Chickens that lay blue eggs are few and far between.
In fact there are only eight breeds that are capable of laying blue eggs.
Some of these breeds you may be familiar with, but other breeds are very rare and hard to find.
Whatever your reason for wanting blue egg layers, they are just as lovable as regular backyard chickens – they just happen to be a little bit more special.
Keep reading to learn which breeds lay blue eggs and how to care for them…
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8. Cream Legbar
The Cream Legbar is one of the most popular blue egg laying chickens.
They were first bred back in 1931 which Barred Rocks, Leghorns, Araucanas and Gold penciled Hamburgs were crossed together.
At the time the real excitement of this breed was the cream color.
This color had never been seen before. At this time the breed was not really that popular as blue eggs were a bit of an oddity. By the 1970s the Cream Legbar had almost become extinct but a growing interest in multi-colored eggs saved the day.
Although they are still fairly uncommon the Cream Legbar is now more popular because of their blue eggs. So if you are looking for blue egg layers then the Cream Legbar comes highly recommended.
This is a medium sized breed with roosters weighing 7.5lb and hens weighing 6lb.
They are fairly independent and much prefer to free range rather than being kept in confinement. In fact confinement can make them flighty, anxious and difficult to handle.
Hens will lay around 4 light blue eggs each week (approximately 200+ eggs each year).
Interestingly the chicks are auto-sexing which means that you can tell the sexes apart at hatching.
Overall Legbars are quite robust and low maintenance chickens that are docile and friendly.
7. Arkansas Blue
The Arkansas Blue Chicken is an experimental breed from the University of Arkansas.
Here Dr Keith Bramwell mixed a Leghorn with a Araucana to create a blue egg laying chicken.
The Arkansas Blue is a medium sized chicken that lays eggs very well. Hens will lay between 200-300 pale blue eggs each year.
These chickens look similar to a Sumatra with pale blue/gray feathering and a pea comb.
Several years ago I had two of these chickens in my flock. Unfortunately they were flighty, independent and hated humans.
However more recently this breed has been further refined and their disposition should be better.
The Lushi chicken also comes from China.
This is a small chicken with hens only weighing around 3lb (1.3kg)
They have a multi-colored plumage and there is no set standard for this breed.
You can expect them to lay a medium sized egg – this rare chicken can lay either blue or pink eggs.
However they are poor layers and can only lay around 2 eggs each week (around 100 eggs per year).
The Dongxiang chicken is mainly found in the sub-tropical Jiangxi province of South East China.
This ancient breed is a fibromelanistic bird which means their skin is black.
Perhaps the most well known fibromelanistic chicken is the Ayam Cemani. The Dongxiang is a similar color to the Ayam Cemani but not as dark in color. Because of the unique color of their skin they are considered healthy and healing back in China.
This is a small breed with roosters only weighing 3.5lb and hens weighing 3lb.
Sadly this breed is not a great egg layer.
Hens will lay around 2-3 blue eggs each week.
However recent breeding programs have created a partridge colored Dongxiang that is capable of laying 3-4 eggs each week.
4. Whiting True Blue
What has fishing got to do with chickens?
With the Whiting True Blue – everything.
A gentleman by the name of Henry Hoffman was an avid fly fisherman who happened to raise chickens on his parents’ farm.
He would select the best hackle feathers available and use them for his award winning ties. In the 1960s he noted that the quality of feathers available commercially was pretty poor so he started breeding his own chickens to have a superior feather to use.
Mr Hoffman met Professor Whiting and they agreed to start a business together. Professor Whiting was a poultry geneticist and was interested in genetics and husbandry.
The enterprise flourished producing high quality feathers for fly tying and a line of birds that produced blue eggs – the Whiting True Blue.
This breed is not yet officially recognized so you can find them in a variety of colors as there is no set standard. You can expect a medium sized chicken with roosters weighing 7lb and hens weighing 5.5lb.
Hens are good layers and will produce 200+ medium blue eggs each year.
The Whiting is said to have a good tempered and is tolerant of other breeds – they prefer to free range rather than being kept in confinement.
The South American Araucana is considered to be the first blue egg layer in the Western hemisphere.
This breed was created by mixing two other breeds (the Collonocas and the Quetros).
The native tribe of Mapuche Indians had been breeding and domesticating these birds for many years before they were discovered by civilization. This breeds’ history is intriguing yet vague.
There is much speculation about the origin of the original chickens. Many theories have been put forward including contact between the Polynesian peoples and the Chilean natives making the Rapanui chicken a possible ancestor.
Depending on which country you live in the Araucana can be rumpless (or not) and tufted (or not). Here in the US it is also known as the South American rumples bird.
Those that are rumpless look like they have no tail.
Their ear tufts are also notable and extravagant.
The tufting gene responsible for those tufts is also a lethal gene. If both parents of the chick have the gene it decrease fertility dramatically and many chicks die in shell. This rumpless gene also reduces fertility so breeding Araucanas can be a challenge.
However they are a friendly and intelligent breed that loves to free range. They can get cranky and anxious in confinement.
Araucana hens will give you around 3 light blue eggs each week – or around 150-200 eggs each year.
The Ameraucana was developed from the Araucana with the intention of keeping their blue eggs but removing the lethal genes from the breed.
It took many years and much patience for the Ameraucana to emerge as a success story and in 1984 this breed was admitted to the American Poultry Association.
This is another breed that depending on which country you live in has some variables.
In several other countries the Easter Egger and Ameraucana are considered the same breed.
The Ameraucana must have a beard, muffs and a tail to reach the APA standard here in the US.
Again this is a small breed with roosters weighing up to 6.5lb and hens weighing 5.5lb.
Hens are not prolific layers but will produce 3-4 blue eggs each week (around 150-180 per year).
They are very good foragers and prefer to free range but will tolerate confinement fairly well. Overall this is a friendly, docile and intelligent breed.
1. Easter Egger
The Easter Egger is a backyard favorite because of their lovable and friendly nature.
With a little encouragement and plenty of treats this sweet bird can become a lap chicken in no time.
They are are quite similar in appearance to Ameraucanas. Some may have muffs, beards and tails while others may have none or some of those features.
Someone once described Easter Eggers as Ameraucanas that do not conform to the standard.
In the US Easter Eggers are not actually recognized as a breed.
This breed is great with kids as they are very gentle, docile and always curious about things.
They are a low maintenance chicken that will tolerate confinement or free range with equal grace. This breed is a little on the small side with roosters only weighing 5lb and hens weighing 4lb. However they are a vigorous and healthy breed with few problems to note.
You can expect the hens to lay around 200 eggs each year – roughly 4 per week.
Although Easter Eggers have the blue egg gene they can lay anything from a pale pink to a blue egg, so be aware you may not get blue eggs from your hens.
Why Do Some Chickens Lay Blue Eggs?
Why is it that so few chicken breeds lay blue eggs?
It all has to do with a virus – a retrovirus to be precise.
At some point in ancient history a retrovirus infected the Mapuche (Araucana) chickens. A similar but different retrovirus invaded the Dongxiang and Lushi as well.
This retrovirus contained Ribonucleic Acid which inserts itself into the invaded organism and rewrites their DNA profile.
So now instead of laying a regular white or brown egg, the script has been changed to a blue egg.
You can read more here if you are trying to understand the mechanism behind the blue egg phenomenon.
Tips For Keeping Chickens Laying Eggs
In order for your chickens to lay eggs you need to keep them healthy.
A key part of this is housekeeping.
Spring and Fall are the two major clean ups of the year.
You should remove all the old bedding and sanitize the coop with Virkon or white vinegar mixture. Scrub down the walls, nesting boxes and sprinkle liberally with poultry dust.
While you are in the coop you should check for any small entry points for mice, rats and weasels. Check all window coverings to ensure that they cannot be removed by raccoons. Check the perimeters of the run for signs of weakness or digging.
Winter is a harsh time of year for wildlife and they will be looking for easy food – do not let it be your chickens.
During this time you should also check over your chickens for lice or mites.
Although they will be less active during the winter they will still proliferate in the warmth of the coop and make nesting or roosting a miserable experience.
So if you find pests you should treat them.
If you want your chickens to lay through the winter then you will need to provide extra light. Always add extra light in the morning as it is better for the birds and does not strand them outside the coop when it gets dark at night.
The old chestnut of heating the coop is bound to make its annual appearance. Your chickens do not need extra heat in the coop at night providing it is draft free and dry. If you place a thermometer in your coop you should consistently find it a few degrees warmer than outside.
If you absolutely have to have some form of heat then a simple 40watt light bulb enclosed in a protective cage and is well secured should be sufficient.
Finally during Fall it is also the time of year for chickens to molt.
So you will need to feed them a slightly higher protein ration – 20% or better until they are feathering up nicely.
You can also add some electrolyte powder to their water about once a month for an extra boost. Extra nightly treats such as scratch grains or cracked corn will help to keep the birds a bit warmer thorough the night.
As you have learnt most of the breeds that lay blue eggs have been created by mankind.
Mankind has an obsession with improving on nature and chickens that lay blue eggs were no exception.
The only original breeds are the Araucana, Dongxiang and Lushi.
Why these chickens were infected with the retrovirus is anyone’s guess, especially since they are separated by sea and land. Scientists are still searching for the answer.
For a while blue eggs were thought to be nutritionally superior to white or brown eggs but that is not true. They are the same in terms of nutrition. It was a marketing ploy to bring blue eggs to the attention of the public and it seems to have worked.
Many folks now ask for blue eggs and some supermarkets have specialty blue eggs for sale at a premium.
Which blue egg laying chicken is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below…