Eggshell color change?

FloridaChick13

In the Brooder
Jul 8, 2015
75
2
46
Naples, FL
My black australorp, Frida, has laid some awesome Brown speckled eggs since she began laying in mid October. Today she laid an almost white egg. Anyone else ever seen this? Her egg yesterday was a little lighter brown but today was just weird. What could cause this?
400
 

Blackberry18

Songster
Mar 25, 2015
1,803
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Minnesota
That's not unusual for chickens; their egg shade can lighten or darken. Brown eggshells start out white, then are coated with pigment before they are laid. Your hen probably didn't have a lot of pigment in store, which caused the egg to be lighter.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Grateful
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
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Are you sure the dark brown ones are hers, they seem awfully dark for an Australorp, the lighter colored one looks more correct. Egg color will lighten up and change occasionally, that's a bit too much suddenly.
 

FloridaChick13

In the Brooder
Jul 8, 2015
75
2
46
Naples, FL
I only have one hen laying at the moment and she's the only one using that nesting box. The other two are in their own pens. Those are for sure her eggs. I thought they were dark for an australorp too but thats what she is. LOL
 

Blackberry18

Songster
Mar 25, 2015
1,803
130
196
Minnesota
What causes her to not have pigment?
Could be a lot of things, but usually a change in diet is the primary one. Pigment is supplied by nutrition, so if she lacked a certain nutrient then her eggshell can be lighter. I can't remember off teh top of my head what colors eggshells, but another example would be the yellow color of the yolk, caused by the pigment xanthophylls, which also comes from the hen's diet. If you look at a good layer's legs and feet (ones with yellow, of course), you'll notice that they are whitish yellow, or bleached, rather than golden-yellow (characteristic to poor layers). The lack of pigment in the legs of a good layer is due to the fact that the hen contributed most of her pigment to the egg.
 

FloridaChick13

In the Brooder
Jul 8, 2015
75
2
46
Naples, FL
Could be a lot of things, but usually a change in diet is the primary one. Pigment is supplied by nutrition, so if she lacked a certain nutrient then her eggshell can be lighter. I can't remember off teh top of my head what colors eggshells, but another example would be the yellow color of the yolk, caused by the pigment xanthophylls, which also comes from the hen's diet. If you look at a good layer's legs and feet (ones with yellow, of course), you'll notice that they are whitish yellow, or bleached, rather than golden-yellow (characteristic to poor layers). The lack of pigment in the legs of a good layer is due to the fact that the hen contributed most of her pigment to the egg. 


I've noticed that after laying her comb is a a lighter pink than before she laid. Her diet has changed as I've let her free range a lot more while I was home to supervise during the holidays. Otherwise she eats normal layer feed.
 

Blackberry18

Songster
Mar 25, 2015
1,803
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196
Minnesota

Here's a sheet from the 4h avian bowl manual that I was just reading today!
Oh my gosh I love that book! I have a copy for Poultry Bowl. If you look at the sex-link breeding in Raising Your Home Flock Chicken, it's incorrect, so I send an email to the organization, and they said they'd change it in the next edition. That's actually where I get a lot of my information, including xanthophylls.
 
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Blackberry18

Songster
Mar 25, 2015
1,803
130
196
Minnesota
I've noticed that after laying her comb is a a lighter pink than before she laid. Her diet has changed as I've let her free range a lot more while I was home to supervise during the holidays. Otherwise she eats normal layer feed.
Hmm...that does seem odd, usually that would result in MORE pigment. But, I suppose she gets the pigment from her feed, but she eats less of that due to the free-ranging.
 

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