The blue and green egg - breeding out the tan.

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Naamahbengals, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. Naamahbengals

    Naamahbengals Chillin' With My Peeps

    176
    7
    73
    May 17, 2013
    Hi all. I have some EEs (sold to me as Ameraucanas, sigh) who lay both mint green and tan eggs. I'm not interested in the tan. Could someone tell me the genetics of blue and tan egg colors? I know green is blue+tan. I'd like to breed out the tan, and be left with blue eggs. Green are fine too - I'm wasn't sure if all green-layers also lay tan (since it's blue+tan) or if a hen can lay all green eggs only, or green and blue.

    Also, if I have a roo that has genetics for white eggs, what would I get crossed with a green and tan layer? Does that help or hurt the process of getting rid of the tan? Or does it make no difference? (I currently have no green or blue genetic roos, I'll keep one from next generation.)

    Is there such a thing as a blue and white egg layer? Or is blue a modification of white, separate from tan?

    Are you more likely to breed out the tan if you only select green eggs for hatching, or does that not make a difference?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  2. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    I can't answer all of your questions....but I can tell you that if you only want green egg layers, just hatch your green eggs.

    If you can buy a rooster from a REPUTABLE person that has genes for blue eggs, you can breed him to all of your hens.

    Rooster with blue genes over tan egg layers will produce pullets laying green eggs.

    Rooster with blue genes over green egg layers will produce pullets laying eggs colored all shades of green, blue green and maybe even some shades of blue.
     
  3. DCchicken

    DCchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,021
    106
    133
    Aug 29, 2013
    Maryland
    Egg shells are either blue or white. The brown or tan is a coating that is applied to the egg. How dark the coating depends upon the breed. For example, Marans lay a dark chocolate brown egg. Leghorns lay a white egg with no coating. All other breeds are usually somewhere in between. The green egg starts with a blue shell and then the brown coating is applied on top.

    If you want a true blue egg, it might be easier to just get a breed that lays blue eggs than try to out-breed the brown coating. Cream Legbars and Aracuanas will lay a blue egg. Ameracuanas (pure breed only) will also lay a blue egg. But many hatcheries will sell you a mix breed EE labeled as an Ameracuana. Cream Legbars are very popular right now so you might be able to find a local breeder with them.

    The only single breed green egg layer is the Isbar. But Isbars can be difficult to breed and hatch. So if you want a green-egg layer you might look for a mix breed that a lot of breeders sell as "olvie egger".
     
  4. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Not all cream legbars lay blue eggs, they also lay green-ish eggs. The breeders that are working on a SOP for crested cream legbars that calle for a blue egg laying bird.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  5. DCchicken

    DCchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,021
    106
    133
    Aug 29, 2013
    Maryland
    Most green-ish Cream Legbar eggs are still more on the blue side of egg color. Unless you put a green-ish Cream Legbar egg next to a Leghorn white egg, it would probably appear blue to most people. But thanks for pointing that out. I would not want anyone to get a greenish egg from a Cream Legbar and be upset.

    I also forgot to mention the Arkansas Blue egg layer (or whatever people are calling it). It is supposed to be a high-volume blue egg layer.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,113
    3,318
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Let’s break the genetics into two separate parts. First is the basic blue egg gene. There is one gene pair that determines if the base color is blue or white. This is not a sex linked gene. Both the males and females have two genes at this location and each gives one gene to its offspring. Blue is dominant. If just one of those two genes is the blue gene, the base color will be blue.

    You probably know a lot of this but I’ll go through it anyway. Each parent will randomly give one of its two genes at that location to its offspring. If one parent has two blues or two whites at that location, you know what they are giving. But if one of those genes is blue and the other is white, you don’t know which the parent will give. It’s purely random. To me, the easiest way to see it is through symbols. Use a capital “O” for the bleu gene and the small case “o” for the white gene. If one parent is O,o and the other is o,o, the offspring will get O,o and the pullets will lay base blue eggs. If one parent is O,o and the other is o,o, about half the offspring will be O,o with the pullets laying base blue eggs but the other half will be o,o with the pullet slaying base white eggs. If both parents are O,o, about ¼ will be O,O, ½ will be O,o, and ¼ will be o,o. That’s the straightforward part.

    A brown or green egg is simply the color brown on top of the base egg color. Think of it this way:

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

    Brown is confusing. There are a whole lot of different genes that contribute to brown. That’s why you can get so many different shades of brown or green. At least 13 different genes have been identified that contribute to brown and there are several more that have not yet been identified. Some are dominant, some recessive, the effect some have may depend on what other genes are present. Brown eggs can go anywhere from “tinted” or pink all the way to the chocolate brown of a Marans. Green can have as much color range.

    I don’t have a clue which brown genes your hens that are laying the green eggs have, your roosters either for that matter. The more different genes the harder it will be to get them out. And remember some are recessive so they may hide a few generations then pop back up.

    You have some possible strategies to get bluer eggs. You can just hatch your bluest eggs and keep breeders, male and female, from those. You will eventually get bluer eggs but it is really hard to get all the brown out. It may even be impossible, say one or more of the brown genes are set in your flock to the point that both males and females have two of those genes at the same location.

    The other strategy is to keep crossing your bluest egg layers with chickens that lay white eggs. Remember, white is base white with NO brown. So each generation you should be getting rid of more brown genes. One downside to this is that about half the offspring will not lay blue/green eggs, they will lay white/brown.

    Or, instead of using white egg laying chickens, find some pure blue egg layers. They also will contribute no brown. Of course if blue egg sis your goal, why not just keep these and get rid of your green and brown egg layers.
     
  7. Naamahbengals

    Naamahbengals Chillin' With My Peeps

    176
    7
    73
    May 17, 2013
    Thank you! That is everything I needed to know!! :)
     
  8. Naamahbengals

    Naamahbengals Chillin' With My Peeps

    176
    7
    73
    May 17, 2013
    Oh, actually, one more question - is it possible (selective breeding, crossing, etc) to have a hen that produces both green and blue, but never brown? I assume by making sure that every bird is homozygus for blue, and only some carry a recessive form of brown?
     
  9. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Hens only lay one color egg. For example the egg will start out blue and the only change will be to get a little lighter the longer she lays. When she molts her eggs will be their original color again.

    If a hen lays a blue egg she does not have any genes for brown.

    If a hen lays a green egg, then the egg starts as blue but before the egg is layed the hen puts a brown coating over the egg making it green.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,113
    3,318
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I’m not sure I understand the question. Are you asking if the rooster the hen mates with has an effect on the color of eggs she lays? The answer to that is no. The hen will lay the same color of egg regardless of which rooster she is mated with or even if there is no rooster. As long as at least one of the genes she has is a blue, it will be either blue or green.

    If you are asking if a hen can have offspring that lays either blue or green, the answer is yes. It depends on what genes the rooster contributes and what genes the hen has. If either or both the hen or rooster is pure for blue, (at least one of them is O,O) the offspring will always lay a blue or green egg. Your goal is to get both males and females pure for blue but with blue being dominant, that can be a challenge.

    Depending on what brown dominant or recessive genes the parents contribute and how they match up, it is very possible the same hen and rooster can have offspring where one pullet lays blue eggs and another lays green eggs. I’ve had the same rooster and hen produce pullets that lay different shades of green eggs.

    It can be really hard to get the green out. I know a lady who has been working for 15 chicken generations to get green out of her eggs. She’s getting pretty close but occasionally a greenish tinge shows up.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by