Easter Eggers (aka EEs) are cross-breeds created by crossing a green or blue egg-laying breed with… basically any other chicken. Contrary to a common myth, they differ from the somewhat uncommon true Ameraucanas…
What is the Difference Between an Ameraucana & an Easter Egger?
‘Easter Egger’ is a term used to describe any cross-breed chicken that is the result of crossing one or more blue/green egg-laying chickens. Easter Eggers are not a breed and therefore not recognized by the American Poultry Association. This means that they are usually excluded from poultry contests, shows and fairs.
The Ameraucana is a legally recognized breed that usually lays green/blue eggs.
More About Easter Eggers vs Ameraucanas
Easter Eggers are commonly gotten by crossing an Ameraucana with… whatever else the breeder fancies and some hatcheries/breeders have generations and generations of crossings. Since there are other blue/green egg laying chicken breeds out there, Ameraucanas do not have to be involved to create Easter Eggers. However, they usually are, which is often why many Easter Eggers have the traditional Ameraucana beard and muffs. Some hatcheries create Easter Eggers by simply crossing 2 or more color variations of Ameraucanas… basically meaning the resulting EEs are Amaraucana with unpredictable feather colors and patterns.
Some other good examples of green/blue egg-laying breeds that can be used to create Easter Eggers include Legbars and Araucanas.
The diversity and almost randomness is part of what makes Easter Eggers fun… creating a true ‘Easter Egg’ effect. Though Easter Eggers oftentimes look nearly identical to Ameraucanas, they are not guaranteed to produce identical or even like offspring because they are mixed.
Where they are sold, Easter Eggers are often labeled “Americanas” or another miss-spelled variation of “Ameraucana”. This accounts for a lot of the confusion associated with the Ameraucana and Easter Egger. True Ameraucanas are actually somewhat uncommon and often pricier. However, Easter Eggers are commonly available at many Farm /Feed and Tractor Supply stores in Spring through Summer.
Since any breed(s) can be used to create Easter Eggers, they really are like Easter eggs in themselves! In the gallery below, you’ll notice 2 Easter Egger hens that where created by crossing random breeds… possibly for multiple generation. Due to this, they may not look like the traditional EEs. I believe the Buff one is part Brahma and the Black one is part Silver Dorking. I am not sure which breed(s) they got their green egg-laying genes from… but they got them somehow.
Easter Egger Image Gallery
More About Easter Eggers’ Eggs
Easter Eggers are not guaranteed to lay a specific color of egg. They may lay green, blue, white/off-white and sometimes brown/cream-colored eggs (depending on the cross). Also, each Easter Egger has a slightly different, unique tint to it’s eggs. Because of the diversity, the exact egg color of an Easter Egger is often indeterminable until the hen starts to lay. However, once she lays, she will continue to lay eggs that are basically the same color as that first egg for life.
Easter Egger Temperament
Unpredictable. Simply put. Since so many variables and unknown breeds could be involved, it is hard to really know. However, the most green/blue egg-laying breed involved in creating Easter Eggers is the Ameraucana (a generally easy to tame, people-friendly breed). Additionally, most Easter-Egger breeders are targeting backyard and small-scale flock-keepers and therefore breed away from aggressive traits. Likely for these reasons, most hatchery Easter-Eggers are very reputable when the friendliness and tame-ability factors are concerned. In fact, the Easter Eggers are among the most popular chicken breeds for backyard chicken keepers.