What are Easter Egger Chickens?

Easter Eggers chickens are technically not a specific breed. 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 Amaraucanas…

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

Amaraucanas are a legally recognized breed. Easter Eggers are not. Easter Eggers are often bred by crossing an Amaraucana with… whatever else the breeder fancies. This means they may sometimes look nearly identical in appearance to Ameraucanas. However, Easter Eggers are not guaranteed to produce identical or even like offspring because they are mixed. Easter Eggers are also not guaranteed to lay a specific color of egg. They may lay green, blue, white/off-white and sometimes brown/cream-colored eggs. Each Easter Egger usually has a slightly different, unique tint to its eggs. Because of the diversity, the exact egg color of an Easter Egger is indeterminable until the hen starts to lay. However, once she lays, she will continue to lay eggs that are basically the same pigment 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).

Easter Eggers are not a true breed. Therefore, they are not recognized by the American Poultry Association. This means that they are usually excluded from poultry contests, shows and fairs.

Above: Mareeonna, an Easter Egger hen that laid tinted/white eggs

Easter Eggers are usually sold in “mixed” groups. This means that some may turn out to be bearded, muffed or a blend of both and may come in various feather colors/patterns. They may also vary slightly in size. However, EEs still bear some characteristics that testify to their green egg breeding and background.

Easter Egger Physical Characteristics:

Easter Eggers usually…

  • Are clean legged (i.e they have no foot feathers).
  • Contain a normal number of toes (no polydactyl traits).
  • Have gray, green to slate gray legs and toes.
  • Are reputably top-notch layers of medium-large eggs (Easter Eggers may lay ~300 eggs their first two laying years).
  • Are medium-sized chickens. Adults usually weigh ~4-7 pounds. (Give or take a pound or two, depending on gender).
  • Have “pea” combs, a small comb variety.
  • Have small wattles (when they have any at all, that is).
  • Are fairly hardy (in heat and cold).
  • Have beards and muffs. (However, not all EEs have them.)

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. Amaraucanas are actually somewhat rare and often a little pricey. Amaraucanas are also usually only available for order from a breeder. However, Easter Eggers are commonly available at most farm and feed stores in Spring through Summer. 

Easter Egger Temperament

EEs are very friendly, animated and inquisitive. They are also easy to handle (usually). However, they are often easy to spook. Since they are also good layers and they get along well with most other chickens, it is not surprising that they are one of the most popular breeds of all time for backyard flocks and families.

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.

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