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Chicken Breeds for a Colorful Basket of Eggs

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Chicken Egg Colors

Pretty Egg Colors from Buckhorn Cliffs - Chicken Egg Colors

While the colors are fun, I have other criteria that also must be met before I bring a certain breed into our flock. Since we live in Colorado, we have cold and snow that the birds need to endure well. We have children, so no mean chickens allowed. I bake, like, a lot. That means that size and quantity of eggs are also important factors for me. Dual-purpose (meat and egg) chickens are also a bonus, but not a deal-breaker for us.

All of these “needs” put together help me narrow down which breeds would fit best on our homestead. What works for us may not work for you. All that said, below is a list of the specific breeds we currently have in our flock of 49 chickens (47 laying, 2 roos) that give us this beautiful range of colors each day.

Although only 10 are pictured, we have gotten 16 different colors from our current flock

Eggs by Color

  1. Green/Olive: Americana, Sapphire Olive Egger™, Easter Egger
  2. Blue: Americana, Easter Egger
  3. Cream: Americana, Buff Orpington, Easter Egger
  4. Pink: Barred Plymouth Rock, Blue Plymouth Rock, New Hampshire
  5. Light Pink-Brown: Barred Plymouth Rock, Blue Plymouth Rock, New Hampshire, Sapphire Gem™
  6. Light Yellow-Brown: Buff Orpington
  7. Light Brown: Delaware, Rhode Island Red, Sapphire Gem™
  8. Brown: Cinnamon Queen, Rhode Island Red
  9. Dark Brown: Cuckoo Marans
  10. Speckled Brown: Welsummer

The trademarked breeds listed above are sold by Hoover’s Hatchery. That is actually where we purchase all of our chicks. While we do have a local feed store that sells chicks, and I have purchased some from them in the past, I like to be able to choose exactly which breeds I want in our flock and it is not always a guarantee those breeds will be available locally.

Buckhorn Cliffs Eggs

For the first time, we have roosters in our flock and intend on utilizing them to raise our own chicks when we are ready to expand the flock, rather than purchasing chicks each year. I will still likely purchase some, depending on the results of raising our own chicks (I’m admittedly not too familiar with breeding and how to get the qualities I want in a chicken that way).

Now, on to egg size…

The “Off The Charts!” egg pictured is a whopping 100g!! That poor chicken.

US Egg Size by Weight

  • Peewee – less than 42g (not pictured)
  • Small – 42g – 49g
  • Medium – 49g – 56g
  • Large – 56g – 63g
  • X-Large – 63g – 70g
  • Jumbo – 70g +

While egg color is important to me, so is size. I prefer breeds that lay Large and X-Large eggs. However, most colored-egg layers (blues and greens) usually only lay Medium sized eggs, so I make the exception for them.

Of course, there are the outliers. We don’t have any breeds that lay Small or Peewee size eggs. That doesn’t mean we never get those sizes. When young pullets get old enough to start laying, their first eggs are often quite tiny compared to what they will lay when they are fully mature. And then you will get the random massive eggs (see that monster in the photo above!) and you just want to cuddle the poor hen that had to pass that thing through her body.

That is the beauty in having your own flock. You really never know what you’re going to get. I love going out to the next boxes to see what treats are waiting for us each day:

What colors will we get today? Will there be any Jumbos? And double-yolkers?

Buckhorn Cliffs Eggs

My kids have asked me why we never get any white eggs and the answer is simple: we don’t have any white-laying breeds in the flock. Why? I’m just not a fan of those breeds. White Leghorns are the most common and familiar white-layer, and they produce a crazy high amount of perfect, large, white eggs per year (about 325, more than any other breed). So why wouldn’t I want them in our flock?

Temperament. It’s as simple as that.

I prefer docile, sweet, friendly chickens, and the White Leghorn is not that. They are nervous, overly active, flighty. When I go out to see my birds, they come running to me. They are our pets, we love them and socialize them. They all get along well together, there are rarely fights or pecking (outside the normal social pecking order). As much as I want friendly hens that like me and don’t terrorize children, I want them to get along with each other as well.

Every breed we have, with the exception of the Rhode Island Red, has “docile” listed under their temperament traits. The RIR is listed as “curious, friendly”, also wonderful traits. Keeping docile and friendly birds means a flock that gets along well, has less stress, and will produce consistent and beautiful eggs. A stressed hen is a non-laying hen.

Buckhorn Cliffs Eggs

In our flock of 49, we have 12 different breeds. I’m very aware that 12 different breeds is not a possibility for everyone, especially those who live in urban areas with HOA restrictions. If you are limited to 6 or less hens, like many cities mandate, I’ve rated the top 6 breeds I would recommend (and why), with (1) being the most recommended (prioritizing egg color).

Top 6 Breeds for Egg Colors

  1. Easter Egger, hands down. Colorful eggs, very friendly, beautiful to look at. While not the largest eggs (by size or quantity), it’s still plenty each year and adds color to the basket.
  2. Barred Plymouth Rock. Always my favorite bird for personality, they lay light brown to pink eggs that are large in size.
  3. Sapphire Gem. This is a new breed to me but I have found them to be very sweet. They also are good production hens with nearly 300 X-Large brown eggs per year.
  4. Sapphire Olive Egger. Another new-to-me breed, the large olive eggs are gorgeous, and the hen is pretty sweet too. We often get speckled eggs from these girls as well.
  5. Buff Orpington. Although the books list the egg color as “light brown”, they always tend to be a more yellowish-brown, rounding out the rainbow quite nicely. They are big, sweet birds that love attention.
  6. Cuckoo Marans. Last on this list because quantity of eggs per year is on the low side (about 200) but they are a beautiful deep chocolate brown. Most chickens of this breed will have feathered legs, fun to look at, and the breed is pretty calm (not overly friendly in my limited experience though).
Buckhorn Cliffs Eggs

If you have a small flock of 6 hens, one of each of the breeds listed above, this is likely what your basket will look like:

  • Blue
  • Pink/Light Brown
  • Brown
  • Olive/Green/Gray
  • Yellow/Light Brown
  • Dark Brown
Buckhorn Cliffs Eggs

Want to learn more? Read our Complete Guide to Chicken Eggs now!

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