Why are my chickens eggs different colors
Before we moved to the country 15 years ago and built Duke Manor Farm, I thought all eggs were created equal….and were either white or brown. I thought the brown one’s were from the ‘special’ hens and were healthier cause they were more expensive. When I was growing up,we only ate white eggs, so I stuck with what I was familiar with. I did this despite everyone around me thinking that brown eggs were healthier then white eggs. Did you think that too? According to studies from health professionals, eating a brown chicken egg is no healthier than eating a white chicken egg.
Fast forward 15 years and now I am seeing different colored eggs from right in my coop! Full disclosure, I am not a professional chicken farmer. Just the proud owner of 1 rooster called ‘Big Daddy’ and about 17 hens (11 laying hens and 6 new chicks). Everything I learned has been through trial and error, research and my own experience.
Why are my chickens eggs different colors?
So, have you ever wondered why chicken eggs come in different colors? There is white, cream, brown, pink, blue and green. All come in various shades. It turns out that the egg color is determined by the genetics of the hen. The breed of the hen will indicate what color eggs she will produce. My blue eggs are produced by my Ameraucanas. They are my favorite colored egg.
The process of colored eggs
I had no idea that the entire process of eggs and their color would be so interesting. To put it in an easy and basic way to understand, all eggs will start out white. Colored eggs have pigments deposited on them as the eggs travel through the hen’s oviduct which is a 26 hour jounry. Forming the shell of the egg takes roughly 20 hours to be complete. Chickens that lay brown tinted eggs will deposit the pigment late in the process of forming the egg shell. The pigment therefore does not penetrate the interior of the egg, but tints only the surface of the egg, which is why brown eggs are white on the interior.
Although all eggs start out white, the most popular colored white egg is produced by a Leghorn. We have a few of those in the coop. If you look at the chicken’s ear lobes and they are white, that generally means they produce white eggs. No additional pigment will be added in the laying process of a Leghorn. You with me so far?
What my daily loot looks like
This is my loot from this morning. When I collect my eggs and see this in the box this means four different hens laid here, thus producing four different colored eggs. I recently got some new breeds that I will be introducing you to. Right now I probably gather an average of 8 eggs a day. Since we can’t keep up with that kind of egg consumption, I gift those away to friends. Funny thing is, I don’t generally eat eggs.
For now, we are enjoying the entire process of raising chickens. It’s a lot of work ….but the eggs sure are pretty. By the way, fresh eggs can be left out on the counter for several weeks and even longer. As long as you don’t wash the egg ( because of poop or mud on it) and disturb the outer membrane or bloom, they can stay out for even up to a couple of months. The natural bloom on the surface of the shell keeps out air and bacteria. Its important to leave the bloom intact in order to keep your eggs fresh.
Thanks for joining me for another Friday at the Farm….why are my chickens eggs different colors. You can see more of my Friday at the Farm series by clicking here.
I also picked out a few things for your egg and chicken journey that may be helpful and a bit of inspiration too.
for the farm….and the eggs
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