Olive Egger Chickens All You Need To Know: Eggs, Appearance, and More…

Olive Egger Chickens are a friendly and docile breed.

They are best known for their beautiful pastel green eggs.

However, these chickens are technically not a breed, they are a hybrid.

To create an Olive Egger you need to cross a male, brown-laying chicken with a female, blue-laying chicken. The result is an Olive Egger with a large variation in egg color, including rare olive/green colored eggs.

Are you interested in keeping this breed?

Keep reading as we discuss their appearance, egg laying, personality and much more…

Sapphire Olive Egger Chicken

Olive Egger Chickens Overview

Olive Egger Chicken Hen

The Olive Egger Chicken is a hybrid.

They are a cross between a blue and a brown egg layer. Some of the most common crosses are:

  • Ameraucana x Maran
  • Legbar x Barnevelder
  • Araucana x Welsummer
  • Legbar x Maran
  • Ameraucana x Barnevelder
  • Araucana x Maran
  • Ameraucana x Welsummer
  • Legbar x Welsummer
  • Araucana x Barnevelder
  • Whiting True Blue x Welsummer (for egg speckling)

This unique breed has sparked quite the interest in many backyard flocks as the demand for colored eggs has been on the rise.

Olive Egger Hens will lay beautiful olive green eggs – similar to Easter Eggers.

You can expect anywhere from 3-4 of these eggs a week (about 140-200 per year).

They are incredibly adaptable and capable of withstanding both cold winters and hot summers. These chickens also tend to have a good temperament, but this will depend on the parent breeds and their temperament.

Overall if you are looking for a docile hen that lays colored eggs then this could be the breed for you.

Their egg laying and peaceful temperament are some of the main reasons backyard chicken owners choose to keep Olive Eggers, and farmers dating back to 1842 have chosen to breed them.

Olive Egger Chickens
Beginner Friendly: Yes.
Lifespan: 8 years.
Weight: Hen (6.5lb) and Rooster (7.5lb).
Color: Black and/or Gray.
Egg Production: 3-4 per week.
Egg Color: Green/Olive.
Known For Broodiness: Yes.
Good With Children: Yes.
Cost of Chicken: $4-$9.

Appearance

Olive Egger Chicks

The Olive Egger Chicken is often just as beautiful as they are unique.

There is not technically an official breed standard besides their egg color, so their exact appearance will depend largely on the breed of the parents.

Blue egg laying breeds such as Ameraucanas, Araucanas, and Legbars are often bred with brown egg laying breeds such as Marans, Barnevelders, and Welsummers.

As these breeds are generally on the darker side, Olive Eggers will often hatch with a black or gray plumage.

Olive Eggers are not exceptionally large chickens and are around the average size for a non-Bantam chicken, with hens weighing in around 6-7lbs and roosters around 7-8lbs.

It is also fairly common to find them with features such as bears and muffs. However some hybrids do not have these features. If you are looking for a great deal of diversity in appearance with your flock then the Olive Egger is the breed for you!

Hen vs Rooster

Olive Eggers are auto-sexing which means they can be sexed at hatching.

When your Olive Eggers hatch they will all appear black. However you will often be able to observe a white dot on the top of the male’s head, whereas you will not observe one on the female.

Additionally, the wingtip of a 12-hour old female will have alternating long and short pin feathers; the long pin feathers identify the female. For the first couple weeks, female chickens will grow feathers more quickly than males making this an easy way to sex your chicks if the white spot method fails you or if you are just looking to double check.

Size and Weight

Olive Egger hens weigh about 6.5lbs and roosters weigh about 7.5lbs.

What Is It Like To Own An Olive Egger?

Olive Egger Chick

Olive Eggers are genetically diverse so they can have a wide range of personalities.

In general, however, they are known to be mellow and friendly.

They often have a better temperament than their parent breeds.

Olive Egger Chickens that are bred from Welsummers are very intelligent and are known for being broody.

They love to roam and peck around your backyard for treats! While this gives them more space to explore it also makes them more vulnerable to predators so make sure to protect them.

Temperament

It can be hard to predict an Oliver Egger’s personality because it will mainly depend on their parents’ lineage.

The best way to determine your Olive Egger’s temperament will be to assess their parents. Although it is not a sure-fire method, it is your best bet when it comes to a breed with such variable genetics.

If the parents are known to go broody, behave well with young children, or get on with other chickens, then that is your best indicator of their temperament.

For example, Marans are a popular brown egg laying breed that are often used to make Olive Eggers and are more reserved than your typical chicken. Ameraucanas, which are a popular blue laying breed, are often used in the breeding of Olive Eggers and are typically more nervous and skittish.

These characteristics could carry over to your Olive Egger.

Generally the positive temperament of both hens and roosters makes Olive Eggers easy and beginner-friendly.

They are well known for being docile and friendly and typically do not create much of a fuss.

Olive Egger Roosters are actually known to be quite docile too.

Egg Colors and Production

Olive Egger Chicken Eggs

They are very popular for their unique egg colors. This unique egg color is typically the most common reason why backyard chicken enthusiasts seek them out.

Olive Egger Chicken eggs are olive green.

You can expect them to lay around 3-4 each week, which can add up to around 200 per year.

These are medium to large sized eggs.

You should expect your Olive Eggers to start laying their beautiful unique eggs as early as 5 months old.

Egg Production
Eggs Per Week: 3-4 Eggs.
Color: Olive or Green.
Size: Medium to Large.

Noise Levels

Olive Eggers are quite chatty although they are not generally too loud about it.

Like all things with this breed however, you are never quite sure what you are going to get! Some may rarely cluck whereas others are loud and like to make their presence known.

However, if noise level is important for you then make sure to research the parent fowl of the Olive Egger(s) you plan to add to your flock. Try to pick Olive Eggers from more docile and quiet parent breeds.

Olive Egger Care Guide

Olive Egger Rooster and Hen
Olive Egger Rooster and Hen

Those considering adding Olive Eggers to their flock will be happy to learn that this bird is not prone to many common diseases and health issues.

The biggest concern with this breed are mites and lice.

Tiny mites can be hard to notice and are common pests that can be easily overlooked and missed. Parasites like mites and lice accumulate quickly if neglected, so your Olive Eggers should be checked and cleaned regularly. Consider changing their bedding often.

Overall, however, Olive Eggers are not prone to any underlying conditions.

Feeding

Besides their unique egg coloring, there is one additional feature that all Olive Eggers share – they sure do love to eat!

No matter the parent fowl, their nutritional needs will be the same.

You should give them a high quality chick starter feed until about 16 weeks of age, and then transition to a complete laying feed.

Calcium supplements are also a good idea if you want strong egg shells.

Your Olive Eggers also will not mind fresh produce like fruits and vegetables once in a while for treats. For more treat ideas, read What Can Chickens Eat.

They will also need clean and fresh water at all times. Making sure that your chickens’ water does not freeze over in the cold will ensure your Olive Eggers are not dehydrated. Although temperatures may not be as hot in the winter, it is still important that your chickens are well hydrated during these times.

Coop Setup and Roaming

These chickens should each have 4 square feet of coop space. Overcrowding can lead to bullying and feather pecking which are behaviors that should always be avoided in any flock.

A standard sized nesting box of 12x12x12 will be enough. Try to include one nesting box for every 3 chickens. Nesting boxes give your Olive Eggers a safe and comfortable place to lay their beautiful olive green eggs.

This inquisitive and hungry breed will thrive if given the space to do so. Ten square feet of run space per chicken would be ideal. Consider if letting your chickens free range is the best decision, though they are not particularly picky birds.

Olive Eggers love to roam and look for food on the ground, which makes them more susceptible to predators as they forage. This means they need adequate protection when you are considering their coop setup. Though this can be said for nearly every chicken breed, Olive Egger owners should install a durable fence to keep predators at bay and your birds as safe as possible.

Breed History

Olive Eggers are made by cross breeding a blue egg layer with a brown egg layer.

This unique cross breeding began around 1842, when the Chinese were transporting goods, including poultry, into England.

Cross breeding was quickly taken up by farmers looking for specific traits in their chicken flocks.

It was widely known as hen fever.

Farmers experimented during this time and bred a variety of new chickens, resulting in lots of new cross breeds. Eventually, more robust and adaptable chicken breeds were developed, the Olive Egger being one of them in 1842.

Currently, there are no Olive Egger varieties recognized by the American Poultry Association as they are not technically a true breed. Also, classifying them would prove to be a difficult feat considering parent fowl can be variable.

Although they are robust and do well in a variety of climates, their one truly distinctive and most sought-after trait is their olive colored eggs.

Their unique eggs have been in high demand since their discovery and do not seem to be on the decline in popularity any time soon!

Pictures of Olive Egger Chickens

Summary

Keeping chickens for their egg laying abilities is a simple pleasure.

Coming across an egg with a unique color variety is an even greater pleasure!

The Olive Egger chicken continues to be in high demand because of their olive green eggs. They can provide you with over 200 uniquely colored eggs a year, especially if given the space to forage to their heart’s content.

Their olive colored eggs and wide variety of plumage make them stand out in a way other breeds can only try to measure up to.

Does this breed sound like the right fit for your backyard flock?

Let us know in the comments section below…

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and is interested in backyard chicken health and care.

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