Chickens are amazing creatures with the ability to lay nutritious eggs of all different colors.
In the past chickens could only lay white eggs, but these days you can find chickens that produce a rainbow of egg colors.
From light blue, to pink, green, and even purple!
Do you want to add a chicken to your flock that can lay a chocolate or a pretty purple egg?
Below we have put together chicken egg colors charts to help you find your perfect breed.
Keep on reading to learn more about which breeds lay colorful eggs…
Related: What Color Eggs Can Chickens Lay?
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Chicken Egg Colors 101
All chicken eggs start out as white.
Next time you crack open a brown egg, take a look inside the shell – it will be white. This is because any color on an egg is deposited only on the outside of the shell.
As the egg travels through the hen’s reproductive tract the color is added to the shell.
The color is deposited onto the egg shell in the form of a pigment. The two main pigments we know of are protoporphyrin IX (brown) and oocyanin (blue). You may have chickens that lay green, pink, or even purple eggs, but all of these colors are some mix of protoporphyrin IX and oocyanin on top of a white egg.
Blue eggs, for example, only have oocyanin deposited on them, while brown eggs only have protoporphyrin IX.
The shade of these colors will vary depending on the number of pigment layers.
A tinted egg will only have a few thin layers of color, whereas more layers of a single pigment will darken the color.
Lots of chickens naturally produce protoporphyrin IX, but this is not the case for blue eggs.
Blue eggs were introduced through the spread of an infectious retrovirus that permanently altered some breeds’ DNA. Not to worry though; blue eggs are completely safe to eat.
This retrovirus simply changed the egg pigmentation.
Chicken Egg Colors Chart
By Most Popular Breed
|Rhode Island Red
By Egg Color
|Chicken Egg Colors
|Ameraucana, Araucana, Cream Legbar, and Whiting True Blue
|Australorp, Basque, Black Sex Link, Blue Laced Red Wyandotte, Brahma, Buckeye, Buff Orpington, Chantecler, Cherry Egger, Cinnamon Queen, Cochin, Columbian Wyandotte, Cornish Cross, Delaware, Dominique, Faverolles, Golden Comet, Golden Laced Wyandotte, Iowa Blue, ISA Brown, Java, Jersey Giant, Lavender Orpington, Light Brahma, Malay, New Hampshire, Oroloff, Orpington, Plymouth Rock, Red Ranger, Red Sex Link, Rhode Island Red, Shamo, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Speckled Sussex, Sussex, Turken (Naked Neck), White Rock, and Wyandotte
|Black Copper Maran, Barnvelder, Cuckoo Maran, and Welsummer
|Easter Eggers, Favaucana, Isbar, and Olive Eggers
|Barred Rocks, Faverolles, Java, and Orpingtons
|Altsteirer, Ancona, Andalusian, Appenzeller, Austra White, Ayam Cemani, Barbu d’Uccle, Booted Bantam, Brabanter, Breda, Bresse, Brown Leghorn, Campine, Catalana, Crevecoeur, Cubalaya, Derbyshire Redcap, Dorking, Dutch Bantam, Egyptian Fayoumi, Frizzle, Hamburg, Houdan, Icelandic, Jaerhon, Marsh Daisy, Minorca, Nankin, Old English Game, Onagadori, Pekin Bantam, Phoenix, Polish, Red Jungle Fowl, Sebright, Serama, Sicilian Buttercup, Silkie, Sultan, Sumatra, Swedish Black Hen, Swedish Flower Hen, Thuringian, Tomaru, Vorwerk, White Faced Black Spanish, White Leghorn, and Yokohama
What Color Eggs Can Chickens Lay?
If you have had eggs before then it is almost guaranteed that you have cracked open a classic white egg.
Out of all the egg colors, white is by far the most common naturally.
It is also the easiest egg color origin to explain.
Unlike the other egg colors on this list, white eggs have no pigment. The pigment layering process simply does not occur in the oviducts of white egg laying hens. The eggs are white because they are mainly made up of calcium carbonate and calcium carbonate is a naturally white mineral.
After white eggs, brown eggs are the most common color.
The pigment protoporphyrin IX causes the brown egg shells.
Protoporphyrin IX is produced naturally by lots of chickens and is deposited on the egg as it travels through the oviduct. It is deposited onto the egg in multiple layers, as only a few layers will create a tinted egg rather than a fully brown one.
Brown eggs are considered to be more of a tan to medium brown color, as chocolate brown eggs are much rarer.
The chocolate brown egg color is rare in the world of poultry.
Not many chickens are capable of laying a chocolate brown egg, yet a chocolate brown egg can add so much color to your basket!
Marans are gaining in popularity and are prized for their chocolate brown eggs.
The chocolate brown color is still created by the layering of protoporphyrin IX over the white egg in the oviduct. Unlike regular brown eggs, there are more layers of the pigment than normal, and this causes the rich chocolate coloration.
Blue eggs have a very different origin story to white or brown eggs.
A retrovirus caused a genetic change within the chickens that caught it, and this meant chickens could now lay blue shelled eggs. This change occurred with the mutation of the chickens’ chromosome 1, with the dominant oocyan allele taking the place of the previous, non-blue allele.
Oocyan is also the name of the pigment that causes the blue coloration on eggshells.
This pigment process occurs in the same way as with a brown egg, except oocyan replaces the protoporphyrin IX.
Green, or olive, eggs are beautiful.
You can find green eggs in two shades, the green itself which tends to align closely with blue eggs as they are both a light pastel shade, and olive.
The olive shade is more of a mossy green that is much darker.
Both green eggs are made by chickens who contain a genetic disposition for both protoporphyrin IX and oocyan.
When the time comes to add pigment onto the shell, both protoporphyrin IX and oocyan are layered onto the white egg. This combination creates a lovely green color. The less protoporphyrin IX, the lighter the green will be.
Pink eggs are one of the rarest egg colors around!
They are only laid by chickens that traditionally lay cream eggs. You may have noticed that there is no mention of cream eggs on this list, that is because cream is incredibly close to white in color and falls under the white egg category.
Unlike the other chicken egg colors we have talked about so far, the pink color is not caused by pigment.
Instead, pink eggs are created by the cuticle of the egg only being created 4-6 hours before the egg is laid – this is considered late.
The thickness of the bloom will decide how pink the egg will be. The thicker the bloom the pinker the egg.
Purple or plum chicken eggs are very similar to pink eggs, but are even rarer.
Although there are several breeds that can lay pink eggs, there are almost no breeds with the ability to consistently lay purple eggs.
Purple eggs are created due to the cuticle being applied late during the egg formation process.
Unlike the pink egg, however, pigment is involved. Purple eggs can only be laid by chickens who traditionally lay brown eggs. This means that any chicken with a genetic disposition for protoporphyrin IX can lay a purple egg.
The shade of purple will depend on how thick the bloom is. The thicker the bloom, the darker the purple.
When asked to think of chickens, it is likely that you will think of eggs as well. The two go hand in hand. Eggs have enabled us to integrate chickens into our history via agriculture.
As backyard chicken keepers today, we have it easy when it comes to finding the right breed to get the eggs we want.
Whether you want a chocolate colored egg, or a pretty pink egg, there is always a breed out there for everyone.
Just remember that there is much more to each breed than their egg color.
Make sure to do plenty of research on the breed you are interested in. Different chickens suit different types of people, environments, and levels of care.
There will always be a breed that is just right for you, it is just a matter of finding them.
Did you learn something new about egg colors today?
Let us know in the comments section below…