If you’re new to the backyard chicken game, you may not know that chickens can lay eggs in a rainbow of colors. Pink, green, blue, brown, white, and on the odd occasion, even red! But which hens lay those pretty pink eggs?
The hen secretes genetically determined pigments known as porphyrins that give color to the egg shells. Chickens breeds laying pink eggs are Asils, Austrolorps, Barred Rock, Buff Orpington, Light Sussex, Mottled Javas, Silkies, Easter Eggers, Croad Langshans, Plymouth Rocks, and Salmon Faverolles.
How on earth do those birds lay rainbow-colored eggs? Well, it depends on the breed of chicken and its genetics. Different types of chickens bred to the standards set out by the American Poultry Association (APA) will present with specific physical characteristics and specific colored eggs, except for the Easter Egger, which is a mixed breed.
We’ll look at some of the breeds that lay pink eggs and the factors that can influence the hue of those eggs.
What Breeds Lay Pink Eggs?
While we speak of pink eggs, not all of them are Barbie pink. Some are white, crème, or light brown with a pinkish tinge. People sometimes ask if chicken keepers feed their hens’ specific food or supplements to color the eggs, but it doesn’t work that way. So before we look at which breeds lay pink eggs, let’s see how they do it.
What Causes Chickens to Lay Pink Eggs?
All eggs are white when they start developing because they primarily comprise of calcium. It takes the hen approximately 26 hours to produce a single egg, and 20 of those she dedicates to forming the shell.
The hen only later secretes the necessary pigments or porphyrins from within her uterus to color the egg. These porphyrins create the “bloom” that changes the color from white to pink. So although the outside of the shell is pink, the inside stays white.
10 Chicken Breeds That Lay Pink Eggs
Now we know how they lay pink and other colored eggs; let’s find out which breeds spray-paint their eggs shades of pink.
1. Asils Can Lay Pink Eggs
The Asil chicken breed originated in India as fighting birds, but today people keep them mainly for ornamental purposes. This breed is friendly towards people, but roosters will fight each other to the death if kept together. Asil hens are not the best layers, producing only 40-70 small eggs per year. The eggs are usually light brown but can have a pinkish tinge from the bloom.
2. Some Australorps Will Produce Pink Eggs
The name “Australorp” is a contraction of the Australian black Orpington. These chickens are black with red earlobes, wattles, and combs and have friendly dispositions. They lay approximately 250 light brown eggs annually, but some can lay pink eggs.
3. Barred (Plymouth)Rock Chickens
The Barred Rock breed first appeared in America in the 1800s. It has black and white feathers, a slightly triangular body, and sweet and docile nature. Barred Rock chickens lay about 200 medium-large light brown eggs per year. Some eggs look pink because of the bloom.
4. Buff Orpingtons
Willian Cook bred these birds by crossing Barred (Plymouth) Rock, Minorca, and Lanshan breeds. They are heavy birds that produce about 200-280 large brown eggs yearly, and some of them can also have a pink hue.
5. Light Sussex Hens Can Lay Pink Eggs
Experts believe the original Sussex breed has been in England since the Roman invasion of 43 A.D., although it looks very different today. Farmers bred this type of chicken with Cochins, Brahma, and Dorkings. They are excellent dual-purpose birds and lay 4-5 large brown eggs weekly. Sometimes they have a pinkish tinge.
6. Mottled Javas
Mottled Javas have black feathers with white tips. They are quite a rare breed. Typically, they lay about three large brown eggs per week, which can also be tinted pink. Javas are a dual-purpose breed. They are calm and easily handled, making them ideal for backyard flocks.
7. Croad Langshans
Croad Langshans originated in Asia. They are sizeable chickens, with males weighing up to 10 lbs. They are a dual-purpose breed that lays 150-200 eggs annually. They are a rare breed but sought after for their eggs with the plum-colored bloom.
8. Salmon Faverolles Can Lay Pink Tinted Eggs
The Faverolles breed is named after the French village, where it originated in the 1860s. It is a dual-purpose bird that lays about four light brown eggs per week. Some hens lay beautifully pink-tinted eggs. They are very gentle birds and make excellent pets.
9. Silkies And Their Eggs
These chickens are called Silkies because of their fluffy feathers. The earliest written account of these birds was by Marco Polo in the 13th century. He referred to “wool-bearing chickens” and some that were “clothed with hair like that of a black cat.” Silkies lay about 100 eggs annually, ranging in color from cream to light tan, and sometimes have a pink tint.
10. Easter Eggers Or Americanas Can Lay Pink Eggs
Easter Eggers are mutts! They are a mixed breed with a lineage that incorporates many different species. They are pretty and usually lay about 250 eggs per year. They have the potential to lay pink eggs, but because of their mixed heritage, you never know what color eggs they will lay until it happens. Then, of course, it depends on the genes that their parents passed down to them.
Factors That Can Influence Egg Color
It is the internal process of dyeing that changes the color of white eggs to pink or other colors, but certain conditions can also affect the color:
- If the female spends too much time in the hot sun with insufficient water or shade, it can bleach the eggs.
- If shade and water are not the problems, you should check for parasites and mites because they can also bleach the eggs.
- A hen will always lay the same color eggs throughout her life. If she is a “pink-egger,” she will stay a “pink-egger” for life!
- The chicken’s diet can affect the egg yolk’s color and the shell’s acidic content.
Do Pink Eggs Taste Differently Thank Brown Eggs?
No, all chicken eggs, no matter the shell color, taste the same. The only difference is in appearance, and that is because of a pigment called lycopene.
It’s the element responsible for the red color in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, and watermelons. Some breeds have more lycopene in their system, which gives the eggs a pink or reddish hue.
Chickens with higher amounts of lycopene occur when their diets consist of foods with high lycopene, such as; watermelon, red cabbage, mangos, asparagus, etc.
You can also purchase lycopene supplements to give your chickens if you want them to lay pink eggs. However, this is unnecessary as it will not change the flavor of the eggs.
That said, some chicken owners give their broilers lycopene supplements to increase their body weight and improve the antioxidant status of the broilers.
If you would like to add some color to your chicken coop with some pink eggs, you have several options from which to choose. You can buy some of the pure-bred chickens that can lay pink-tinged eggs.
Many of these often produce crème or tan eggs. You can never be perfectly sure that a specific chicken will lay the desired pink egg because it depends on genetics.
Alternatively, you can purchase Easter Eggers, which are cheaper than the pure-bred varieties, and hope for the best! You will never know which color eggs you’ll get from those chickens. Either way, you’re bound to get some backyard beauties that will produce some gorgeous eggs.
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