Have you checked the egg section of a grocery store or farmers market, and you’ll notice cartons of eggs separated into white and brown, sometimes even green or blue eggs. What is the difference between eggs with shells of different colors? What would make them that color?
There are more than 60 breeds of chickens recognized and 100 of other chicken breeds that have been developed worldwide — many of whom lay gorgeous eggs in a rainbow of hues ranging from white to cream, green, pink, blue and even chocolate brown. Before we get into various colors of eggs, let’s take a look at what makes up an eggshell.
What are eggshells made up of?
An eggshell is formed of calcium carbonate, which occurs mostly from a hen’s bones. Calcium carbonate makes up( 9-12 %) of an egg’s total weight. The shell has 7 to 17,000 tiny pores that allow air and moisture to pass through. The external layer, called the bloom or cuticle, helps to keep out dirt and bacteria.
How are eggs made?
It takes four significant steps, and 24 to 26 hours:
- The ovary releases Egg yolk: Egg yolk is released from the hen’s ovary. After Fifteen minutes egg formation starts working once again.
- The yolk travels through the oviduct: An egg yolk passes through magnum after oviduct, which is where the egg yolk collects its egg white or albumen. After a few hours, the egg yolk and white form two shell membranes, as well as get some water and minerals.
- The shell forms in the uterus: Once the egg, sans shell, reaches its full size in the oviduct, it moves to the uterus. Here, it creates its shell, as well as bloom and color.
- The hen lays her egg: With its shell made, a hen is ready to put her egg in a bed of straw. As an egg makes its way out, it can become spotted or streaked. A fast-moving egg means streaking while a slow egg might come out with marks.
The average hen lays 250 to 270 eggs a year, though some are better egg-producers than others.
How do eggshells get their color?
- A chicken’s breed plays a significant role in the color of their eggs.
- Pigmentation is another reason. The following two pigments also play a part:
- Protoporphyrin: This pigment produces reddish-brown tones.
- Biliverdin: This pigment creates shades of blue and green.
- Hen’s genes change the color of her eggs.
What are the different eggshell colours?
- White eggs are the most demanded eggshell color in the world. Christopher Columbus is believed to have brought the most famous white egg — the Single Comb White Leghorn.
- An interesting fact is that all eggs start with white shells, no matter the breed of hen.
Brown or Brick-
- New Englanders prefer brown eggs over white. When it comes to nutrition and taste.
- During the third stage of the egg-laying process, the hen applies a brown pigment to the eggshell.
- Some brown eggs appear to be a shade of orange because of color intensity.
- Blue eggs are becoming more popular among consumers, with its soft-blue marshmallow coloring.
- The bluish tint appears early in the egg-forming process. Because the pigment reaches the egg during an early stage, it colors the interior of the eggshell blue too.
- Therefore, you can expect a blue-shelled egg to be blue throughout.
- Green eggs are results of crossbreeding genes from blue eggshells with genes from brown eggshells.
- These colored eggs are green on the outside and blue on the inside.
- Only a few chicken breeds can produce this coloured eggshell, which makes them unique.
Why do we only eat brown or white eggs?
- The reason is that brown and white eggs tend to cost less than blue and green ones.
- They’re also more comfortable to obtain and usually come from chickens that are known as good egg layers.
Which coloured eggs come from which breeds?
White Egg- Layers
- This breed is the most common white-egg laying chicken in the United States. The White Leghorn is the leading egg producer in the world.
- They do not possess any pigment genes, that is why their eggs are white. Leghorns can lay anywhere from 150-300 eggs a year.
- While once rare, this breed is making a comeback. Originally from Spain, these chickens lay medium to large white eggs.
- The eggs you purchase in your local grocery are probably not from Catalanas, as they’re rare to find here in the U.S. Their medium white eggs tend to have a creamy tint to them.
- Lakenvelders aren’t a breed you’ll find in the U.S., though some people do keep them. Lakenvelders hail from Germany and lay medium-sized white eggs.
- The Anconas breed, which originates from the Mediterranean, is known for its hardiness. It lays large white eggs.
- While known for being an exceptional egg layer, Minorcas are becoming less known among farmers. These chickens, also known as the “Red Faced Black Chicken,” lay jumbo-sized white eggs.
- They are Hamburg chickens lay smaller white eggs and tend to be flighty, which makes them more of a labor-intensive chicken.
If you’re wondering what breed lays your white eggs, it’s a Leghorns.
Brown Egg -Layers
1. Rhode Island Reds:
- Brown egg-layers are popular breeds for backyard chicken raising, as well as farmers. These dark-feathered birds are calm, plus lay eggs all year-long. Rhode Island Reds are excellent egg-producers. They can lay around 200 to 300 eggs a year.
2. Plymouth Rock:
- Plymouth Rocks are also knowns as Barred Rocks and lay large brown eggs, plus they’re hardy in colder weather.
3. Buff Orpingtons:
- A well-liked brown egg laying breed that originated from England, Buff Orpington hens lay about 180 light brown eggs a year. Farmers and hobby farmers love these sturdy birds for their independent character and low-maintenance.
- Buff Orpingtons and Australorps are similar, as they’re both loved for their egg-laying. Australorps lay around five large, brown eggs per week. They’re also cold hardy, which means they call farms across the U.S. home.
- Delawares are a dependable breed as they’re a cross between Barred Rocks and New Hampshire Reds. Their eggs are also categorized as significant.
- With their feathered feet and medium-sized eggs. Brahmas come from India and are known for their docile nature.
1. Araucanas :
- Blue egg-layers typically have red earlobes. Breeds in this class lay blue or green-tinted eggs because of the pigment biliverdin, which hen’s deposit early in the egg-making process.
- This breed offers extra-large, blue eggs that are an exceptional choice for deviled eggs.
- The ancestors of these hens were bred with Gold Penciled Hamburgs to form the cream Legbar finally. they’ve
4. Easter Eggers:
- They’re considered “mutts” as they’re not a pure breed, but Easter Eggers can lay blue eggs. Due to their breeding, however, they can also produce eggs ranging in colors from rosy pink to sage green.you’refarmer’s
- Green eggs are the rarest. Only a few breeds lay green eggs, and they’re crosses between top egg layers, like Leghorns and Ameraucanas. Favaucanas lay about five, sage green eggs a week, which are a medium size.
2. Easter Eggers:
- Easter Eggers can also lay extra-large eggs with a green color. This breed looks almost identical to Ameraucanas, which is why they’re often mistaken for them. In most cases, Ameraucanas are usually harder to obtain.
3. Olive Egger:
- Olive Egger chickens lay about three large eggs a week, which have a beautiful olive-green pigmentation.they’re
Are eggshells reuseable?
If you’ve come across a blue or green egg, it’s understandable to want them to go somewhere other than the trash. Whether you have white, brown, blue, or green eggs in your household, you can reuse them for other purposes.
Some uses of eggshells include:
- Feed Your Chickens: You can feed their eggshells back to them — it’s good for them! Hens need an adequate amount of calcium to produce healthy eggs, and eggshells are an excellent source of calcium.
- Cultivate Your Garden: Eggshells not only give animals calcium but also plants too. Mixing eggshells with soil at the bottom of a hole will help new plants grow. Your tomato plants will especially love you for it. You can also help existing plants by mixing the eggshells into the soil during the fall and spring.
Next time you crack an egg and get ready to trash the shell, remember — there are lots of ways to reuse it.