If you’re a newbie chook keeper, you’re probably as intrigued as we were when we first heard of them. Do they really exist? What kinds of chickens lay them? What makes them blue? Do they taste different? Lucky for you, not only do we have a sticky beak for all things chook, we also are the research nerds from school all grown-up and have discovered a whole new world of color outside that of the typical white and brown.
So if we’ve pecked your interest (pun absolutely intended) and you’re keen on being the coolest auntie at next year’s Easter egg hunt (or wouldn’t mind trading these blue beauties for some extra spending greens at your local farmer’s market) read on!
In this guide…
- Do they exist?
- The hens that lay them.
- Cream Legbar
- What makes them blue?
- What about other colors?
- Are they as healthy as regular eggs?
- Do they taste different?
- Let’s reflect!
So… do they exist?
Not only do they exist; they also exist in, green, pink and speckled! Easter egg dying just got a whole lot easier!
The hens that lay them.
Chicks and gentle-hens, meet the blue breeder group! Otherwise known as the Araucana, Cream Legbar, and Ameraucana chickens. This lovely little trio is responsible for producing our favourite kind of sapphire gem… the blue egg. Their pigments range from a pale sky to a deep ocean blue color; seeping past its brilliant exterior into the very inside of the shell! This blue pigment is also egg-specially resilient and will not fade with washing like other pigments do.
Originally from the Araucania region of Chile (hence the name) these ladies are the foundation for every blue-egger breed – the bona fide grandmama hens! They are a rare breed due to a tufting gene that sadly causes quite a low hatch rate… but that doesn’t make the survivors fragile! Rambunctious and lively birds, they also have a speedy maturation rate that keeps them in good stead.
They have peduncles (tufts of feathers) that grow around their ears; sometimes so pronounced they can look like curly little French mustaches! Ooh la la! You can also peck them out of the coop by their rumpless bottoms and small pea combs (little note: the smaller pea combs make them less likely to develop frostbite). Males average around 5 lbs. and females average at 4 lbs. – making them one of the smaller breeds.
These momma hens are known to be quite maternal which can make them a bit broody on occasion but also great people birds; energetic and playful enough to keep up with the kiddos! But be warned, their lively spirits are born free rangers and need room for lots of egg-sploration!
You can expect Araucanas to lay about 150 – 180 medium-sized blue bum nuggets per year; during the spring and summer months.
Clucky for more information? We’ve scratched a bit more off the surface and posted more Araucana details here.
Sound familiar? That’s because American researchers decided to experiment breeding American breeds with the Araucana bloodline to both preserve the gene responsible for the blue pigmented eggs and eliminate the lethal tufting gene responsible for the Araucana’s low hatch rate. Creating… the Ameraucana! Recognised by the APA (American Poultry Association) and the ABA (American Bantam Association) since the 80s.
What separates these hens from other blue eggers is their big bottomed tail feathers (while breeds like the Araucana are known to be rumpless); and their blue slate shanks and bottoms. Otherwise, they can be quite similar to their closely related Araucana with their extra-fluffy peduncle muffs! Little note: it is common for hatcheries to trick buyers into purchasing Americanas (note spelling) which are different to Ameraucanas. So buyers beware!
This breed can be misunderstood as there are a variety of Ameraucana temperaments… but typically they are lively, curious and love to flap their wings in the great outdoors! So although they do tolerate confinement, to reduce stress, it is best to allow them to free range. Afterall, as the saying goes… “happy hen, happy pen”! Or something like that.
Ameraucanas are one of the more productive egg laying breeds – laying up to 300 eggs a year at 53 – 60 grams each! Those are some big blue beauties!
If you’re peckish for more, pop over to here for another well-researched Ameraucana post!
This royal clucker was first bred in England with its bloodline being a mix of Leghorn, Barred Plymouth Rock and (of course) Araucana chickens. The British cousin of the Ameraucana and daughter to the original Araucana, if you will. Although it’s not yet recognised by the APA, it is recognised for its blue egg breeding abilities!
Crowned by the inherited small Araucana pea comb but feathered in creams and greys (the defining characteristic that named her) the Cream Legbar is slightly easier to pluck out of the coop from the rest of the blue egg breeders. They are also quite muscular and have yellow shanks.
It seems there are two strains that exhibit two different kinds of behavior: one being quite friendly and gentle, the other being more skittish and wild. However, like other blue egg breeders it does follow the trend of being happiest in open spaces with the freedom to free range.
Expect your Cream Legbar to lay around 200 blueish-green eggs per year.
And of course, here is another interesting, in-depth article if you’re keen to know more about our royal momma hen!
What makes them blue?
Without getting too science-y, popular country-living blog Mr. Animal Farm explains…
“In order to make the eggs a different color, there it is laid onto the egg shell. The eggs start as a white egg and as it is being formed it basically has a pigment put on it. This pigment, called oocyanin, takes the white egg and turns it into a blue egg. This color change happens as the egg is being formed in the chicken’s oviduct”.
Still keen for more details? We know you’re totally secretly nerding out right now! Check out their Youtube video below:
What about other colors?
We’re glad you asked! As promised, these real life Easter eggs don’t just stop at blue! If you’re keen to spread your wings to pinker, greener and more speckled pastures find all the knowledge you need here to add these egg-tra special bum nuggets to your coop!
Are these colorful eggs as healthy as regular eggs?
It was once fabled that blue eggs had magically lower cholesterol than regular white and brown eggs but this theory has been debunked by scientists. Nevertheless, these psychedelic beauties are sure to impress health nuts and junk foodies alike!
And now for the final, most important question…
Do they taste different?
When we first realised there was such a thing as blue eggs our inner eight-year-olds jumped for joy at the thought of the weird and wonderful possibility of blue scrambled eggs for breakfast. But alas, these blue eggs scramble and fry the exact flavor and color as the rest of them!
Totally bummed out? I know so were we.
It did however, make our day to find out that in Dr. Seuss’s magical land of rhyme there is such a thing as green eggs and ham to try… in a boat, in a plane, in a car, with a crane…
Okay but seriously.
Were you as excited as we were to learn about these real life Easter eggs?? Enough to get clucky about expanding your roost and be the talk of the block?
If so, we’ve got more to offer than just egg-cellent egg puns… peck on over to the egg-sperts at Chickenpedia (the egg puns stop here we promise) who’ve created an amazing Chicken Breeds Course. This extensive online course shares even more in depth knowledge on how to choose the right chickens for you as well as size, color & frequency of eggs laid. You’ll even learn about their individual personalities, and be able to use their family friendly compatibility scale through this well structured program. It really is a great way to find your perfect backyard buddies which is why we highly recommend them to all of our readers! The courses are beginner friendly and filled with vital information to help you raise a happy, healthy flock.
Let us know how you go! We want to hear from you!
We know your head is now full of new information on all things blue, green, pink and clucky! So to summarize briefly (so your next Easter egg hunt, farmers market booth, or breakfast egg basket is off to a colorful start), we’ll touch on the important key factors learned. The momma hens to these blue beauties are the Araucanas, Ameraucanas and Cream Legbars! They are all connected back to the ancient Araucana breed (the original blue egg layer) so they have both individual and related characteristics; but most importantly they all lay those beautiful, blue, bum nuggets! There are also other rainbow egg breeders you can learn more about here. One last note, these real life Easter eggs are as healthy and taste exactly the same as traditional white and brown eggs!
So Happy Easter egging!