Your Chicken Questions Answered by a Veterinarian. Honest and Practical Advice

5 Chickens That Lay Green Eggs

Would you have guessed that there are chickens that lay green eggs? Green eggs still have egg white and yellow inside, but the shell itself is green, and the color varies in intensity depending on what hybrid chicken produced the egg.

Chickens that lay green eggs include the Favaucana, Easter Eggers, Olive Eggers, Isbar, and the Ice Cream Bar chickens.

Ordinary store-bought eggs and eggs bought at country markets vary in shades from white to deep brown, making green eggs an anomaly. Except for the green shell, a green egg does not taste or look any different from a white or brown egg.

Chicken Breeds That Lay Green Eggs

Chickens that lay green eggs include the Favaucana, Easter Eggers, Olive Eggers, Isbar, and the Ice Cream Bar chickens.

The debate on whether green egg layer chickens are pure breeds is still open, as the offspring of different chicken breeds. For instance, an Easter Egger is the offspring of any random chicken, and an Araucana or Ameraucana are both acknowledged breeds.

Not being an acknowledged breed, we will refer to green egg layer chickens as hybrids. However, they all have unique traits, and we will discuss these in more detail, starting with the Favaucana chicken.

Favaucana

Favaucana chickens are hybrids of the Faverolles and Ameraucana breeds and lay sage green eggs.

Chicken farmers enjoy raising these chickens since they are hardy and do well in chilly weather. In addition, they are great foragers and, due to their great looks, are fondly referred to as a designer breed.

Easter Eggers

Chickens that lay green eggs including the Easter Egger chickens are the offspring of any random chicken inbred with either an Araucana or Ameraucana chicken. They lay a variety of colored eggs, hence their name. These little chickens are fast becoming a firm favorite in America due to the unique colored eggs they produce, their looks, mild temperament, and ease of keeping.

Easter Eggers do not only lay green eggs, and each hen will produce the same-colored egg throughout her life. For example, if her first egg is green, she will produce green eggs, while her sister may lay pink or blue eggs throughout her life.

They are also hardy and able to withstand heat and cold. Thus, they are a versatile and easy-going choice so long as you are okay with a potentially non-green egg-laying hen.

Olive Egger Chickens

Olive Eggers stem from various chicken breeds, including Marans, Legbars, Ameraucanas, and Welsummers. The Olive Eggers are known for their great temperaments and ease of keeping. These chickens are frequent layers that lay eggs in different hues of green that closely resemble the shades of green olives.

These eggs are just gorgeous to look at and are almost too hard to eat!

Isbars

Isbar green eggs

Isbar chickens also produce green eggs. The Isbar chicken originates from Sweden and does very well in cold temperatures. They are excellent egg layers stemming from the Rhode Island Red and New Hampshire breeds. This hybrid is the offspring of a Rhode Island Red and Hew Hampshire.

Ice Cream Bar

Ice cream bar eggs are more aqua than green

The Ice Cream Bar (no not the eating kind), on the other hand, is half Swedish Isbars and half Cream Legbar. The Isbar can come from the Blue or the Swedish variation and is known for green eggs. As seen above, the Cream Legbar is known for pale blue eggs.

Thus, the Ice Cream Bar typically provides its owners with aqua eggs. Like their ancestors, they are good forgers and relatively docile. They are considered decent layers, averaging 240 eggs a year. They weigh around 5.5lbs (hen) and 7.5lbs (rooster).

Why Do These Chickens Lay Green Eggs?

To get to the bottom of the above question, we first need to understand what causes chickens to lay different colored eggs. Be it in shades of white or brown, green, blue, and everything in between.

The color egg that a hen will lay depends mainly on the genes she carries. Chickens that lay white eggs will carry the gene that allows them to lay white eggs. Leghorn chickens, for instance, are white egg layers, while Plymouth Rocks and Leghorns carry a different gene that allows them to lay brown eggs. People mistakenly see white and brown colored eggs as the norm, but they are not.

Ameraucana chickens carry within their genes a pigment that permeates through the entire eggshell, tinting it blue inside and out but does not change the color of the yolk or the egg white.

The answer to the pending question is Green eggs are the product of chickens from which one parent is a brown egg layer and the other parent a blue egg layer. The combination of the genes results in their offspring laying green eggs.

How Did The Blue Pigment Enter The Chicken Gene Pool?

As already mentioned, green eggs are produced by hybrid chickens, that is, the offspring of chickens that lay either blue or brown eggs.

The Oocyan (O) gene is responsible for chickens such as the Ameraucana laying blue eggs.

Without the risk of delving too deep into the science, let us say the Oocyan gene became part of the chicken through entering the DNA of chickens on the back of a retrovirus. The retrovirus, in turn, activates a gene that turns eggshells blue. The Dongxiang and Lushi chicken breeds, like the Ameraucana, also lay blue eggs.

Are Green Eggs Healthier Than Other Eggs?

No matter the shell color, all chicken eggs taste and look the same, although the chicken’s diet and the egg’s freshness may alter the taste.

Eggs from chickens that were foraging, living off the land, and receiving only supplemental pellets will taste different from eggs from chickens that grew up on chicken pellets.

Green, blue, pink, or even hues of red eggs are not more or less healthy than white or brown chicken eggs.

How Do Eggs Get Their Color?

Imagine the production of an egg to be a mechanical process.

At the beginning of an egg’s development, a fully developed ovum (egg yolk) will leave the chicken’s ovary, starting its journey through the oviduct.

A professor at the University of Georgia, Dr. Justin Fowler, from their poultry science department, describes the “creating of the egg color” during the whole egg production process.

The ovum undergoes five processes before being laid. The fourth stage is when the shell gland develops, and the shell gland determines the final color of the eggshell.

All eggshells start as being white, seeing the building blocks from which they form are calcium carbonate, a white crystal. After the white shell is formed, the egg continues moving through the oviduct. While traveling through the oviduct, color pigments get deposited on the eggshell.

Note that brown eggshells are white on the inside, and when you rub the egg, you may be able to remove pigment off its surface, proving the layer only appeared after the shell formation. Visualize this step as a car being spray painted.

The pigment that causes eggs to have green or blue shades is called biliverdin, and the pigment that provides reddish brown shades is called protoporphyrin.

Different Colors Of Chicken Eggs

Chicken eggs are available in different natural colors, including shades of white, brown, green, pink, olive, and even purple.

Olive Eggers lay beautiful green shades of olive eggs, and Green Eggers lay green-shaded eggs varying between light mint and dark moss depending on which gene the hen carries.

The most exquisite and rarest egg color is plum or purple, and the proud layers of these colored eggs are the Croad Langshan breed that originated in China.

Conclusion

Try to allocate different colored eggs and surprise family and friends with a clucking good homemade breakfast or put them on display, making for an enjoyable conversation starter.

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