When it comes to backyard chickens, two of the most popular breeds for their colorful eggs are the Ameraucana and Easter Egger. But what exactly is the difference between them when it comes to egg color? Here’s a quick overview:
Ameraucanas lay blue or green eggs. The Ameraucana breed was developed in America in the 1970s with the goal of creating a blue egg laying chicken. True Ameraucanas that meet the breed standard will lay blue eggs.
Easter Eggers can lay a variety of egg colors like blue, green, pink, and more. Easter Eggers are not a true breed but a mixed breed that carries the blue egg laying gene. Their egg color can vary widely.
So in summary: Ameraucanas always lay blue eggs. Easter Eggers can lay a variety of egg colors. Keep reading for more details on these two fabulous breeds and their egg color genetics.
History of the Ameraucana
The Ameraucana breed was developed in America in the 1970s with the goal of creating a blue egg laying chicken. Before this, no chicken breeds native to the United States laid blue eggs.
Breeders crossed Chilean Araucanas, that did lay blue eggs, with American breeds like the Plymouth Rock. After many generations of selective breeding, the Ameraucana was established as a new pure blue egg laying breed.
The Ameraucana breed was recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1984. It’s now a popular American breed thanks to its beautiful blue eggs.
Ameraucana Egg Color Genetics
The blue and green egg color of Ameraucanas is caused by the oocyan gene. This is a genetic quirk that causes their eggshells to be pigmented blue-green.
All purebred Ameraucanas will carry two copies of the oocyan gene (it’s homozygous recessive). Therefore, they’ll always lay blue eggs. Any other egg color indicates impure breeding.
According to the breed standard, Ameraucana eggs should be a uniform light blue to green-blue color. Very pale “robin’s egg” blue is preferred. Any darker or uneven coloring may be penalized.
Other Ameraucana Egg Facts
Here are some other interesting facts about Ameraucana eggs:
- Egg size is medium to large.
- Egg production is good at 3-4 eggs per week.
- The blue eggshells are strong and not prone to cracking.
- The blue coloration doesn’t affect egg flavor or nutritional content.
- Blue eggs aren’t just pretty! The pigment biliverdin found in blue shells has antioxidant properties.
History of Easter Eggers
Unlike purebred Ameraucanas, Easter Eggers are not a true chicken breed. They don’t have breed standards to follow.
Easter Eggers are a mixed breed that carries the blue egg laying gene but also has mixed heritage from other chicken breeds.
This gives Easter Eggers much more variety in their egg color and appearance compared to Ameraucanas. Let’s talk genetics next!
Easter Egger Egg Color Genetics
Easter Eggers can lay a wide variety of egg colors thanks to their hybrid genetics.
Any Easter Egger must have one copy of the oocyan or ocalgene from a blue egg layer like Ameraucanas or Araucanas. This allows them to lay blue/green eggs.
Their other gene copy affects the egg color intensity. It may come from:
- A brown egg layer – dilutes blue to green
- A white egg layer – dilutes blue to light blue or pink
- Another blue layer – intensifies blue color
This hybrid combo allows Easter Eggers to lay olive green, sage green, pale blue, bright sky blue, pinkish or cream eggs. Their eggs can differ in shade from day to day too.
Each individual Easter Egger’s egg color is a surprise waiting to be uncovered!
Other Easter Egger Egg Facts
Here are some other fun facts about Easter Egger eggs:
- Egg size varies from small to extra large.
- Production averages 2-3 eggs per week.
- Pink or pale eggs are prone to staining and discoloration.
- Unique egg colors don’t affect egg nutrition or taste.
- Color varies from hen to hen even within the same breeder flock.
Comparing Ameraucana and Easter Egger Egg Colors
Let’s summarize the key egg color differences between these two fabulous breeds:
|Ameraucana||Blue or green only|
|Easter Egger||Blue, green, pink, cream – can vary individually|
Ameraucanas have standardized egg color within the breed. All will lay some shade of blue or green eggs.
Easter Eggers have much more variety between hens. Each one is genetically unique and may lay different colored eggs from its sisters.
Ameraucana vs Easter Egger: Other Differences
Aside from egg color, what else differs between these breeds? Here are a few key points:
- Ameraucanas have a pea comb. Easter Eggers can have a single, rose or pea comb depending on breeding.
- Ameraucanas come in specific color patterns like wheaten, blue wheaten and splash. Easter Eggers vary widely.
- Easter Eggers may have cheek puffs and beards from their Araucana heritage. Ameraucanas don’t.
- Ameraucanas are active, curious and shy at first. They can be flighty.
- Easter Eggers tend to be very friendly, calm and enjoy human interaction.
- Ameraucanas are smaller sized chickens that lay 3-4 medium eggs per week.
- Easter Eggers are good layers of 2-3 extra large eggs per week.
Choosing between Ameraucana and Easter Egger
So which of these fabulously egg-citing breeds is right for you?
Here are some things to consider:
- Ameraucanas are a good choice if you want guaranteed blue eggs. Easter Eggers if you enjoy color variety.
- Go for Ameraucanas if you want to breed and show purebred chickens.
- Choose Easter Eggers for a better chance at friendly, calm chickens good for families.
- If you need lots of large eggs, Easter Eggers are your best bet.
You really can’t go wrong with either of these splendid breeds. The most important thing is to source your chickens from a responsible breeder focusing on health and good genetics.
Then sit back and enjoy those colorful eggs!
Raising Happy and Healthy Blue or Green Egg Layers
Here are some tips to keep your Ameraucana or Easter Egger chickens healthy and laying gorgeous eggs:
- Provide at least 4 square feet of coop space per bird inside.
- Allow 8-10 square feet per bird in the outdoor run area.
- Give access to grass, dirt or sand for flock’s natural scratching and dust bathing.
- Offer a high quality layer feed plus supplements like oyster shell.
- Supply fresh, clean water at all times.
- Let birds free range or provide a deep litter enclosure for exercise.
- Discourage egg eating behaviors if they arise.
- Collect eggs frequently, daily if possible.
- Wash soiled eggs gently with a soft cloth.
Following these tips will help your blue or rainbow egg layers thrive!
To wrap up, Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers are two fabulous choices if you’re looking to add blue, green or other colorful eggs to your egg basket.
Ameraucanas have a standardized look and will always lay blue eggs. Easter Eggers have more variety in appearance and lay a rainbow of egg colors.
Make your choice based on whether you want guaranteed blue eggs from a pure breed or enjoy the fun surprise of multi-colored eggs. Either way, these chickens will bring beauty and delight to your backyard flock!