What we commonly refer to as “Easter eggs” are more than just a fun pastime associated with one particular holiday. They could also be talking about eggs laid by an Easter Egger chicken.
In the strictest sense of the word, Easter Eggers are not a true chicken breed but rather a hybrid. Also referred “Rainbow Layers” because of the unique variety of eggs they lay.
The Easter Egger chicken is a hybrid rather than a true breed, but despite this, it remains a popular choice for chicken keepers of all skill levels. This bird, so called because it lays eggs in a rainbow of colors, is sociable, resilient, and simple to care for.
In addition, these hens are versatile, as they can be used for both egg-laying and meat.
Let’s find out about these chickens to see if they’re the right breed for you.
Parent Breed of Easter Egger Chickens
Easter Eggers are a hybrid between two different types of chicken. This hybrid can be defined as any mixed breed chicken carrying the blue egg gene, also known as oocyan, though whether or not the parent breeds are always the same is unknown.
Most commonly, an Araucana and an Ameraucana will be bred to create an Easter Egger chicken. What follows is a comparison of the two breeds, with an emphasis on more detailed points.
“Ear tufts” on the sides of the heads of Araucana chickens are what gives them their name. The ear tuft gene, however, is harmful in a breeding context, and combining two chickens with the trait can kill the eggs before they hatch.
In addition to their varied plumage, these chickens’ Chilean ancestry is another interesting fact. Many are intrigued by the fact that they carry a dominant gene that causes them to lay blue eggs.
It was in the USA where the first Ameraucana chickens were bred. Their feathers come in a rainbow of colors, and they also have the dominant blue egg gene found in Araucanas.
Chickens of this hybrid breed are a product of selective breeding between Araucanas and other breeds. It was planned that way so that the blue eggs could be protected without the ear tuft breeding taking hold.
The Origin of Easter Egger Chickens
Rather than being its own distinct breed, the Easter Egger chicken is the result of selective breeding between several different types of chicken.
Although the Araucana and Ameraucana are the most common parents in this cross, other breeds of birds can also be used to create Easter Eggers.
The resulting chicken lacks the uniformity of color and pattern associated with specific breeds.
The Araucana is a breed of chicken that was originally raised in South America but has since made its way to the United States. The eggs laid by Araucana chickens are renowned for their stunning shade of blue.
The failure of many Araucana eggs to hatch, however, can be traced back to a disruptive gene. As a result, the breed is becoming increasingly rare, while the Easter Egger, which can also lay blue eggs, is being bred by many people.
Conversely, the Ameraucana chicken was bred to address the issue of Araucanas laying unhealthy eggs. When Araucana chickens were bred with other chickens, the Ameraucana variety resulted so that the problematic gene could be created.
Mixed breed chickens known as Easter Eggers take on the traits and physical characteristics of both of their parent breeds.
They may come from different backgrounds, but they all share the qualities that have made their breed so successful. In fact, the breed’s popularity has only increased since the advent of the industrial hen, while that of many other types of chicken has truly decreased.
Since the Easter Egger is a hybrid, it does not have a particularly long-historic breed. This species of bird was produced by breeding an Araucana with an Ameraucana.
Historically, Araucanas were referred to as the “Mapuche chicken,” after the native people of South America who first took care of them.
When an Araucana chicken and an American breed were bred in the United States in the 1970s, a new breed created Ameraucana emerged.
Chickens and eggs of different appearances are the results of a mix between these two breeds. Despite the fact that the Easter Egger isn’t recognized as a breed, their adorable appearance and simple needs have won them many fans.
Appearance of Easter Egger Chickens
Many keepers adore the Easter Egger for its unique appearance, which can be a bit erratic in terms. You can see what they evolve into below.
Egg Color of Easter Egger Chickens
The color of an Easter Egger’s egg may vary. The eggs laid by individual Easter Egger hens are all the same color, but if you have several hens in your coop, you’ll have a rainbow of colors to choose from.
Colors seen in the eggs range from blue to green to olive to cream to pale pink. Easter eggs can also lay drab colors like brown, though they are much less common. The size of these eggs ranges from medium to large, depending on the hen’s DNA.
The Appearance of the Easter Egger Chick
It’s possible, but not guaranteed, that some Easter Egger chicks will have unique physical features like ear tufts, muffs, beards, or even no tail at all.
Adult Easter Egger Appearance
Depending on the breed, the appearance of an adult Easter Egger chicken can vary widely. The “rumpless” appearance of Araucanas is due to the absence of their tails, and their erect ear tufts.
As a result, it is possible, though not assured, that Easter Eggers will develop these characteristics.
When it comes to combs, adults are free to pick whatever type and size they like. The most common types of combs are single and pea combs.
Their wattles are consistently red, while the color of their legs varies. A variety of patterns and solid colors were possible for their feathers. Gray, gold, tan, and brown are common Easter Egger colors.
Similar to their eggs and chicks, the appearance of your Easter Egger will greatly vary depending on what their parents looked like.
Weight and Size
Despite their name, Easter Eggers are typically smaller than the average chicken. Most hens weigh around four pounds, while roosters average five. It is possible, though, to find Easter Eggers that is in the larger size.
A breed standard is not available for Easter Eggers because they are a hybrid rather than a recognized breed. Due to their varying appearances, they are labeled as “an unconventional chickens.”
In comparison to other chicken breeds, the Araucana chicken is notable for two key characteristics. A rumpless chicken, to begin with.
Its round appearance is due to the absence of a coccyx and a tail. The Araucana also has tufts—fluffy feathers that extend from its cheeks—that set it apart.
Since Easter Egger chickens are a genetic hodgepodge, their keepers can never be sure what their Easter Egger chicks will look like. Furthermore, there is no appearance standard because they are not a true breed but rather a hybrid.
Commonly, these chickens will have a tail, but occasionally they won’t. They often sport a beard, but ear tufts have been spotted on occasion.
In addition, these chickens can have combs of any size or shape, though they typically only have a single comb.
Typically, the wattles will be small and bright red in color. You can display Easter Egger chickens in a wide variety of solid colors, and some of them even have unique patterns in their feathers.
Chicken legs vary in color hues and are usually bare of feathers, though they can sport them on occasion.
Although their bodies are round and plump, Easter Eggers are relatively small birds. The average weight of a female Easter Egger chicken is around four pounds, while a male Easter Egger chicken averages around five pounds.
Easter-Egger Temperament and Personality
Due to their reputation as some of the most sociable fowl, Easter Eggers has quickly become a fan-favorite addition to homestead aviaries and poultry houses.
They are friendly and easy to handle because they tolerate being patted and carried around.
They may even approach humans in order to observe their activities. There are even reports of Easter Eggers jumping up onto their owners’ laps for a cuddle.
Due to their amiability, these birds are a great choice for households with young children. Moreover, these birds’ curious and active natures make them a welcome addition to any flock.
Unlike some other breeds of chicken, Easter Eggers are calm and collected under stress. Chickens are generally peaceful and avoid quarreling and fighting with one another.
Although Easter Eggers are known for their kindness, they are sometimes the targets of bullying and harassment from other chickens.
To avoid stress, it’s best to keep Easter Eggers with other calm chickens or in a flock composed entirely of Easter Eggers.
There is a common perception that Easter Eggers are peaceful and sociable people. Because of this, they make great starter chickens.
They may need some time to adjust to their new surroundings, but once they do, they may come to trust you enough to eat directly from your hand or even sit in your lap. Since they are so great and welcoming, kids love being around them.
Because of their inquisitive nature, Easter Eggers may benefit from having access to chicken toys.
Broody refers to the maternal instinct in hens that makes them sit on their eggs frequently during incubation. No one expects an Easter Egger to get maternal.
These hens invest effort into producing colored eggs, but they don’t care much about their offspring once they hatch. If the only goal of the keeper is to use eggs for food, then this can be a good thing.
Are Easter Egger Chickens Noisy?
You can keep Easter Egger chickens in an urban setting without worrying about them disturbing the neighbors because of how quiet they are.
They might whisper to one another, but if they spot a time, they’ll immediately raise their voices to warn the others.
Do Easter Eggers Get Along With Other Animals?
To put it simply, Easter Eggers are chill birds that pay no mind to the antics of any other animals. Therefore, these chickens won’t go looking for trouble if they’re kept near other animals.
Although they don’t start conflict, more dominant dogs may still target them as easy prey. Therefore, ensure that any other chickens in the area are similarly mild-mannered and docile in temperaments, such as Cochins or Salmon Faverolles.
Requirements for the Care and Maintenance of Easter Eggers
On top of being a laid-back breed, Easter Egger chickens require little in the way of upkeep. Here are a few basic care guidelines to get you started.
Feeding Requirements for Easter Egger Chickens
Offering Easter Dinner Feeding Egger chicken is very similar to feeding any other breed. To get off to a good start, chicks need a diet that’s at least 20% protein.
Then, by the minimum they’re six weeks old, they can thrive on a diet with only 16-18% protein.
After 20 weeks, you can switch them to an adult formula, which typically contains 16% protein. Nonetheless, they won’t be satisfied with just this feed. Most chickens will go out of their way to find new things, as they enjoy variety.
That’s why it’s smart to let your chickens give around in an enclosed space. If they take the time to look, they will find supplements that will help them thrive and develop. The diet of any chicken can benefit tremendously from free-ranging.
Make sure your Easter Egg hunters have access to clean water at all times in addition to food.
Housing Requirements for Easter Egger Chickens
Easter Eggers have a lot of wiggle room. They enjoy time out in the open, but they tolerate their coop quite well. Give them a mix of the two if at all possible.
Since this hybrid is smaller than most chicken breeds, they don’t require as much space for exercise. Each chicken should have at least four square feet of space, but more is fine.
Each chicken needs 8 to 10 inches of roosting space. Positioning these roosts at different heights is recommended. Make sure your Easter Eggers have plenty of roosting space to avoid conflicts with other chicken breeds.
A good size for nesting boxes in your coop would be 12 inches by 12 inches. In general, you should provide one nesting box for every three chickens. However, your chickens may develop a strong preference for a particular box.
Ideal Temperature for Easter Egger Chickens
These chickens are surprisingly adaptable to a wide range of temperatures. They can thrive in any climate as long as they have access to adequate food, water, and shelter from the elements.
During the hottest times of the year, make sure your Easter Eggers have plenty of cool places to hang out in the shade. They also need shelter from the chilly winter winds, so having a place to hide is essential.
Issues of Health and Care
Easter Egger chickens have a reputation for being very resilient birds that rarely fall ill. They’re just as low maintenance as any other type of chicken and need no special feeding or treatment.
Beards and tufts can make Easter Egger chickens more susceptible to parasites like mites and lice. Keepers can reduce the likelihood of mite infestation by spraying their chickens with a repellent.
Bedding in the coop and nest should be changed more frequently to reduce the presence of mites and keep a healthy environment.
There is a genetic defect in Araucana chickens that causes the beaks of some of the birds to develop crookedly. As the bird gets older, the condition of having crossed beaks instead of aligned beaks may worsen.
Some chickens with crossed beak defects have a very hard time eating and drinking on their own.
However, with the right care, many chickens with this condition can live long, healthy lives. Keepers of scissor-beaked birds can trim their beaks and can adjust the height of food and water stations in order to make eating and drinking easier.
Because of their more varied genetic makeup, Easter Eggers are fortunately uncommonly affected by this condition.
In general, you won’t find any major health problems with Easter Eggers because they are robust chickens. They don’t carry the risk of developing common genetic disorders.
However, they are still susceptible to the same diseases as common chickens, so regular trips to the vet for vaccinations are recommended.
However, they might catch parasites like lice and mites, just like any other chickens. Chickens that sport facial hair, such as beards and muffs, have an increased risk of contracting the disease.
Fortunately, this can be managed with routine checks and treatments for the feathers.
It’s also a good idea to use a spray that will keep the critters out of the coop. They can stay healthy and happy if their bedding is changed frequently.
To check for intestinal worms and other internal health problems, a feces sample should be taken to the vet every six months or so. In both cases, you can get the best advice on how to give from your vet.
Breeding Easter Egger Chickens
Most keepers only keep hens of the Easter Egger breed because they aren’t used for breeding. There are, however, two primary avenues open to those who wish to expand their flock of Easter Egger chickens.
Araucanas and Ameraucanas can be created to breed Easter Eggers, so that’s the first place. The simpler solution is to simply breed two existing Easter Eggers together. Thus, if this is the case, you may wish to acquire a robust Easter Egger rooster.
You can hire a reliable breeder if you’d rather not deal with breeding yourself. Typically, you can purchase an Easter Egger chick for $4 to $5.
Egg Production of Easter Egger Chickens
Very good egg layers, Easter Egger chickens can produce around four eggs per week. The eggs are typically enormous. As a result, Easter Egger chicken keepers can obtain a yearly yield of 200–280 extra-large eggs.
The Easter Egger chicken is known for laying eggs of varying shades of brown, blue, and pink depending on the hen’s genetic makeup. Each hen, however, can produce eggs of only one color.
For instance, a hen that lays pink eggs will always lay pink eggs. To get different colored eggs, it’s necessary to have hens with different ancestries.
Easter Eggers are not known to be broody chickens. They don’t care much about sitting on a nest or caring for young chicks.
This is helpful for keepers whose primary goal is to collect eggs for human consumption. But if the caretakers have a rooster and want to raise chicks, they can put the eggs in an incubator.
Easter hens have a potential weekly egg production rate of four, which equates to over two hundred eggs per year. It’s possible that some Easter egg hunters will lay far more than that.
Although this rate of egg production is fairly typical, it is sufficient for supporting a small family. If you’re in the market for selling eggs, stocking up on Easter Eggers will give you always a steady supply of tasty eggs.
What Causes Blue Easter Egger Chicken Eggs?
It’s not common for Easter Eggers to carry on the blue egg tradition of their eggs. However, it took years of research into chicken DNA to determine why the eggs have this appearance.
A pigment found in the liver called oocyanin is responsible for the blue color. A unique feature of these eggs is that the hues are visible on both the exterior and interior of the shell.
Oocyanin colors coat the egg first, and then a second pigment can be layered on top of that when Easter eggers decorate their eggs with multiple colors.
This is how green and olive colors are created. Easter Egger chicken eggs come in a wide type of colors, but blue and green are the most common.
Does It Matter What Color an Egg To Taste?
Many different hues are used to decorate Easter Egger eggs, but fortunately, this does not alter their flavor. All of these hybrids’ unfertilized eggs can be used to make up a delicious meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
When searching for a good hen for your coop, there are no stupid questions. The following are some questions that may arise in the minds of new chicken keepers.
What is the Lifespan of Easter Egger Chickens
The average lifespan of an Easter Egger chicken is between 5 and 8 years. Chickens of hybrid chickens typically only live for about half as long as their purebred counterparts, whose lifespans can approach ten years in some cases.
Their expected lifespan is highly conditional on the current state of care and the health of their parents. To a greater extent than with other hybrid chickens, Easter Eggers enjoy improved health and a longer lifespan.
Easter egger hens: do they lay purple eggs?
It’s a bummer that Easter hens can’t lay purple eggs. However, they can also lay other colors, such as pink, dark green, sea-foam green, and light blue. No known chicken breeds produce purple eggs.
Is There Any Relationship Between Egg Color and Chicken Appearance?
The color of your hatched chicks won’t be determined by the color of your Easter Egger eggs. Easter Eggers are able to lay eggs of multiple colors at once, whereas most chickens only lay one.
Due to the wide variety of physical appearances shared by Easter Eggers, chickens of the same egg color may develop into very distinct adults.
Tips for Raising Easter Egger Chickens
The chickens of the Easter Egger breed are low-maintenance and adapt well to life in coops. However, they are skilled foragers and enjoy the freedom to free a large space.
Chickens benefit from free-ranging because it allows them to forage for food and lets them explore their environment. Chickens’ diets can benefit from the addition of new minerals and vitamins when they are allowed to roam freely.
Similarly, Easter Egger chickens can thrive in a wide variety of settings. As long as they have been supplied to sufficient amounts of water and shade, they can tolerate the heat.
They are hardy enough to tolerate the winter months and frigid temperatures.
Chickens can keep warm by roosting in a pile of hay or straw provided by their keepers. Signs of frostbite should also be checked for by keepers. Although frostbite is common, the comb and wattles of an Easter Egger chicken are typically small.
The price per Easter Egger is typically less than $5, and they are easily accessible. Because of this, many people who enjoy chicken can afford to buy one.
Some bird keepers, however, may encounter birds mislabeled as Americanas when shopping for chicks.
Not to be confused with the more common Ameraucana chickens, Easter Eggers are a distinct breed. Ameraucanas are notoriously difficult to find and command a hefty premium.
If you’re a fan of chickens, you probably know that the birds sold under the label “Americana” are actually Easter Eggers.
Is an Easter Egger Chicken Right for You?
When examining this hybrid chicken more closely, one can see why Easter Eggers has been a favorite in barnyards, backyards, and coops for decades.
These chickens are great for homes with kids or for people just getting into chicken keeping because they are docile and easy to handle. They lay lots of eggs and are entertaining to watch, making them a great addition to any flock.
With this time in chicken, you can evaluate whether or not Easter Egger chickens are the right breed for you. They’re low-maintenance because of their placid, sociable demeanor. Therefore, these are excellent starter chickens for a novice.
They don’t take up as much space as other chickens, and they’re relatively inexpensive to buy. Still, before settling on a large number of animals, it’s best to take the time to provide them with a home that meets their fundamental requirements.
Because of their unique appearances and egg colors, many novice chicken keepers adore these chickens. If you want a more reliable breed, though, choose an established chicken breed rather than a hybrid.
In general, Easter Eggers are wonderful pets for any kind of keeper. Their brightly colored eggs are also a sight to behold.