By Kimberly Willis, Robert T. Ludlow

Like the brown-egg layers, the colored-egg layers are also popular with home flock owners. Colored-egg layers are a novelty. Despite catalogs that show eggs in a rainbow of colors, their eggs are actually shades of blue and blue-green.

Sometimes brown-egg layers whose eggs are a creamy light brown are said to lay yellow eggs. Pink, red, and purple eggs are said to exist, but these colors are generally caused by odd pigment mistakes and often aren’t repeated. Some colors also are in the eye of the beholder (or the camera exposure), and what you call pink someone else may call light reddish-brown.

  • Ameraucana: The origin of the Ameraucana is debatable: Some say it developed from the Araucana (see the next bullet), whereas others say it developed from other South American breeds that lay blue eggs. Ameraucanas come in many colors.

    They have puffs of feathers or muffs at the side of the head, and some have beards. They have tails, which help distinguish them from Araucanas. Their temperament varies; however, many will sit on eggs. The eggs are blue or blue-green.

  • Araucana: This breed of chicken is seldom seen in its purebred form. Many chickens sold as Araucana are actually mixes, so buyer beware. Purebred Araucanas have no tail feathers. Either they have tuffs, small puffs of feathers at the ears, instead of large “muff” clumps or they’re clean faced.

    They don’t have beards, and they have pea combs. Most have willow (gray-green) legs. The breed has many color variations. Araucanas lay small blue to blue-green eggs and are not terribly prolific layers. They’re calm and make good brooders.

  • Easter Egger: These birds are mutts in the world of chickens because no one is quite sure of their background. They’re usually a combination of the previous breeds and maybe some other South American blue-egg layers or other layers. They can be a bit more prolific in egg laying, but the egg color and temperament of the birds, as well as their adult body color, range greatly. They lay shades of blue, blue-green, and olive eggs.

    [Credit: Illustration by Barbara Frake]

    Credit: Illustration by Barbara Frake