Monday, February 06, 2012

Egg Color.

People often ask me chicken questions. (Which is good because I HAVE chickens. People used to ask me parenting questions, and I didn't have kids. This at least is a bit more ... umm... in my field of experience?) All sorts of questions. Health related questions, feathers, behavior... but more often than not it's about that mysterious thing that they have and we don't... eggs. Egg size, shape, color...shell thickness, size, color... egg color...

People seem to be most curious about egg color.

Growing up we ate whatever color eggs. I don't know that my parents had *too* much of a preference, although I remember a lot of brown ones when we were living in the states, and white ones when we were in Japan.

Egg color is determined by many things, but mainly chicken breed. Each breed has the color it basically lays, and then each hen has her own shade of said color, with or without speckles, splotches, streaks, stripes, and bumpies. I posted this picture before, but all of these eggs came from 2 types of chicken, and one breed is derived from the other:


Our hens don't vary much in size, and the size of the chicken doesn't seem to make too big of a difference in the size of the egg. The chicken that laid the lightest and hugest egg is the same size as everyone else. But they do have a tendency to lay more or less true to their own pattern...Cindy has a tendency to lay large beige eggs consistently, and Henrietta usually lays a medium egg of a light brown color. One of the Hampies lays the rosy tinted one, and the other lays the light speckled one. I love this shit.

The two main egg colors, white and brown (even though 'brown' is the understatement of the century on this one... ) are nutritionally the same, taste the same, and you can NOT tell by the color of the chicken's feathers. You can (most of the time) by the fleshy bits that are their earlobes. So cool. My chickens do not stay still long enough for much of their bits to be admired, especially not the small ones that are their ears.

Anyway...I came across this post, and so egg color and formation has been on my mind. This is an awesome and super informative post regarding chicken eggs, and I highly encourage you to check it out should you feel so inclined. I have to say that egg color was pretty much on the bottom of my priority list when choosing chickens last year, but I think that this year I do want to add some easter eggers. Because dude. A chicken that lays blue or green or rosey colored eggs is just kinda cool.

But regardless of the color, a chicken is super proud of her accomplishment every time she lays an egg and loudly announces it to the world. After some extremely loud squawking, she leaves the nesting box (you hope she was on the nesting box, and not on the damn couch), her internal egg clock resets, and she forgets the whole thing and goes off in search of the next shiny object or juicy worm to hold her flighty attention.

2 comments:

quilt happy said...

i wont chickens bad but husband says no way. and he would have to build a place for them so i guess i will just admire yours

caitlinvb said...

yes - they definitely do need somewhere to live! I know people who convert old dog kennels and the like into a chicken coop, but you do definitely need your person to be on board. Mine was ambivalent but now he dotes on them!