20 Chickens That Lay Colored Eggs
Having fresh eggs every morning is a great perk of having a chicken or a whole backyard flock. If a little variety is appealing, some chicken breeds lay colored eggs instead of white. Unfortunately, some are not always easy to find. For chickens that do not lay white eggs, it is best to go with a reputable breeder.
While more breeds of chicken can lay colored eggs than the ones mentioned below, there is an excellent variety and balance of what is available for potential chicken egg colors.
Chickens that Lay Brown Eggs
Most chicken breeds can produce a brown egg. A pigment called ‘porphyrin’ during the last few hours of the egg-laying process. Porphyrin comes from hemoglobins and is created by red blood cells as they break down (1).
The more brown egg layers put on during shell formation, the darker or more vibrant the eggs can be. Since it happens as the process is ending, there is no time for the pigment to penetrate the shell. Because of this, the inside of the shell color is white.
Esteemed for their strength, vigor, and size, this ‘King of All Poultry’ can reach up to 18 pounds (2). By laying most of their eggs during October through May, Brahmas allow the egg supply to keep running, even when other hens slow or stop during the colder weather.
The origin of Brahma chickens has been in dispute since the 19th century. They either arrived in London or New York first and came from somewhere in the East Indies such as China or India. Another theory is that development occurred in the US from Cochins, Dorkings, and Malays.
The APA’s Standard of Perfection recognizes Brahma’s with dark, buff, and light color variations (3).
Dark Brahmas share the fewest traits with their hens of the three. Hens are black and gray with a black tail and white-tipped hackles. Roosters have black on their tail and base and white and black saddle feathers and hackles.
The Light Brahma hens have a white base, black tail, and black hackles edged with white. Black-striped saddle feathers is a trait exclusive to the roosters. Buff Brahmas share the Light’s black pattern but have a golden, buff base in place of the white.
Whether free-range or in a coop, Brahmas do exceptionally well in colder weather (4). However, their heat-tolerance is not great because of their anatomy. They are easy to handle, mostly docile, and are too large to fly over low fencing. Additionally, they mature on the slower side of the spectrum.
Brahma chickens lay anywhere from 150-220 chicken eggs a year. It is usually large and medium.
The Buckeye chicken is in the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, and their status on the ‘watch’ list means 5,000 or fewer breeding birds populate the United States (5). Additionally, they have a place in Slow Food USA Ark of Taste’s catalog of endangered heritage foods (6).
Nettie Metcalf from Warren, Ohio, had the goal to create a breed that was cold-weather hardy, especially in the Midwest, where winters tend to be bitter. This goal was eventually a success, and the Buckeye breed also has excellent adaptability to various living conditions. However, they tend to prefer space to move around in a free-range situation due to their high activity level.
The Buckeye is the only known chicken breed to have been developed by a woman.
With yellow skin and a rich mahogany color, the Buckeye is the only purebred American chicken to have a pea comb.
Somewhat slow to mature, Buckeye chickens are curious, easily handled, and docile. Their name comes from the state of Ohio’s nickname, ‘The Buckeye State.’ While these chickens have similarities to the Rhode Island Red breed, their development predates them, but not by a very long time frame.
Buckeyes lay approximately 200 medium-sized eggs annually. They are also quite friendly to humans and comparable to cats when it comes to dealing with mice.
Their name comes from the French words for ‘sing’ and ‘bright,’ which are ‘chanter’ and ‘Clair.’ Monks of a Cistercian Abbey in Quebec worked with five distinct varieties of chicken to create this breed under the oversight of Brother Wilfred Chatelain (7).
Chanteclers have relatively tame personalities and are an excellent free-range breed. While they can handle containment, they may become temperamental and will not likely thrive.
The University of Saskatchewan’s Animal and Poultry Science Department announced this breed as extinct in 1979 because they had the notion that they had the last rooster (8). However, a few small farms kept maintaining the species. Because of this, the Livestock Breeds Conservancy, once considering them a ‘critical’ breed, now has them on their ‘watch’ list.
These chickens can produce 200 eggs per year. It ranges in size and shade of brown. With no wattles and a small comb that looks like a cushion, Chanteclers are resistant to frostbite. They also have tons of fluff, allowing for even more hardiness against the cold.
Marans’ most commonly found color variation is Black Copper, but there are nine colors overall. These colors are Wheaten, Cuckoo, Columbian, Black-tailed Buff, Birchen, Black Copper, Black, Golden Cuckoo, and White.
Some Maran strains have a high tolerance for wet conditions due to their development in marshlands. This tolerance can vary widely because of careless, rapid breeding.
Characterized by dark barred feathers and white skin, Maran’s eyes are usually orange. Soles of their feet are white, while their shanks can be either pink or slate.
Each strain of Maran chicken has a unique temperament and preferences. However, it is safe to say that most are reasonably friendly. They cannot fly very high and prefer free-range living, especially in planted meadows or grassy areas.
Maran chickens lay large, light to dark brown eggs and do so around 150 times a year. As the laying season goes on, the color will likely fade. Marans also have a chance to lay reddish eggs as well as some with an almost purple reflection.
5. Jersey Giant
The Jersey Giant is a charming and docile breed. Some people keep them as pets, and they are good with children, if not a little intimidating. Slow to hatch and mature, adult Jersey Giants are among the largest purebred chickens in the US (9).
A broad, deep, and moderate to long body make this breed seem square. The Jersey Giant’s legs are black with yellow soles and four toes on each foot. Their skin is also yellow, and their wattles and comb should be red.
These cold-hardy chickens are easy to handle and do not fly. They can adapt to confinement but would rather have space to forage and roam. When building a nest for Jersey Giants, keep in mind that they are plump birds, and therefore need to be lower to the ground with plenty of space.
Laying about 260 large to jumbo medium eggs per year, the Jersey Giant does well during the winter. To help this chicken lay more eggs, feeding it enough to suit its uneconomical diet is essential. They not only need more food in general, but they also need extra minerals and vitamins. Fortunately, they can get more by foraging on their own.
6. Naked Neck
Naked Neck chickens have an intriguing look that sets them apart from most chickens. They are also cold-hardy and do well in extreme heat, making them adaptable to many areas.
Also known as the Transylvanian Naked Neck, these chickens come from Central Europe’s Transylvanian region, part of what is now Romania. They are thought to be created before the 1700s and had their first introduction in 1875 Vienna.
Both confinement and fee-range will do for Naked Necks. However, they are immune to many diseases and are great foragers. Active, easy to handle, docile, and calm, Naked Neck is an excellent addition to any flock.
While most desirable for meat production, they can still produce around 100 eggs annually. The Naked Neck’s eggs are light brown and medium-sized. White, cuckoo, black, red, blue, and buff are recognized colors of this type. They have a single comb and are prone to increased sun exposure due to a lack of feathers, causing their head and neck to turn red.
7. Rhode Island Red
One of the world’s most successful breeds of chicken, the Rhode Island Red, came about in 19th century New England. Most notably in Rhode Island, hence their name. The Livestock Conservancy has this breed on their watch list (10).
One of the hardier breeds, the Rhode Island Red handles cold and heat well and produces eggs in less than ideal conditions. Their combs are susceptible to frostbite, however.
Being low maintenance, Rhode Island Reds are ideal for a small flock and can add a laid-back, harmonious atmosphere to an established community. The roosters can get aggressive, but overall they are docile and easy to handle.
Laying five to seven eggs a week makes it possible to get upwards of 200+ fresh eggs a year. This chicken ranges in color from almost black to a deep red. Tails are black for the most part, and they have red-orange eyes, yellow legs and feet, and brownish-red beaks. There may be some red on the shank sides or toes as well.
Chickens that Lay Blue Eggs
When it comes to what kind of chickens lay colored eggs, blue is the primary color that comes to mind besides brown. These chickens have a special pigment, much like the porphyrin. This pigment is called ‘oocyanin’ and applies much earlier in the egg-laying process.
Originating from bile, oocyanin causes eggs to turn blue on the outside and the inside (11). The pigment application so early during the egg formation process gives it enough time to go through the shell. Only a few breeds have chickens that lay blue eggs, and sometimes other colors can occur alongside the blue.
While some chickens can eat their eggs, the Araucana has a unique problem. A lethal gene, the one that causes their ear tufts and rumpless traits, causes a quarter of chicks to die before hatching (12). This setback makes it challenging to hatch chicks.
Additionally, no hatchery in North America is known to sell true Araucana or its eggs. Smaller breeders and farms have a better chance of providing this breed. The eggs sold and named Araucana are most likely eggs from an Easter Egger.
Cold hardy and adaptable, both free-range and confinement are okay with Araucanas. However, they love to roam and forage, so free-range is better for their overall health. These chickens are on the smaller end of the spectrum but mature relatively early.
Able to lay up to 200 medium-sized eggs, Araucana is the only breed that consistently lays blue eggs.
Created in America during the 1970s, the Ameraucana resulted from breeding out the lethal tuft and rump genes from Araucanas without losing the beautiful blue eggs. Instead of a tuft, this breed can have a beard and muffs (13). They also have pea combs, absent or small waddles, a red comb, earlobes, wattles, and a wide variety of coloring.
Due to a significant circulation of misinformation, when you see Araucana/Americana chicks for sale, they are likely Easter Eggers (14).
Cold-hardy and adaptable, they do well in confinement but not excessive heat. With love for foraging, the Ameraucana may deter attacks from hawks because of their similar appearance. They have non-aggressive, calm personalities, and they are docile but do not like much handling.
Ameraucanas lay around 200 medium to extra-large-sized eggs a year, and they are mostly light blue. Sometimes they can produce eggs that are more of a blue-green shade, however. Additionally, this breed can be slow when it comes to laying their first egg.
10. Cream Legbar
While rare in the United States, the Cream Legbar is one of the most globally popular types of auto-sexing chicken. All that means is that the sex of the chick is apparent on the day they hatch, instead of developing their distinct traits as they mature (15). This trait is highly desirable, and the breed has been around for a century.
Hens lay anywhere from 160-200 eggs annually. The eggs can either be pale green or sky-blue. They are silver-gray with a small crest and salmon-colored breast, while the roosters have dark gray breast and tail barring, long hackle and saddle feathers, and a cream coloring.
11. Whiting True Blue
This newly developed breed came about because of the creator, Dr. Tom Whiting’s desire for a rooster with larger hackle feathers to use as fly-fishing bait. He also wanted to create breeds of chickens with an inconsistent appearance that consistently laid blue eggs.
With an excellent disposition, unique coloring on each bird, and tolerance to heat, Dr. Whiting succeeded at his goal of breeding chickens that lay blue eggs. He has won several awards for his genetic work (16).
Dr. Tom Whiting was given the Fly Tyer Lifetime Achievement Award for bringing modern poultry science to the breeding of chickens for hackle and other fly tying feathers.
As they lay up to 300 eggs per year, The Whiting True Blue’s eggs gradually increase from medium to large. After hatching, it only takes five months to start laying eggs.
12. Easter Egger
At some point, the Easter Egger came about by breeding either Araucana or Ameraucana with another breed of chicken. They kept the blue egg gene but also picked up others along the way. This genetic tangle gives Easter Eggers an array of potential egg colors and some of the most colorful eggs out there.
Any type of chicken bred with one parent with the gene for blue eggs will likely result in an Easter Egger (17). Since they do not meet Ameraucanas or Araucanas’ qualifications, they are considered ‘mutts’ rather than a breed of their own.
This chicken breed is mild-mannered, curious, and friendly. They can even be bold enough to approach you, asking for cuddles or treats. Mixed features distinguish Easter Eggers from others, but they all share small, red wattles, clean legs, four toes, and most of them have a tail.
Laying up to 250 eggs annually, an individual hen will only lay one egg color. Not all hens from the same clutch will have the same color, however. Easter Egger eggs range from large to extra large.
Chickens that Lay Green Eggs
Most of the chickens that lay green eggs are not ‘official’ breeds. A majority of them are relatively new and have yet to gain recognition. These breeds lay eggs in varying shades of green.
This pigment comes from breeding blue egg-layers with brown (18). During the egg-laying or dyeing process, just like with blue eggs, the blue pigment releases and seeps through the shell. Then, the brown pigment turns the egg layers to green as the process comes to an end. The inside of the shell is, blue.
13. Olive Egger
With the chocolate brown of a Maran chicken and the blues of Ameraucanas, the Olive Egger lays brownish green to dark green eggs.
Friendly and docile, Olive Eggers handle well. Roosters are also calm and are excellent at protecting the flock. They adapt to both confinement and free-range easily and have voracious appetites. Varying features such as rumpless, pea combs, beards, or muffs may or may not present themselves on an individual chicken, for looks and traits vary with parentage.
Like with the egg color, the number of eggs laid per year depends on the hen’s parentage. From 140 to 200, the number of eggs varies because of their hybrid nature. Olive Eggers lay eggs that can be khaki, deep olive, dark mossy green, or olive.
14. Silverudd Blue (Isbar)
Martin Silverudd, a monk in Sweden who enjoyed breeding auto-sexing chicken breeds that lay colored eggs, had a goal to breed auto-sexing green egg-layers. Even though he died before reaching this goal, the Silverudd Blue developed wonderfully and is the only purebred chicken that lays green eggs.
These chickens that lay green eggs are docile and friendly. Silverudd Blue roosters are friendly, too, but will defend their hens with fierceness. Either black, blue, or splashed, their appearance varies, and they tolerate both heat and cold.
When allowed to roam freely, Silverudd Blues love to forage and keep an eye out for predators.
Able to produce 150-200 green eggs per year. These eggs come in many shades of green, and speckled brown is a possibility.
15. Ice Cream Bar
Ice Cream Bars are Silverudd Blues (Isbar) bred with Cream Legbars. Their name comes from Silverudd Blue’s original designation, which was Isbar. Just like with their parents, these chickens are rare, especially in the United States.
The coloring of this hybrid varies, but there are always red combs and beards.
Because they love to forage, these chickens that lay green eggs do well in free-range situations. They are also incredibly independent, sometimes to a fault.
The eggs Ice Cream Bars lay typically turn out with a deep teal color to a bluish-green. Hens will produce around 180-200 annually.
A hybrid of the Ameraucana and Favorelle breeds, the Favaucana lays sage green eggs. Since it is only a hybrid, this breed is not recognized. However, they are still amazing birds to have.
With the proper size of a chicken nesting box, this breed will thrive. Favaucanas have excellent tolerance of the cold, but not so much when it comes to extreme heat. They do love to forage, though, so letting them roam a bit always does them some good.
With little muffs, beards, and feathered feet, these beautiful chickens are somewhat large. Many have five toes, but not all, and their pea-combs give them extra cold resistance. Additionally, their hawk-like appearance is unique and impressive.
These chickens lay about 260 eggs a year. Sage green, a light tan, or a seafoam-green are standard colors that Favaucanas lay.
Chickens that Lay Pink/Cream Eggs
Other than Easter Eggers, the breeds of chickens that lay pink eggs usually lay cream-colored eggs. A specific genetic variation in these breeds causes a pinkish tint to the egg, but it is impossible to pinpoint a particular breed where it happens (19).
A pink tint on an egg results from a hen’s reproductive tract releasing a mucousy protein coating. Just as with brown eggs, the shade of pink varies with the number of coating layers.
It is not entirely clear how this breed of chicken arrived in England. This ancient five-toed chicken may be from Normandy, Belgium, or Phoenician traders during the first century. Romans may have brought them when they invaded, but the breed is notably absent in Italy (20).
Rectangular bodies and short legs with five toes help distinguish this breed from others. They have a single comb, red-earlobes, and white skin underneath their feathers. Red, silver-gray, dark, cuckoo, and white are the five colors recognized in the United Kingdom.
The easily adaptable Dorking chicken is docile and easily handled. While they tolerate both confinement and free-range, their foraging skills give them a reason to have time to roam. With a cold-hardy constitution, they continue to lay eggs regularly during the winter.
Able to lay up to 190 eggs every year, Dorkings’ eggs are creamy or white and medium or large-sized.
Known as the French Poodle of chickens, Favorelles have origins in 19th Century Normandy. It is hard to know which breeds came together to develop them, but Brahma, Dorking, and local five-toed breeds are most likely involved.
When brought to England in 1894, they imported it to the United States within a decade, finding much success (21). With a deep, broad body and loose, fluffy feathers, they tend to look larger than they are. Their beaks are a pinkish color, and they have reddish eyes.
Roosters have black beards, a black breast, and black undercarriages, unlike the hen’s honeyed salmon-colored feathers and grayish fluff. They are tolerant of the cold, but foul weather does not suit them.
This breed lays their creamy, tinted eggs from 180-240 times in a year. Faverolles’ increasing popularity as pets is understandable due to their egg production and good-natured personalities.
19. Light Sussex
The Light Sussex holds recognition as a distinct breed since over 200 years ago (22). Descendants of chickens brought by Roman invaders, they are curious and mild-mannered. Roosters are no exception, for they are not known to show much problematic behavior or aggression if any.
Ideal for beginners because of their low maintenance level, these chickens love to forage and explore and are among the most popular backyard breeds of chicken in their native United Kingdom.
This breed’s main traits are a wide-shouldered rectangular build with a flat, broad, and extended back and straight breastbone. Their eye color depends on variety, but all Light Sussex chickens have a single comb, large red earlobes, and white legs.
Sussex chickens reached America about 1912 and was recognized by the American Poultry Association in three varieties: Speckled (1914), Red (1914), and Light (1929).
The Light Sussex’s tolerance for wet, cold weather allows them to lay eggs all year round. They likely even prefer cooler days over hot.
200-250 creamy white or pink eggs can be laid by Light Sussexes annually.
20. Barred (Plymouth) Rock
For over 100 years, Barred Rock chickens have been favorites over the world. Created in Massachusetts, they got their name from the historical site where pilgrims first came ashore. The breeds used to develop them are not known for sure. Cochins, Black Javas, Brahmas, and Dominiques are just a few of the possibilities (23).
These well-liked backyard chickens are curious, smart, and love attention. Both hens and roosters have quirky, loving personalities and even temperaments.
With a peculiar barred, gray pattern, Barred Rock chickens got their name from how their feather patterns resemble rocks. They have a somewhat triangular body shape and a lone red comb. Their long backs and full breast provide ample meat for those looking for table fare chickens.
Barred Rock hens and roosters do not tolerate the same weather well. Hens have exceptional cold-hardiness, while roosters are prone to frostbite. Neither finds extreme heat tolerable, but hot days are okay as long as they have shade, dusting areas, and as much cold water as they will need.
While okay with confinement, Barred Rock likes to forage and follow you around, so free-range or giving them stimulating activities is essential.
Laying up to 280 eggs a year, most eggs from these chickens are either light tan to pink or medium-sized brown eggs.
While some chickens can lay several colors of eggs, a singular hen can only lay one color. There may be shade variations depending on what happens during incubation, but the color will stay the same.
No. Colored eggs and white eggs taste the same. There are many claims that the color of an egg changes in flavor. However, the only thing that can alter the taste of an egg is the hen’s diet.
Much like with the taste of different colored eggs, nutrition does not vary between colors or breeds. Again, depending on the diet of the laying chicken, there may be some differences.
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