many genes that contribute to brown. It takes many generations of mating the chickens to white or blue egg layers and very carefully selecting wich eggs you hatch to get rid of that brown.
     
  6. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    866
    90
    158
    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
     
  7. manaze88

    manaze88 Chillin' With My Peeps

    98
    6
    79
    Apr 20, 2012
    Berryville, Virginia
    Thanks for all the info, it's certainly a lot to digest. My first mistake was being impatient and picking the chicks up at a commercial joint, rather than looking around for a breeder. With a little more information, I'm sure it would be easy enough (given the patience) to find a breeder that might be able to provide me with a chick that could likely lay a blue egg, or even come across a laying hen that is already producing blue eggs.

    As for pink, it sounds like that is even more rare. If I can get a blue laying hen, then brown and white would be easy enough to add color to the collection!
     
  8. Sally8

    Sally8 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,788
    79
    188
    Dec 11, 2011
    Hornby,NY
    Forgive me for jumping in here. I also have chickens solely for obtaining a pretty basket of eggs. (Who knew I would love incubating and raising chickens) I bought eggs from several different sources, a few being brown but was told that they still could produce a blue egg bearing hen. I'm not all that smart where genetics are concerned but that didn't seem just right. I incubated them anyway. Now that I have been pouring through all the info on this forum, I was right. Of course, I didn't keep track of which chicks came from the brown eggs. Now they are all 5 - 6 mo old and just starting to lay. And I have the very upsetting task of separating out the brown from the green. Thanks for making this clearer for me. Sue
     
  9. duckie mama

    duckie mama Out Of The Brooder

    98
    3
    31
    Nov 25, 2009
    kilgore
    the only true blue egg is the ARACAUNA it is rumpless and tufted, but the tufted rumpless is a fatel gene, must mate rumpless to tufted and will alwaysproduce a true blue egg, they are not a good layer. will average 3 eggs per week. that is why the eggs are so expensive if bought from breeder to incubate. have tried this and will staY with the green egg layers. they are mutts, but they are too CUTE!! with their beards and muffs
     
  10. manaze88

    manaze88 Chillin' With My Peeps

    98
    6
    79
    Apr 20, 2012
    Berryville, Virginia
    Shortly after posting this, #4 of 5 (Dotty) started laying. It was a pink egg. Needless to say, my wife was excited. On top of that, upon closer inspection, some of the green eggs I'm picking up actually have a bit of a blue tinge to them. Enough to set them apart from the others, and add some extra color to the mix.

    The pictures I've taken don't really come out that well, but that's because I was using my iphone instead of my camera. In the next few days, I plan to get some better pictures that will show the current colors I'm getting from my 4 girls.

    As for #5....she's still holding out on me, but I'm okay with whatever color it is!

    If I add to my flock, though (and eventually I will), I will look for different colored eggs. Some white and brown will add to the variations, and those will be easy enough to find. I will probably eventually look into the Aracauna, though, just to get that coveted blue egg (my favorite color, you know).
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by