A Suburban Farm of 6th Happiness.

Chicken Eggs Come in Different Colours & This is Useful to the Backyard Chicken Keeper

by Alan - March 31st, 2017.
Filed under: Chickens, Ducks. Tagged as: , , , , , .

a wicker basket full of chicken eggs of many colours from various shades of blue to green, browns, and cream; also there are two black cayuga duck eggs.

Our hens are in full swing, giving us eggs of all different colours!  This year I made sure to share the first spring eggs with our neighbours early enough that it could be appreciated (last year I made the mistake of waiting too close to Easter, and people awkwardly admitted to having 4 dozen already because of store sales at that time of year.)

I love how every day the egg basket is full of different colours: white, cream/pink to shades of brown, and multiple shades of green to blue.   I always try to give neighbours a variety, unless they ask otherwise.  But besides being beautiful, the wide variety of chicken egg colours can actually be very helpful for backyard chicken keepers’ tracking the health, well-being and productivity of their hens.

Each hen has her own specific colour that remains the same for life.  Same can be said for the shape of the egg, which is ‘cast’ by the shape of her uterus.  Thus, some are more round, others more oblong; some have very pointy ends, others less so.  Size can fluctuate somewhat due to various factors, but some breeds are known for exceptionally large eggs, while others are known for small eggs (especially true of small hens, such as the various bantam breeds and Seramas)

If you have a small backyard flock, it is useful to keep different breeds which produce different colours (or even sizes and shapes) so that you can keep track of which egg comes from which hen.  This  helps you track each hen’s ‘cycle’ (some lay every day, some every 2 or 3 days.  Some don’t lay in winter while others do, although sometimes less often) as well as identify health and dietary issues.  For example, a hen that does not have enough calcium in her diet (or who has some other issue preventing her from absorbing the calcium in the diet), will have eggs that have thin shells that crack easily.

Knowing which hen produces which egg is especially useful.  You will know if only certain hens are affected (and specifically, which), or even all hens are affected, at the same time or sporatically.   If they are all affected, your flock probably needs a calcium supplement, such as oyster shells.   If only one or two hens are affected, it might be because they need more calcium than the other hens in the flock (especially if they lay every day, and the other hens lay every 2 or 3 days), or there may be some other issue going on- such as a health problem preventing her from absorbing the calcium in the diet, or the other hens are bullying her away from the food / supplement.

People in online backyard chicken communities can often help you troubleshoot issues in your flock based on symptoms, such as egg shell quality, feather growth or moult, behaviour, and so on.  Some things are obvious to seasoned chicken keepers, and can be easily addressed at home.  Other issues are more serious, and may require a vet (or, depending on your feelings, chicken soup).

Did you notice the two black eggs?  Those are actually duck eggs!  We have two Cayuga ducks  (a hen and a drake/male), which are a black breed.  Our other ducks lay white or cream eggs.  I have heard that some ducks produce green/blue eggs, but we don’t have any of those.   Unlike with chickens’, these ducks’ egg colour changes.  The first eggs of the year are deep black, and then as the season progresses, the colour becomes lighter.  The two black eggs in this photo are from the same duck, the darker one was the first one and the lighter one was her third egg of the season.  Every year, this colour cycle repeats itself.

Here is a useful page on the hen’s reproductive system, how eggs are formed, and some of the irregularities that can occur (including photos):useful page on the chicken’s reproductive system, how eggs are formed, and some of the irregularities that can occur (including photos): http://articles.extension.org/pages/65372/avian-reproductive-systemfemale

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