Sunday, February 22, 2009

Colour me puzzled!

All my laying hens are brown egg layers, I like the look of the brown eggs and I find it gives a lot of people that feeling of them being fresh off the farm. Well in my case not a farm but you understand what I am saying. Except for little Gracie my bantam who lays a tiny off-white egg, the others are mostly the same colour.

An example of the eggs mostly looking the same.

The girls are hybrid black sex-links and red sex-links from a hatchery, also know as black stars, red stars, Isa browns, etc. They are suppose to lay brown eggs, its in their genes and usually a hen will lay the same coloured egg all her life, however what surprises me is this.

All eggs from the exact same hens as above.

Some days I get an almost white egg, an almost pink egg and sometimes a half dark brown, half light brown egg! There are no other hens around, just the same black and red sex links as those who gave me the dark brown eggs in the first photo. When I was a teen this never happened. Every one stuck to the colours they started with for life. Over time I had every colour, brown, white, green, blue, and an almost pink, however I never had extra colours show up so I find this interesting. I assume it has something to do with the feed but I'm not sure. Like I said before, they are good stock that came from a hatchery that sells only a few types of laying breeds so there is no mix of fancy chickens with coloured eggs in their breeding. The eggs are really hard there is no problem with thin shells etc, so I'm not worried, just puzzled. Some days I feel like I am on an Easter egg hunt and I am never sure what I will find.


Amy said...

how strange. Berlina is laying 1-2 eggs a day now (but none today) and hers are brown. Our light sussex started laying 1 every other day and they are tiny brown ones.
Whoever laid the off white one with a squiggy shell laid another one 2 days ago and that was very thin and smashed, we have had no more since and still don't know which one it is. They are all healthy and eat fine, perhaps it is because they are young and it's their first eggs.
Interesting colours you are getting!

Amy :)

nobody-but-us-chickens said...

Amy: It would be very unlikely that one hen is laying two eggs in a day, some people will tell you that it is not possible, it is possible however as it did happen to me in the past, just maybe one of your girls is not getting credit for her egg. My very first hen was a large white rock mix and she used to lay a normal egg in the morning and a smaller one in the evening, she was the only chicken at the time so there is no mistake on who was laying, sometimes she would lay a huge double yolk egg instead, I'm sure her bum must have been sore after that! ;)
First eggs often come out with no shell, nothing to worry about yet.
Maybe I should feed my hens Smarties or M&Ms to see what happens, lol!

Amy said...


Well, Steven see Berlina lay the 2 eggs and we guessed it was her the day after...We may be wrong and it was just a one off and we do have another little lady laying?!

I think i will set up our camcorder and record them lol!!

Thanks again for your info!! amy x

nobody-but-us-chickens said...

I think when there is a small group of hens and they are treated like pets, it will increase the chance of a hen laying two eggs in one day. Like I said, some will try to tell you that you must be mistaken, but again I had my first hen do it quite a lot and even later when I had six laying hens, some days I would get seven eggs so somebody must have given me two eggs that day, unless it was the dog!

GardenAndSew said...

I have read that a hen will give each of her eggs the same amount of pigment for her entire life. The variation in colors come from if she lays a larger egg, it will be lighter because there is more surface area. Could that be it?

It is rare for a hen to lay twice in a day, although it is possible. A good strain of layer cycles about every 25 hours. When their time to lay pushes into the afternoon, they will skip a day and start out again first thing the next morning. Strange things do happen with pullets until their system settles into egg-laying mode, so that could be it.

nobody-but-us-chickens said...

G&S: The eggs are the same size, just the colours come out different sometimes, its very odd. I think with my first hen the reason she often laid two eggs a day was because she was the only chicken, she had all the feed she could ever want, her house was 10 X 12 so there was more than enough room, she had a small field to run in, plus she was quite large as she was a meat breed. My next group did sometimes lay an extra egg but not as often.

allaroundhorses said...

It is probably just a fluke because the brown coloring actually gets added onto the egg after it has formed, it just has to do with the length of time the egg spend in that chamber. This is only for brown eggs however. An Ameraucana, or other blue egg layer puts the blue/green color right in the shell. The white eggs are simply a lack of either coloring. So when you cross a blue egg layer to a brown egg layer, that is why you will get a dirty brown or green brown color. We had one like this that we bred on accident, and she layed a nice green/blue egg everyday (we decided that is actually looked like chocolate just because of how that combination worked out). I wouldn't be worried about your hen!

nobody-but-us-chickens said...

Allaroundhorses: In case you missed it, welcome to my blog. I used to have Ameraucana hens when I was a teen, most laid green eggs, one laid blue. No one would believe me back then, they thought I was colouring the eggs to play a trick on them. Thanks for the info, I did not know that about the colouring of the eggs. It makes sense because I always wondered why the inside of a brown egg's shell is white. All the eggs have gone back to brown for the last week or so, I have no clue as to why they do this every now and again.

Amri said...

One of our hens occasionally used to lay a chalky white egg.
It was sort of like it was covered with the white part of a chicken poop.
The contents were thin and watery.

The hen (Sleeve-Eater) has never been sick in her life so we never figured out why we got those strange eggs.
She normally lays brown eggs.