How do Green Egg Genes Work?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by drom, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. drom

    drom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 12, 2008
    I haven't posted a new topic for a while. I have been loitering and lurking on the Marans thread for months [​IMG]

    But I have an Easter Egger who is an exceptional egg layer. She lays a really green, pretty egg and lays one almost every day. I was thinking the other day that if I ever lost her, I might not be able to find another one that was such a good layer, so I was thinking I would like to find a well behaved rooster for her. But I don't know anything about green egg genes.

    Can anyone offer some advice?

    Do the roosters pass on the genes for the brightness of color?
    Do you need to breed closely related birds to get the same egg color?

    Those are Marans egg rules. I don't know how green egg genes are passed on.

    Here's some of her eggs. They always seem to look a bit bluer in pics than they are. They are actually a very minty green color. [​IMG]

    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010
  2. BeardedLadyFarm

    BeardedLadyFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Cobleskill NY
    There's quite a lot of info on here if you search around.

    Unlike Marans egg color (where dozens of brown egg genes are involved), there is just one pair of genes controlling blue egg color. I will call it blue egg color, since it is the presence of some brown egg genes that result in green eggs.

    It is a dominant gene, so having even 1 copy of the gene results in blue eggs. 2 copies, also result in blue eggs, and 0 copies results in not blue eggs (white or brown).

    There is some debate if the homozygous birds (2 copies) have bluer or brighter eggs, or if there are some other factors that make the color more intense.

    Since she is laying green eggs, she has at least 1 copy of the gene, so regardless of what you breed her to, at least half of her offspring will also get at least one copy of the blue egg gene. She MAY have 2 copies, in which case all of her offspring would get at least 1 blue egg gene, and then lay blue/green eggs.

    Since EE's are all sort of mixed up anyway, you could breed her several ways. Breeding her to an EE roo would give you mostly green egg layers. You may get 25% not green egg layers, if both parents are heterozygous for the blue egg gene.

    You could also cross her to another highly productive breed, say a RIR, which would give you at least half green egg layers, as well as some brown egg layers.

    Crossing her to a pure Ameraucana roo would almost guarantee that all of the offspring will lay green or blue eggs. Some strains of Ameraucana aren't as productive, so you may lose some production.

    Since you have such nice Marans eggs, I would personally put her with a Marans roo, and hatch out some Olive Eggers. It's my favorite egg color, and you would get at least half of that cross laying olive eggs.

    You may know that the blue egg gene, and the pea comb gene are USUALLY inherited together. They can separate on rare occasions, but something like 93% of the time go hand in hand. It's helpful with identifying which chicks to keep if blue/green/olive eggs are the goal, or when identifying which roos carry the blue egg gene, since they obviously can't, ummm, lay eggs.
  3. drom

    drom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 12, 2008
    EXCELLENT information. Thank you so much! [​IMG]
    I have too many Marans roosters so the logical thing would be to make some little Olive Eggers. But I want another hen or two that lay eggs the color of hers. They're just so darn pretty.
    So, when looking for a Rooster with the green egg genes, one basic requirement, so I don't mess this up, would be the pea comb.
  4. BeardedLadyFarm

    BeardedLadyFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Cobleskill NY
    My first question would be, where did you get the EE you're so fond of, and can you get anymore, or get one of her brothers? I would assume she came from a hatchery, and I would probably just order a couple/few more from the same place. I do understand the fun of hatching your "own" though.

    I would look around for an Ameraucana roo. He would be guaranteed to have two blue egg genes to offer, so all of her pullets would lay green or blue.

    An EE roo will most likely have the blue gene as well. Just get him from a hatchery. It seems every unknown mix is going by "Easter Egger" these days regardless of egg color or comb shape. In my HUMBLE opinion, an EE should have at least some of the traits of an Ameraucana, particularly blue eggs and pea combs. That's just me. There are so many better options for brown layers, I would be ticked off to get a brown laying EE. I digress...

    Now, while NEARLY all blue/green egg layers have a pea comb, there are pea combed birds that don't lay a blue egg! Buckeyes and Brahmas come to mind. So don't let the pea comb be your only guide. Make sure it's an EE, or Ameraucana.

    I really think you need some Olive Eggers too. They would look so nice with those green and dark brown eggs.... ha ha ha.
  5. drom

    drom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 12, 2008
    Quote:Well, you know, you are right. I got her from a commercial hatchery, Ideal. And I have thought about just ordering more "Ameraucana's" from them, but they are such a large hatchery, I doubt I would get the same type of bird. I might try to find a pure bred Ameraucana roo that is homozygous for the blue egg gene as you suggest.

    Thank you!
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
  6. megcpat

    megcpat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2010
    Information jackpot!!!!!!!!!!!!! [​IMG]
  7. drom

    drom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 12, 2008
    Quote:Yes exactly! [​IMG]
  8. BeardedLadyFarm

    BeardedLadyFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Cobleskill NY
    My EE girl from Ideal lays a nice minty green egg too. I've been getting about 4 a week all winter.

    You could order a bunch of EE pullets and just keep the ones that look like her. It's conceivable that they would share some common ancestry. It will be easy to get rid of the extras come spring. And you'd avoid some rooster drama.

    But getting an ameraucana roo shouldn't be difficult at all.
  9. drom

    drom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 12, 2008
    Quote:This is very wise- [​IMG]
    Maybe I will call the people at Ideal and ask them.
  10. danielle82

    danielle82 A Good Egg

    Apr 27, 2009
    Tonasket Wa
    I love this search tool here, I was trying to find out what kind of egg layers I'd get out of my ee crossed to my ee hens. All have pea combs and the roo has little muffs on his cheeks, and the hens both lay green eggs, so it looks like I could get mostly green egg layers, maybe some brown egg layers and am I understanding correctly that an EE to EE mating could also produce blue eggs? The green egg is a blue egg gene and a brown egg gene combined?

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