My favorite breeds of chickens are Jersey Giant and Buff Orphington. I like big chickens and I can-not lie.
But like many of you out there, we don’t just keep two breeds of chicken. We have a variety. A confetti of feather colors, patterns and plumage that is as different to each bird as is their quirky personalities.
Much of the reason we keep so many different chickens is because I enjoy a colorful egg basket almost as much as a colorful flock.
While Jersey Giants and Buffs are at my heart, (They’re just so plump and hearty. You want to wrap your arms around them!) If I only gathered eggs from these two breeds, while they’d be large, the eggs would be rather… brown.
Here is a list of breeds that will help liven up your nesting boxes.
If you want white eggs and a lot of them then keep a couple Leghorns.
They are our best layers and lay perfect large eggs almost all year long.
Aracauna and Crème Legbars lay blue eggs. Which might sound unusual, but when you think about it, many wild birds like Robins lay blue eggs.
Easter Eggers lay green eggs, but not all of them. Depending on the genetic make up of the chicken, they could also lay pink or blue.
The chickens that lay olive colored eggs are a mix between a chicken that lays a green egg (like an Easter Egger) and a chicken that lays a brown egg. You can deepen the shade of olive as you deepen the shade of the brown egg layer.
For example, a French Black Copper Maran lays a dark chocolate egg. This, bred to an Aracauna, will result in a chicken that lays a deep olive egg. To learn more about breeding Oliver Eggers check out my post Olive Eggs.
Brown covers the color of most chicken eggs. But there are many different shades of brown ranging from a light tan to a burgundy chocolate. Some have peachy tones while others are almost mauve.
Wyandottes lay a light pink-brown egg
Rhode Island Reds lay a medium true brown egg
Buff Orphington and Sussex lay a light brown
If you want a nice, rich brown egg in your basket each morning then try to Welsummer or Kuckoo Maran breeds. Welsummers also tend to lay speckled eggs which is an added enjoyment.
Deepest Chocolate Brown
The French Black Copper Maran lays the darkest egg of all chicken breeds. Until a few years ago this breed was difficult to find and a breeding pair would go for hundreds of dollars. The dark eggs are prized by French chefs because of the deep orange yolks and rich flavor.
The French Breeders of Marans created a depth of color scale with 1 being the lightest and 9 being the deepest shade, almost a burgundy color shell. This scale is used to describe the average color that each hen lays. It helps with breeding and choosing birds to purchase.
Our Marans lay around a 6 or 7 color.
A Maran also goes through a seasonal cycle with their egg color. In the beginning of the cycle she will lay the darkest eggs, then they will lighten as she gets closer to moult. In the spring she will resume laying dark eggs. As she ages, the average color of her eggs will lighten as the years go by.
For more information about Marans read my post. Marans, the Chocolate Egg Layer
What colors are in your egg basket? Share photo and stories by leaving a comment below, or visit the Community Chickens Facebook Page.