Easter Egger: Everything You Need To Know About This Chicken

Easter Egger Everything You Need To Know About This Chicken Blog Cover

Whilst not strictly a purebred, the Easter Egger has become a backyard favorite across America. With its cute looks and vibrant personality what’s not to like?

They are known as Easter Eggers because they can lay a wide variety of egg colors and their plumage can also be various colors.

Generally, in the US an Easter Egger is a bird that is understood to carry the blue egg laying gene from its parent stock (the Araucana or Ameraucana).

Although primarily thought of as an egg layer, they make a reasonable dual purpose breed.

In this article we cover everything you need to know about them including their temperament, egg laying ability and much more…

History and Background of Easter Eggers

Easter Egger

These lovable ‘mutts’ were originally created when people started crossing Araucana or Ameraucanas with other breeds.

The results of these crossings led to multi-colored eggs and an adorable looking bird!

As we know, the Araucana and Ameraucana both possess the gene for laying blue eggs. So when a breed that lays brown eggs for example, is crossed with an Araucana or Ameraucana, the result is a green/olive colored egg.

Easter Eggers have been around for quite a while now and have lost none of their popularity; in fact they are becoming even more popular for backyard chicken folks because of their colored eggs but also because of their low maintenance lifestyle.

Easter Egger Chicken Purchase Easter Egger Chickens

Meet the Parents

We can’t be entirely sure who their parents are. However it is widely accepted that the parents are the Araucana and Ameraucana.

Araucana

The original Araucanas were brought to the US from Chile, South America in the 1930s. They are rumples birds which means they have no tail and no coccyx.

They have ear ‘tufts’ and a pea comb. The ear tuft gene can be lethal to the embryos. If both parent birds have it most of the chicks will die in the shell; hence their rarity. They are actually a mix of Collonca and Quetros chickens from the area where they were first found and carry the dominant blue gene for eggs.

Ameraucana

The Ameraucana was bred from mixed breed chickens and Araucanas. They were developed to the breeders liking and so a standard was issued.

They were bred to retain the blue gene for eggs, but eliminate the lethal gene from the parents which caused ear tufts.

Appearance

Easter Egger Appearance

The Easter Egger can literally be a mixed bag of features. They can have any sort of comb with single and pea being the most common (depends on their parents).

Their ear lobes can be any color, but are usually red or white and occasionally a bird will have ear tufts. The wattles on both sexes are red but small.

Facial features can include all, some or no muffs and/or beards, giving them a look that some folks describe as chipmunk-ish.

They usually have a tail, but because of the Araucana genes, some birds may be rumpless.

The legs are usually clean and the shanks can be any color from yellow to slate blue/green. The foot has four toes and the footpad, like the shanks, can be any color.

It’s really not possible to give a ‘true’ coloration of Easter Egger. Their feathers can come in solid colors, patterns and splashes of any color. It depends on what plumage the parent birds had and which of those colors become genetically dominant.

They are on the small size for a standard chicken with the boys weighing around 5lb and the girls 4lb.

Standard

As the Easter Egger is a hybrid, there is no set standard for them.

Why Do Easter Eggers Lay Blue Eggs?

Why some hens laid blue eggs was a mystery that was not unraveled until 2013 following the mapping of the chicken genome.

It was found that certain breeds (Araucana, Dongxiang and Lushi) had been infected with a retrovirus that had inserted itself into the chicken’s DNA.

The gene responsible for this blue coloration is called oocyan and the pigment that colors the egg is made from a liver pigment called oocyanin.

The big difference between colored and blue eggs is that the blue color permeates through the shell – so it is blue inside and out. Brown or tinted eggs are created when a ‘dye’ called protoporphyrin is laid onto the shell. That’s why when you vigorously clean a brown egg you can sometimes take the pigment off!

If you want a deeper look into blue eggs see our article.

Disposition

A sunny, outgoing disposition would probably best describe them. They are friendly, curious and gentle. They aren’t bully birds and may get picked on by more assertive breeds so keep a cautious eye on them with others.

They would be most suitable with easygoing non-aggressive types like Salmon Faverolles or Cochins.

They are not shy and often approach humans looking for treats or some lap time. They are great with kids and the kids love them right back for their personality and colorful eggs.

Egg Laying and Broodiness

Easter Egger Chicken

They are good layers, producing 4 large eggs each week (that’s in the range of 200 per year).

You should know that whatever color eggs the hen lays, that will be the only color she lays – they don’t do rainbow assortments. But if you have several hens you are likely to get a good variety of colors in your egg box.

They seldom go broody so they devote most of their time to laying those wonderful eggs.

Health Issues

They are a healthy and vigorous bird. No particular health issues other than the usual problems with parasites, especially birds that have beards and muffs.

Is The Easter Egger Right For You?

If you want friendly hens and colorful eggs, look no further than the Easter Egger. They may not have ‘pedigree’ but they certainly make up for it in many other ways.

They are delightful birds each with their own individual looks and personality. They aren’t a noisy bird so shouldn’t cause problems with the neighbors. Although they enjoy free ranging, they will tolerate confinement well enough. However, they are curious and active, so try to provide them with things to explore in their pen so they don’t get bored.

If you do let them free range they will supplement their diet quite handsomely reducing your feed bill slightly!

They are hardy to both heat and cold and can tolerate a wide variety of environments as long as they have the necessities of life (food, water and shelter).

Summary

Chick season is almost upon us and as you scan over all those fluffy little peeps you may come across some labeled as Americanas.

If they cost under $5.00 per bird, these are most likely to be mislabeled Easter Eggers.

True Araucanas or Ameraucanas will seldom, if ever, be found in a feed store and they most certainly will cost a lot more than $5.00.

For many people the novelty of having different colored eggs is a great selling point. Not only do you get different colored eggs, the chicks can grow up to look very different from each other.

These birds are low maintenance and will repay you handsomely with beautiful eggs. They are quite remarkable in that they have developed an almost cult-like following despite not being ‘pedigrees’!

Do you keep Easter Eggers? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below…

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Comments

  1. Gwendolyn B Englade says

    I enjoy these message I get lots of great information
    I have 1 of these Easter egg chicken she is great and lay teal color eggs

  2. Cheri Rusinack says

    I have several Easter Eggers. I have found that they their first eggs at approximately 9 months old which was hard for me to wait to see that beautiful egg!
    Every one of mine has a different mix of feather colors. I absolutely love them!

    • Angela Colton says

      I’m in Indiana where do you find them? I’ve been trying to find a place to get some chicks or a year old but, I can’t seem to.

      • Kathleen pisowicz says

        I live in indiana northwest and get them from chesterton feed and garden and you can even order them online. but look at your stores like big R and feed and garden stores first

      • Tricia Bird says

        I got them at Rural King. They didn’t have any in stock, but I asked for them to be ordered and just had to wait until they came in.

      • Lisa says

        We purchased ours in April of this year from a place called HOOVER’S HATCHERY. Their address is
        P.O. BOX 200
        RUDD, IA. 50471
        I think but not sure that their phone # is
        1-800-247-7014

      • Melissa Fletcher says

        I’m in Muncie Indiana and have a bunch… we let our chickens hatch all summer. We get all colors of eggs but I don’t know exactly what they are. You’re welcome to see what I have if you’d like. Find me on Facebook and let me know you’re interested in the chickens. My name is Melissa Fletcher

  3. Tami Caldwell says

    My Easter Egger is so sweet and smart. She gets along great with my 2 Isbars and indeed lays pretty blue/green eggs 4 times a week. She loves attention and crouches down beside me to be picked up and held. I live in Missouri and she has no problem with the winter weather or hot summer. She is orange with little ear muffs and a full tail. I highly recommend this “breed” for beginners to experts.

  4. Leslie Hall says

    I have five Easter Eggers. They are quite lovely. They have wonderful dispositions and love time spent with you. They enjoy being held and having their backs rubbed. They sing sweet songs when you are with them. Their eggs are beautiful either blue or green with pretty insides. They are quite hardy as well as I live in the Northeast. They also are very proud to give you eggs as they always join me for gathering. They respond well to praise. They also spend time with me first when I bring their feed. Quite a good fit for a family hen. I love my girls!

  5. Stephanie Burnette says

    I put my coop close to my bedroom window so my two Easter egger ladies can sing to me in the morning and I can sing back. Absolutely love my girls. They sit in my lap for treats and both lay pretty much an egg a day when the weather’s right. Too many damp dreary days they stop laying for a day or two, otherwise cold or warm, they’re working hard.

    • Tanya Morgan says

      We have two Easter eggers, just ready to move out to their new coop. I have noticed however, they prefer greens i.e. clover and grass over worms! Will sometimes not eat the worms?! Is this normal?

      • The Happy Chicken Coop says

        Yes very normal. One of my older flocks avoids warms, another flock would scratch until they found some.

        Claire

  6. Michael says

    I have 2 flocks of EE’s, 14 total birds. One flock from Cackle and one from TSC….one of my favorite breeds!

  7. Daniel Amberg says

    I have one EE. She’s as great as the article suggests. She’s 4 years old.

    But about a month ago, she laid a “rubber” egg, and has not laid since. The coop hasn’t changed, the location hasn’t changed. I keep the coop clean and feed the girls layer pellets and kitchen scraps. They free range and have oyster shell available.

    Any ideas? She may wind up in the Crock Pot if the situation doesn’t improve!

    Thank you,

    –Dan

  8. callie sraum says

    i have three easter egger chicks and was just searchung the web for info about this chicken.
    helps alot. cant wait for them to start growing!!

  9. Doug Stenstrom says

    I have six Easter Eggers . . . at least that was what I was told. They haven’t started laying yet. But, I read somewhere that if a chicken has yellow legs, they DON’T have the colored egg gene. Five of my girls have yellow leg. Tell me this ISN’T true!!

    • Ann says

      Fear not! Some of my girls have yellow legs and all of the eggs are a variation of blue. My brother keeps a bigger flock and gets a wider variety of colors including brown, but it depends on what breeds we’re mixed in with the blue genes. Each egg still feels like a gift from my little honeys – I hope you have a great experience with your girls! 😊

  10. Jen says

    I have three EE chickens and they are very sweet! Each one flies up and sits on my shoulders… one prefers to sit on my head-no joke. They don’t seem very assertive and unfortunetly my other chickens tend to pick on them.

  11. HJAle says

    I have four EE that were hatched on St. Patrick’s Day. Just waiting for those first eggs now. We have one Americana in our older coop that gives us pretty green eggs a few times a week. And as I remember she was behind laying her first egg from the other hens. However one of my Hens seems to be a Roo. He looks totally different than the other three with his large fluffy tail. Unfortunately we can’t keep a Roo in our town, and I’m at a loss at what to do with him.

    • Stephanie says

      An egg is an egg. They arent any different nutritionally speaking no matter what color they are. One egg a day is the correct amount of cholesterol for your cells (per my nutrition class.) I don’t imagine you need much more cholesterol when pregnant.

  12. Teresa Wiencek says

    I own a mixed flock,but I must say for personality hands down it’s my Easter Eggers…. Beautiful birds to look at also. They are all pets to me ,but with egg benefits of course. I am always looking to add new members, different breeds to our chicken family. Best egg layers for sure though are my Leghorns….. 1 egg a day😍❤

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