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What colour eggs does a speckled hen lay?

When it comes to chickens and the eggs they lay, one of the most common questions is what color eggs do different breeds lay? The coloring of a chicken’s eggs is dependent on the breed, as some chickens lay white eggs while others lay brown eggs or even blue or green eggs. But what about speckled chickens – what color eggs do they lay?

Speckled chickens are known for having feathers that are dotted or speckled with various colors and patterns. The most common speckled chicken breeds include Sussex, Plymouth Rock, and Ameraucana. But unlike solid-colored chicken breeds where the egg color remains fairly consistent, speckled chicken breeds can actually lay a variety of different colored eggs. Keep reading to learn more about what colors eggs to expect from speckled hens.

The Genetics Behind Egg Color

The shell color of a chicken’s eggs is determined by pigments that are deposited during egg formation. There are two main pigments that contribute to egg color:

– Oocyanin – This pigment produces blue or green eggs.

– Protoporphyrin – This pigment produces brown eggs.

All chickens have the ability to produce both white and brown egg shells, as the protoporphyrin pigment is naturally present. However, some breeds have been selectively bred to produce more oocyanin, which results in blue or green egg shells.

The specific combination and concentration of these pigments is controlled by the chicken’s genetics. Each chicken possesses genes that code for production of the oocyanin and protoporphyrin pigments. Solid colored chicken breeds have been bred so that all individuals will consistently produce either white, brown, blue or green eggs.

Speckled chicken breeds, however, have more variation in their genetics when it comes to egg color. As a result, each individual speckled hen may produce eggs of different colors based on her genetic makeup.

Common Egg Colors from Speckled Chickens

Here are some of the most common egg shell colors that can be laid by popular speckled chicken breeds:


– Brown – Various shades from light brown to dark chocolate brown. Most common color.

– White – Pure white shells. Less common than brown.

– Light blue or green – Possible but rare. Requires specific genetics.

Plymouth Rock

– Brown – Rich brown is the most common color.

– White – Not as common as brown but still frequently seen.

– Blue/green – Very rare. Only if chicken carries the blue egg gene.


– Blue – Medium to dark blue is most common.

– Green – Olive green or sage green also possible.

– Pinkish or tinted – Some eggs may have a reddish hue.

– Brown – Rare but can occur if chicken carries brown egg gene.

So in summary, speckled chicken breeds have the potential to lay a variety of egg colors, unlike solid feathered breeds that lay consistent egg colors. The most common colors from speckled hens are white and brown, with blue or green being possible but less common. The exact ratio of colors from an individual hen depends on her unique genetics.

What Impacts Egg Color

While genetics are the main determiner of egg color, there are some other factors that can impact the final shell color:

Chicken’s Age

Younger chickens often lay eggs with lighter, more faded colors. As the hen ages, her eggs tend to become darker and more pigmented. So an older speckled chicken may lay richer chocolate brown or deep blue eggs compared to when she first started laying.


A chicken’s diet can affect the saturation of color in her eggs. Diets rich in yellow/orange plant pigments (like marigold petals or red peppers) can produce darker yellow-orange yolks and deeper brown shells. Lack of nutrients may lead to paler egg colors.

Environment and Seasons

Extreme heat or cold can sometimes cause a hen’s eggs to be lighter in color. Additionally, as daylight hours decrease in the fall/winter, egg color may fade slightly. The ideal conditions for richly pigmented eggs are moderate year-round temps and a spring/summer peak lay season.

Individual Variation

Each individual hen will lay slightly unique eggs even among the same breed and genetics. One Sussex chicken may lay medium brown eggs while another lays dark chocolate brown. So there can be natural variation between hens.

How Often Do Egg Colors Vary?

For speckled chicken breeds, it’s common for hens to switch between two or more egg colors somewhat regularly. However, a hen’s egg color often remains fairly consistent for stretches of time. Here are some examples of what to expect:

– A hen may lay light brown eggs for a few weeks, then switch to laying white for a week, then back to light brown.

– One month a hen lays green eggs, then the next month she lays blue eggs, then green again after that.

– For several months a hen lays white eggs, then suddenly starts laying brown eggs instead which continue for several more months.

So while egg color changes do occur in speckled breeds, they tend to stick with one predominant color for many weeks or months before switching. Drastic shifts in egg color from day to day are less common. An individual hen will also tend to cycle through the same 2-3 colors repeatedly.

Are Speckled Eggs Lower Quality?

The varied colors of eggs from speckled chickens generally do not affect the egg quality or taste compared to solid color egg layers. Some people even prefer the uniqueness and surprise of multi-colored cartons of eggs from their mixed flock!

However, there are a few considerations regarding speckled chicken eggs:

– Minor shell imperfections like speckles or blemishes may be more visible on paler egg shells of white/light brown. But the interior quality remains the same.

– Green or blue egg shells are sometimes slightly thicker than brown or white. But this does not affect the egg contents.

– If a hen happens to lay a very small or large egg, abnormalities in shell shape or texture may be more obvious against highly pigmented egg colors.

So while the shell appearance itself may vary a bit more with mixed egg colors, the quality and taste of the inside remains unchanged. Scrambled, hard boiled, or fried speckled eggs are just as delicious and nutritious as any other color!

Benefits of Keeping Speckled Breeds

Despite their egg color variability, there are many advantages to keeping speckled breeds on small homesteads or backyard flocks:

Genetic Diversity

Speckled hens introduce more genetic diversity which can lead to hybrid vigor in chicks. This may increase fertility rates and overall flock health/production.

Foraging Skills

Many speckled breeds retain excellent foraging instincts from their heritage. This allows them to free range widely while minimizing supplemental feed costs.


Speckled chickens are often prized for their friendly, docile personalities. They tend to be easily handled which is a bonus for family flocks with children.


The beautifully spangled feather patterns give coops an ornamental flair. Their eggs make for amazing farm-fresh rainbow egg cartons too!

Dual Purpose

Breeds like Plymouth Rocks produce plenty of eggs while also yielding a good carcass for meat. This dual productivity can be valuable for small farms.

Frequency of Different Egg Colors from Speckled Chickens

Here is a summary of the typical frequencies of various egg colors from common speckled chicken breeds:

Breed Most Common Color Second Most Common Possible But Rare
Sussex Brown White Blue/Green
Plymouth Rock Brown White Blue/Green
Ameraucana Blue Green Brown

As shown, brown and white eggs are the most common colors from traditional speckled breeds like Sussex and Plymouth Rocks. For Easter Eggers like Ameraucanas, blue is most common followed by green. Other colors are possible but less frequently seen.

Maximizing Egg Color Variety

Those wanting the most diversity of egg colors from their speckled flock can try these tips:

– Select hens from parents laying different egg colors to increase genetic variability.

– Provide a nutritious layer feed with marigold/pepper supplements to encourage pigment production.

– Allow hens to free range for diet diversity including wild plants and insects.

– Have a mixed age flock so younger and older hens lay differing egg colors.

– Plan seasonal egg color changes based on peak lay in spring/summer.

Following this guidance, it’s possible to gather a true rainbow assortment of colorful eggs from speckled chicken breeds!


The egg color from speckled chickens is a fascinating result of their diverse genetics. While solid feathered breeds lay eggs of uniform color, each speckled hen produces her own palette based on her unique genetic makeup. Sussex, Plymouth Rocks, Ameraucanas, and other spangled breeds can lay white, brown, blue, or green eggs in an assortment of hues. Though the shell color varies, the quality, taste and nutrition remains reliably excellent. So next time you crack open an egg from your flock, enjoy the surprise of what color may await inside that speckled shell!