Are you looking for an active bird that will lay an incredible amount of eggs throughout the year? There are many hybrid breeds out there that are up to the task, but few have the capabilities of the Prairie Bluebell Egger. If you are interested in a bird that is capable of foraging and easy to raise, the Prairie Bluebell Egger is a wonderful choice. Here are some reasons why you should choose this breed as the next member of your flock.
Prairie Bluebell Egger Overview
Here is a quick glance at what makes the Prairie Bluebell Egger an excellent choice for your flock:
|Weight||4-5 lbs (2-2.5 kg)|
|Egg Production||4-5 eggs per week, 240-280 eggs per year|
|Temperament||Athletic, active, and alert|
History of the Prairie Bluebell Egger
Recently developed by the well-known Hoover Hatchery in the United States, the Prairie Bluebell Egger is not that same as the Bluebell breed. Released in January 2019, this hybrid was designed to lay blue eggs of a greater size and quality. An Araucana (which lays blue eggs) was crossed with a White Leghorn chicken with the hopes that the best traits of each chicken would shine through in their offspring.
Turns out, Hoover Hatchery was right. The Prairie Bluebell Egger is able to mass produce large eggs — up to 280 eggs per year or about 500 eggs in their lifetime. Being that the breed is a hybrid and relatively new, there is a low chance of it being accepted by the American Poultry Association or receiving a standard. For that reason, Prairie Bluebell Egger chickens hatched from one clutch may all look different from one another.
Prairie Bluebell Egger Appearance
Being that Prairie Bluebell Egger chickens are hybrids, they tend to take on the traits of their parents. This is one of the reasons why you end up getting a large mixture of colors in a single batch of eggs. Prairie Bluebell Eggers are popular for that reason, however. You never really know which color you are going to get when you first receive your chicks. Commonly, Prairie Bluebell Eggers are colored with splashes, but blue and black feathers are also a frequent sight. Other hatcheries have reported gold, smoke, white, and gray chicks hatching, too.
Some of these chickens end up with dark skin while others have yellow or white. Red combs, wattles, and earlobes are typical, but some end up with lighter earlobes.
These hybrid chickens are on the medium side. Maturing at a weight of around 4-5 pounds, Prairie Bluebell Eggers are not designed for meat production. They are raised for their blue egg-laying genes.
Temperament and Personality of the Prairie Bluebell Egger
If you plan on raising Prairie Bluebell Egger chickens, you need to know about their personalities. These are chickens with a purpose. They like laying eggs and foraging for food. These are traits picked up from their Araucana and Leghorn parents. Furthermore, they are friendly and love humans. You will find that your Prairie Bluebell Egger will spend time with you whenever they can.
Since these birds have the itch to roam, you should consider giving them a wide open space. If you have predators, give them a run with a tall fence, as they can clear 7-feet with ease.
Prairie Bluebell Eggers are ideal for yards or farms with an existing flock. These chickens do not have an ego. They love meeting members of their family, be it another animal or a person. Thus, you can introduce them without worrying about messing up the pecking order. The downside is that more aggressive hens may choose to pick on this breed, especially since they are smaller than some other breeds.
About Prairie Bluebell Egger Roosters
Do you want to keep around 8-10 hens in your yard? Planning on hatching some eggs? Then consider a Prairie Bluebell Egger rooster. They may not be as fancy looking as some other breeds, but they are excellent watchers and tenders of the flock. Prairie Bluebell Egger roosters are less aggressive towards people and other chickens, but they will fight beak and talons if a predator gets too close.
Too often, hybrid chickens have their survival instincts bred right out of them. That is not true with the Prairie Bluebell Egger. They are excellent at staying vigilant while they forage. If you have a rooster present, they will protect the flock from harm. Furthermore, thanks to having Leghorn in their family tree, these chickens are very agile and athletic. In other words, their evasion skills are second only to Leghorns.
Prairie Bluebell Egger chickens will not think twice about leaping over a 7-foot tall fence to escape danger. Though they cannot fly far, Prairie Bluebell Eggers know how to evade predators that come wandering into the yard.
Paired with light bodies, watchful eyes, the ability to vertically leap, and use their plumage as camouflage, Prairie Bluebell Eggers can be wonderfully self-sufficient. You will not have to worry about them foraging around the yard.
Prairie Bluebell Egger Egg Production and Broodiness
Although it is very rare, you may find that your Prairie Bluebell Egger hens decide to be mothers and go broody. It is not common, but it does sometimes happen. However, if you decide to let your Prairie Bluebell Egger hens hatch those eggs, you are not going to get another round of Prairie Bluebell Eggers. Hybrids never breed true. You are going to get another hybrid or something closer to the original parents — either an Araucana or Leghorn.
In the end, though, you are still getting a prolific egg layer. Once matured, a Prairie Bluebell Egger lays around 280 large blue eggs annually. They will continue laying that much until 2 or 3 years old. In comparison, an Araucana will lay up to 260 eggs per year, while Leghorns can lay up to 300 eggs per year.
Prairie Bluebell Eggers start laying eggs a bit later than other hybrids — around 6 months old. However, if you provide your hens with plenty of care and comfy nesting boxes, they may decide to start early, around their 18th week.
Where Do Blue Eggs Come From?
You may be interested in the pretty blue eggs these chickens lay, but do you know where that blue pigment comes from? It’s interesting. The reason hens lay different colored eggs was not known until the genome of a chicken was completely mapped back in 2013.
No one really knows when it happened, but there are certain breeds that had been infected with a retrovirus. The Dongxiang, Lushi, and Araucana breeds were among those impacted. Each of those lay blue eggs.
The virus attached to the DNA but didn’t do anything to the breeds except assist with the formation of blue pigment. The gene that is responsible for the color is called oocyan. When a chicken has this gene, it enables their liver to produce a pigment known as oocyanin.
Now, have you ever noticed that brown eggs are not brown all the way through usually? That is because the brown pigment only coats the outside of the shell. With oocyanin, the color permeates, making the entire shell blue.
Prairie Bluebell Egger Health Concerns and Issues
Unlike some hybrid chickens, the Prairie Bluebell Egger does not have many known health complications. Since they do lay a lot of eggs, they are at a high risk of developing reproductive issues, including egg binding and cancer. They are also vulnerable to the same conditions as all other chickens, including parasites and a variety of viruses and bacteria. In order to keep your Prairie Bluebell Eggers as healthy as possible, take them to a veterinarian regularly for their vaccinations.
Prairie Bluebell Eggers need the same clean space, quality food, and clean water as other chickens. Be sure to sweep out the coop to keep them from stepping or sleeping in excrement. Provide fresh water throughout the day. Due to their short combs, Prairie Bluebell Eggers are tolerant to both the heat and cold. They are at less of risk of frostbite, but they are not built for extreme temperatures.
That said, there is not much you have to worry about with these chickens. Once they have food and a place to forage, they will be happy.
Caring For Your Prairie Bluebell Egger
The easygoing nature of these chickens makes them a wonderful addition to your backyard or farm. They are fairly simple to care for, but here are some tips to take out the guesswork:
Prairie Bluebell Eggers are an adaptable breed. They love their space and roaming around, but when it comes to the coop, they are also rather tolerant. In the coop, provide them with around 4-6 square feet per bird. In the summer, they may need a little extra space. Make sure you also have some roosts at varying heights, since these birds like to hop around.
As with most chickens, a couple of nesting boxes with a space of 12×12 inches is more than enough. Make sure you have a nesting box for every 3 hens.
Since Prairie Bluebell Eggers are on the smaller side (around 4-5 pounds when mature), they do not need as much feed as those larger breeds. That said, feeding them is similar to most other breeds. When first starting out, you want to give your chicks a high quality starter that is made of at least 20% protein. Around six weeks old, you can switch to a feed with 16-18% protein.
Around 18-20 weeks old, you can change to an adult layer feed with 16% protein. While high quality chicken feed has everything your flock needs to be healthy, they are going to want more. Let your Prairie Bluebell Eggers free range for a little. They will pick up bugs, seeds, and other things to supplement their diet. Once in a while, you can also toss them some fresh fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, clean and cool water is a must.
Final Thoughts on the Prairie Bluebell Egger
Despite being a relatively new breed on the block, the Prairie Blue Egger chicken has already gained a massive amount of popularity. These chickens are a lovely addition to your flock, as they lay up to 280 large blue eggs per year. Selling those colored eggs is a novelty, and so you can bank on these birds. Plus, Prairie Bluebell Eggers tend to have wonderful personalities and a variety of colors. What’s not to love?
Valerie has been content writing since 2016 for websites and companies all around the world. A traveler, dancer, martial artist, Valerie loves gathering experiences and wisdom. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, and she hopes to see more of the world soon.