What are Easter Egger Chickens?

Easter Egger Chicken

Easter Eggers (aka EEs) are category of chickens that carry genes that give them the capability to lay blue or green eggs. Contrary to a common myth, they differ from the somewhat uncommon true Amaraucanas…

Above: Storm, an Easter Egger rooster. I believe him to have both Silver Amaraucana and Australorp in his parentage.

What is the Difference Between an Amaraucana & 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 Amaraucana is a legally recognized breed that lays green/blue eggs.


More About Easter Eggers vs Amaraucanas

Easter Eggers are commonly gotten by crossing an Amaraucana 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, Amaraucanas do not have to be involved to create Easter Eggers. Some other good examples of green/blue egg-laying breeds 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 Amaraucanas, 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 “Amaraucana”. This accounts for a lot of the confusion associated with the Amaraucana and Easter Egger. True Amaraucanas are actually somewhat uncommon and often a little pricey. However, Easter Eggers are commonly available at many Farm /Feed and Tractor Supply stores in Spring through Summer. 

Diversity

Since any breed(s) can be used to create Easter Eggers, they really are like Easter eggs in themselves! Below are 2 Easter Egger hens that where created by crossing random breeds. (Crosses like this are oftentimes called ‘barnyard mixes’. 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
Above: Blacky, an Easter Egger (probable Dorking cross)
Above: Beep, another Easter Egger (probable Brahma cross)

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.

Above: A random compilation of eggs from my nest boxes (the tiny one in the front is yolk-less, an egg defect that can occur from time to time).
Above: Mareeonna, an Easter Egger hen that laid tinted/white eggs

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 Amaraucana (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, Easter-Eggers are very reputable when the friendliness and tame-ability factors are concerned. In fact, the Easter Eggers are very popular among backyard chicken keepers.

Above: Abby, an Easter Egger pullet (who grew to lay green eggs with brown freckles) and Sandy, a Buff Orpington pullet. Although very different in size, build and color, the two where best buddies.
Above: Abby. It was immensely difficult to get her without her best friend, Sandy, in the photo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *