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why do some chickens lay green eggs

Growing up in New England, PI lived across the street from my grandparents chicken farm. I am not sure which
they raised, so I don t know about the different colored chicken eggs they had. PFrom photos I ve seen, they looked to have a flock mostly consisting of and Australorps. Both are brown egg-layers. Around our house, we knew the saying brown eggs are local eggs and local eggs are fresh. I knew that there were brown chicken eggs (from our grandparent s farm) and white chicken eggs (from the supermarket). It wasn t until I dove back into backyard chicken keeping as an adult several years ago that I learned as well as which chickensPlay blue eggs, green eggs, and even pink eggs. I now raise many chicken breedsPand love having a colorful basket made up of the different eggs collected from them. Since I was interested in finding out WHY different eggs are different colors, I have done a bit of research into what exactly causes this. It s actually pretty fascinating stuff! P All chicken eggs start out with white shells made primarily of calcium carbonate. No matter what breed the chicken or what color an egg ultimately ends up being, all eggshells begin as white. The white egg-laying breeds, including Leghorns, Andalusians, Catalanas, Lakenvelders among others, don t possess any pigment genes, so they lay white eggs. Because Leghorns were specifically bred to eat little and lay a lot, they were the darling of the commercial egg industry and thus the reason why most store-bought eggs were primarily white P until recently. The perception that brown eggs are fresher and more nutritious (neither true, by the way! ) has led to the introduction of brown eggs to grocery store chains in recent years. The brown egg layers such as Rhode Island and New Hampshire Reds, Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Delawares, Brahmas and Plymouth Rocks, possess brown pigment genes and a brown dye is applied (by the hen of course! ) to the eggshell fairly late in the laying process; around the last 4-6 hours of the total 26 hours it takes to form the egg.

This results in a brown-shelled egg. Interestingly, the inside of a brown egg is always white the brown dye doesn t penetrate the shell, leaving the inside the original color. There are three breeds that lay :, Araucanas and Cream Legbars. ThePblue color is created by oocyanin, which is applied early in the laying process. PThe blue pigment goes right through the shell, unlike the brown pigment. So blue eggs are blue inside and out. Green egg-layers, such as and, are created by cross breeding a blue-egg-laying breed and a brown-egg-laying breed and those hens possess both blue and brown genes. Therefore the eggshells are green on the outside (created by mixing blue and brown) and blue on the inside, having been painted with both blue and brown dye. Varying shades of browns and greens are for the most part dictated by the breed laying the egg, although within a breed, there might be some shade variation. Some brown-egg-laying breeds apply less brown pigment to the shell than others, resulting in light tan eggs. Some breeds lay extremely light-colored eggs, such as Faverolles and Light Sussex, that can look almost pink or cream in color. Other breeds, such as Marans and Penendesencas, lay extremely dark brown eggs. Having a colorful egg basketPfilled withPdifferent colored chicken eggsPis just one more benefit to raising your own backyard chickens. Knowing why eggs come in different colors is fascinating. So why not add some color to YOUR egg basket when you choose your breeds this spring? (Of course, when choosing breeds, you should make your final decisions based on temperament, hardiness, and other breed characteristics relating to your climate and location, not purely based on egg color. ) Do you have a favorite chicken egg color?

What colour comes to mind when you think of a chicken egg? White, brown, speckled or blue? What about kalamata or avocado coloured eggs? While the quality and taste of an egg can be changed by what the chicken eats and their living conditions, the colour of the eggshell is determined by the hen's genes. External Link Chicken eggs come in many colours, though not fluoro yellow. Yet. Nathan Kilah, senior lecturer in chemistry at the University of Tasmania, got interested in the chemical make-up of eggshells when he got backyard chooks. "The egg colour is directly related to the type of chicken and the chemicals that the chicken lays down onto the eggs being made," he told Melanie Tait on. All eggshells are made of the same stuff, with colours added by chemicals that either coat the shell or permeate through it. "The eggshell is made of calcium carbonate which is a mineral," Dr Kilah said. "The brown colour is from a pigment that is laid down on the egg, it's called protoporphyrin IX, which is like the haem group in haemoglobin in your blood. "But the haemoglobin in your blood has iron in it which is why you get the red colour; on the eggshell there's no iron which is why you get the brown colour. " All eggshells are made of calcium carbonate and the white ones have no pigment added. The brown colour is caused by protoporphyrin IX, from the hen's haemoglobin, and is coated on the outside of the egg as it moves through the oviduct. Blue eggshells have the pigment oocyanin, which does permeate the shell, so the blue colouring will be all the way through. If a brown layer and a blue layer are crossbred, chances are you will get a green egg when the protoporphyrin IX layer is deposited over the blue oocyanin shell. The pinkish tint to an egg comes from the bloom or cuticle, a natural coating that seals the eggshell's pores.

The bloom is often washed off before eggs are sold commercially. Speckled eggs can be laid by any hen with pigmented shells and comes from the egg rotating slower than normal during the pigmenting stage. The protoporphyrin is deposited as a layer on top of the calcium carbonate, so brown eggshells are white on the inside. Brown eggs are laid by some of the most commonly kept backyard breeds, such as barnavelders and Rhode Island reds, while white eggs come from breeds including silkies and leghorns. Blue colouring is caused by bilirubin, with permeates through the whole shell. "The blue colour is slightly different," Dr Kilah said. "Protoporphyrin is like a big ring that's very flat, the blue colour is not a ring, it's more like a horseshoe-shaped molecule and that change in the chemistry, the change in the shape of molecule is why we get a different colour. " Blue coloured eggs are starting to become more common as backyard breeders look for variety with breeds such as araucana and ameraucanas. While a blue egg layer will never lay a brown egg, crossbreeding of chickens can bring out a range of eggshell colours. "Breeding between the chickens has made a big difference, so if you take a blue egg laying chicken and a brown egg laying chicken you can get a green colour," Dr Kilah said. Pigments and protoporphyrin change the colour on the outside of an egg, another chemical changes the colour on the inside. "Anyone who's had a backyard egg knows that there's more colour [in the yolk]," Dr Kilah said. "That's carotenoids, it's like the colour you see in a carrot, it's a slightly different chemical that's giving you that nice orange colour that's often lacking in a supermarket egg. " Unlike the outside of an egg, the colour and taste of its contents is affected by the chicken's diet and living conditions.

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