why are my egg yokes different colors?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BBK, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. BBK

    BBK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2009
    upstate NY
    Some are golden and some are not...what gives? Food? not enough greens?

    Also, some are double yokers and some are not? same reason...food? not enough greens?
    What will happen in the winter then, when greens are not available?

    Is there a scienitific reason or are they just flukes?


    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
  2. rainbowgardens

    rainbowgardens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Central Virginia
    My hens free range and I 've been getting differences in yolk color. They have access to the same foods, so I'm stumped. It didn't seem to happen earlier in the year.

    In the winter I give mine pumpkins to keep the yolks orange.
  3. Camelot Farms

    Camelot Farms Chickenista

    I've found that mine are lighter when they free range and done get as much layer pellet.
    In the winter months when they are almost solely on layer pellet, the yolks are very orange. [​IMG]

    And I bet that each bird processes foods differently than the others so that may account for some of the color difference even when being fed the same diet. For example birds like Buff Orps who are bred to produced a high quantity of eggs make use of their food intake differently than a Game Hen.

    Just my thoughts... [​IMG]
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    This link gives good info on yolk color. One reason I could think of that your birds would have different yolk colors is that some found a patch of berries, a red pepper, something with color out there, and did not share. And it is possible some hens process the same foods slightly differently. If they free range, it is easy to explain. If they don't free range, it is more confusing. Maybe some hens don't like certain greens?

    Egg yolk color - not due to Beta-carotene

    I don't think food has anything to do with double yolks. Her internal egg laying factory is confused. Two yolks get started at the same time. It seems that certain hens do this more than others. For me it is an unwanted defect. The double yolker is larger than normal, thus exposing the hen to becoming egg bound or prolapse. They also do not lay as regular as others. I want a standard regular egg on a regular schedule. I also want eggs that I can successfully hatch. I have an Orpington that sometimes lays a double yolk egg. She may grow out of it, but I have three and will only keep two. Her tendency to double yolks makes my decision as to which two to keep pretty easy.
  5. Plain Old Dee

    Plain Old Dee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 30, 2009
    Seminole, OK
    I've never tried hatching anything, but I did have a white leghorn that laid a double yolked egg every day.

    The yolk color can be affected by what a chicken does and doesn't eat. It seems that the more protein (like mash, grasshoppers and other bugs) and real greens that a chicken eats, the more color the yolks have.

    That being said, I had a bag of cottonseed meal that I planned to use on my garden (fertilizer). The chickens found it and thought it was delicious. I panicked can called my vet, who kinda chuckled at me - "the cotton seed meal won't hurt them and it's safe to eat the eggs" is what he told me. I didn't think much more about it until a few days later I cracked an egg to fry for breakfast, and OMG! [​IMG]

    The yolk was a brownish color with swirls of mustard running through it. It looked like it had spoiled months before, but the yolk stood up just like a nice fresh yolk should. I fried it up and checked it for taste. Once cooked, it looked pretty normal - just a bit dark - but it tasted fine. Cottonseed meal contains a chemical (or enzyme or whatever) called gossipol (sp???) that affects the yolk color.

    I made sure my hens had no more access to cottonseed meal - I spread it on the garden and worked it in really well, and never bought any again. My customers did not want funny looking yolks. I used the eggs, but it was a couple of weeks or better before the yolks looked normal again!
  6. msgenie516

    msgenie516 The Happy Hen

    May 16, 2008
    Nesconset, LI, NY

    I've always gotten different colored yolks in my eggs but I never thought about it that much except to assume the hens had certain preferences to which food they ate and that was the cause of it. Mine don't free range but I imagine that the ones that lay eggs with darker yolks prefer the corn in the grain, not that they get that much. I am really not sure.

    As for double yolks, I have found that I get them only from the new layers that may have a "glitch" in their reproductive system.

    Hope this helps! [​IMG] Genie
  7. NC Chicken Gal

    NC Chicken Gal Out Of The Brooder

    May 26, 2009
    So, would a double yolk mean TWINS???? LOL
  8. marymac

    marymac Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 12, 2008
    Northeast Ohio
    i have not only noticed a difference in the color of my yolks but also in the taste and texture in them. I have some that are darker and they are also thicker and have a stronger taste which I do like, then I have some, especially my silkies that lay eggs which are not as thick or tasty as the others. So there is differences in taste and the way they look. Whoever said an egg is an egg?
  9. BBK

    BBK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2009
    upstate NY
    Thanks for the info and link...ridgerunner. I'll have to check it out later.

    my girls don't free range that offen, b/c they take off into the woods and i'm so afraid something's in there waiting for them. something pooped on a garden rock, in our yard and Dh thought the skat looked like fox! So, i'm not taking to many chances...

    I tried to give them greens every day and they definitely have had their fair share of pumpkin this yr. So, many have been soft and for a while they had a line up of'em.

    I have noticed that some days they don't eat a lot of their feed. So, i don't give them anymore the next day until it's gone. But keep giving them the greens and scraps. And of course fresh water.

  10. Jerseychickens

    Jerseychickens Just Hatched

    Oct 24, 2009
    I have one chicken that is now laying eggs with very light color yokes. The other three chickens yokes have stayed the same bright orange color. They are now free range for the summer but eating soybeans I give them everyday with their regular food. Just hoping the chicken isn't sick or is eating something strange. Just a bit worried.
    anyone have this problem with any of their chickens, please let me know.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by