Chickens That Lay Green Eggs
There are few things more satisfying to a chicken keeper than a basket of colorful fresh eggs. The color of a chicken egg will depend on the breed from which it was laid, so to attain that rainbowed basket, you will need to have a number of different breeds in your flock. Out of the different colored eggs available, one of the most popular continues to be the green egg.
Which chickens lay green eggs? There are a number of purebred chickens and hybrids known to produce green eggs. These include the:
- Cream Legbar
- Easter Egger
- Olive Egger
- Steele Egger
- Sage Gem
- Ice Cream Bar
Read on for more information on the right green egg layer for you. There will be a variation of color among these breeds, with the spectrum ranging from light-green (or seafoam) eggs to dark-green (or olive) eggs.
Breeds of Chicken That Lay Green Eggs
If you drop in at your local feed store and find a brooder of chicks labeled “Araucana,” you can assume they are probably mislabeled. Both Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers are often mistakenly called Araucanas, but a true Araucana is harder to come by in the United States and is most readily available from select dedicated breeders.
Araucana chicks breed true, and laying hens will produce a pretty blue-green egg. If you are interested in the Araucana for its unique eggs and its unusual appearance, it is worth seeking out a breeder if you are able to find one.
Araucanas are small-to-medium-sized chickens and have a distinct upright posture. It has two specific physical characteristics that cause it to stand out among other breeds – its tufts and its lack of a tail. The tufts that you will see on a true Araucana are a spray of feathers that protrude outward from under each ear.
These tufts give the Araucana a flashy, framed appearance that is easily recognizable. In addition to the tufts, a true Araucana will be missing the long tail feathers that are possessed by other chicken breeds. The Araucana will appear to have a sloped rump instead of a typical pointed, tailed rump.
Unfortunately, the gene that causes the distinct ear tufts is the same gene that makes it difficult to breed Araucanas. Most of the large hatcheries have stopped breeding this bird because a chick that receives two copies of this gene will pass away at around 18-21 days of incubation.
When two pure Araucanas are bred, 50% of the eggs will result in tufted chicks with one copy of this gene, 25% will result in clean-faced chicks without any copies of this gene, and 25% of the chicks will have received two copies of this gene which will result in death before hatching.
Ameraucanas may often be mislabeled as Araucanas, but they are noticeably different (and easier to breed). Ameraucanas will also breed true and can be found in a variety of colors, including Black, Blue, Blue Wheaten, Brown, Red, Silver, and Wheaten & White. These birds are more easily found in the United States, but mainly through breeders. If you see a batch of chicks at the feed store labeled “Ameraucanas” but without a specific color noted, you are likely looking at Easter Eggers (more on these below). Ameraucanas lay blue-green eggs.
Ameraucanas do not have tufts but rather have muffs and beards. These muffs are also below the ears, just as an Araucana’s tufts are, but are made of soft downy feathers which give them the appearance of fluff balls (or ear muffs). This same downy feathering is found under the beak and is called the Ameraucana’s beard.
The Isbar, also known as the Silverudd’s Blue, is another purebred bird that can be found through various dedicated breeders. This bird was created by Martin Silverudd in the 1980s by crossing a Rhode Island Red, a New Hampshire, a Cream Legbar, and perhaps the Australorp.
Isbars are small-to-medium-sized chickens and come in three different (and equally beautiful) coloring – black, blue, and the “splash.” Isbar eggs are an appealing light-to-medium green, often covered with small purple speckles.
The Cream Legbar is an attractive medium-sized chicken that produces a beautiful blue-green egg. Legbars are “crested” birds – they have a unique crest of feathers that grows on the backs of their necks directly under their combs. This gives them a distinct appearance, making them easily recognized.
Cream Legbars are not a particularly common breed but are easily found through various online hatcheries. One positive trait about Cream Legbars is that they are “auto-sexed,” meaning freshly hatched pullets (female chicks) have different coloring than freshly hatched cockerels (male chicks). This is the case for only a small number of chicken breeds and is a plus when you want to purchase only pullets.
The following six breeds are not purebreds but rather hybrids designed specifically for their egg colors. Easter Eggers are one of the most popular “breeds” in the United States for backyard chicken keeping and are readily available both online and through most local feed stores or hatcheries.
The Easter Egger is not a purebred bird but is instead a cross between a blue-egg bird (most often the Ameraucana) and another breed. Easter Eggers do not breed true, are not of any specific color, and most will have the muffs inherited from their Ameraucana parentage.
Most Easter Eggers lay blue or green eggs, but some lay a “pink” egg as well. An Easter Egger who lays a green egg will always lay a green egg, while an Easter Egger who lays a pink egg will always lay a pink egg. Because these birds do not breed true, you won’t know which color egg you will get until your pullet starts laying. There is one variety, called the “Green Queen,” that is more likely to lay a rich green egg.
The Favaucana is a popular cross between the Ameraucana and the Faverolle. There are a variety of different colored eggs that you might get from the Favaucana, including light green (also called “seafoam”), olive green, blue, and light brown.
Favaucanas typically have muffs like their Ameraucana parents, are large, and come in a variety of different colors.
The Olive Egger is a cross between a blue/green-laying breed (like an Ameraucana) and a dark brown-laying breed (like a Marans). One online hatchery crosses the Cream Legbar with the Welsummer to create their version of the Olive Egger.
Regardless of which exact breeds go into the Olive Egger, the intent is to develop a chicken that lays dark green, or olive green, eggs. Olive Eggers bred by using two parents of distinct breeds are called “F1” and are most typically available through hatcheries. If you decide to breed your own Olive Eggers with two F1 parents, the resulting offspring will be considered “F2” and may lay even darker olive eggs.
The Steele Egger is an Easter Egger bred and offered exclusively through Meyer Hatchery. These chickens are bred for the coloring of their hens – either blue or splash. Steele Egger hens may lay blue or green eggs, with 1.5% of birds laying tan eggs. The bird was named after Lisa Steele, who created the specifications for this hybrid.
Another Meyer Hatchery exclusive, the Sage Gem is a small (bantam-sized) Easter Egger that lays eggs in shades of sage green, olive green, and earthy-brown. These birds are smaller than the other birds on this list, and their eggs are small as well. With the difference in both egg color and egg size, these birds will add a fun variation to your egg basket.
Ice Cream Bar
The Ice Cream Bar is a hybrid that is harder to find (though many have been successful finding them on eBay). This bird is usually a first-generation cross between the Isbar (literally pronounced “Ice-Bar”) and the Cream Legbar.
The intent of this cross is to create a bird that lays solid or speckled green eggs (though it wouldn’t surprise us if another intent was simply to create a breed that can be called the Ice Cream Bar!) The resulting offspring are usually birds with attractive blue or splash coloring and often have crests behind the combs.
Chickens That Lay Green Eggs For A Colorful Basket
Green eggs are popular because of their bold coloring and variation. You can get a colorful basket with green layers alone, as you may end up with mint-green, olive-green, seafoam, and/or blue-green eggs.
You can choose a chicken that breeds true, like the Ameraucana or Cream Legbar, or you can get a few “surprise” birds like the Easter Egger. Whichever breed or hybrid you end up with, you will be greatly rewarded when your pullets start laying. You can learn more about chickens and other homestead animals in my latest content here!