Have you been dying to have olive eggs in your basket lately? Why don’t you try to raise an Olive Egger chicken yourself to enjoy having more of it and find pleasure in having a friendly feathery companion?
These birds may not be as glamorous as other chickens, but their eggs are. And there’s more to them than what meets the eye.
So, today we’ll have a trip down to the history of this hybrid and share with you:
- what does an olive egger chicken look like
- how broody and hardy are olive eggers
- why these birds are worth raising, and
- some care tips on raising Olive Eggers
Whether you’re a fan of these birds or just a curious poultry owner, we’ll help you get to know more about Olive Egger chickens and see if they fit your needs.
So, let’s dive right into it.
What is an Olive Egger Chicken?
Heads up! Olive Egger chicken is not a breed recognized by the American Poultry Association, but instead a hybrid or a cross of two breeds — specifically, a blue egg layer and a dark brown egg layer.
They sought them after for their beautiful olive green colored eggs and sweet disposition.
These birds can be a great addition to your flocks for several reasons.
But before we discuss why this breed is a must-have, join us as we dig deep into their eggstraordinary history.
What Makes An Olive Egger Chicken – Their Eggstraordinary History
As mentioned earlier, Olive Egger chickens are produced by crossing a brown egg layer and a blue egg layer.
The blue egg layers that can pass as Olive Egger chicken parents include the following breeds:
On the other end, the brown egg layer breeds that can be used to produce Olive Eggers are:
If you’re wondering how this cross-breeding began, well, the craze started in around 1842 when Chinese chickens were brought to and crossed with local breeds in England.
This phenomenon made farmers experiment in crossing different varieties with specific traits. Due to the egg-citing discoveries, many more scientists became interested in this process and joined the bandwagon.
Since then, they learned how to cross-breed to have more active, robust, and adaptable chicks. This trial and error process was the reason for Olive Egger chickens’ birth.
These birds are one of the most exciting and are in demand chickens in the poultry department, thanks to their iconic olive green eggs.
Olive Egger Chickens’ Breed Standard and Appearance
Since Olive Eggers come from different parents, their appearance varies; some have pea combs, feathered legs, and muffs, while others may not.
They can also have different plumage colors, and they’re so diverse and unpredictable.
But sometimes, Black Ameraucana crossed with Black Copper Marans will result in either a solid black chicken with Ameraucana cheek puffs or a chick with feathered feet like the Marans.
An Olive Egger’s body is usually stocky, and the roosters may weigh around 7 to 8 lbs while the pullets weigh about 6 and 7 lbs.
That means they’re just medium-sized chickens that won’t produce much meat as other breeds.
How do you tell if my Olive Egger is a rooster?
If your Olive Egger is from a Cream Legbar and Black Copper Marans, you’ll know if it’s a male at the time they have because males have white dots on their heads.
On the other hand, Olive Egger hens will have either solid black with a crest or black feathered with bronze shade in their hackle feathers. They feature a range as well.
On the other end, Olive Egger roosters boast a barring, and they may have or may not have a crest.
Olive Egger Chicken Temperament and Disposition
Even if Olive egger rooster and hen’s temperament vary depending on their parent fowls, these birds, in general, are friendly and docile.
But the best way to determine what your Olive Eggers’ disposition will be like is by knowing their parents’ temperament.
If their parents are gentle and have a good disposition, they will likely inherit that. For example, chickens with Welsummer parents are more likely to be intelligent.
And parents with calm and friendly personalities will likely produce chicks with the same temperament. That can help you see what breed combination will work best for you.
However, some poultry owners find their Marans standoffish and their Ameracaunas skittish.
But the offspring are friendly, so it seems that some have retained the good qualities of their parents. But of course, they can also be pretty talkative and chatter quietly.
Olive egger hens and roosters’ temperament make them easy to raise and introduce into your existing flock.
Olive Egger Chickens’ Egg Laying Capabilities
As its name suggests, Olive Egger chickens lay vibrant olive green eggs, but they can still vary depending on the parent fowls. Some produce blue, green, brown, and even pink eggs.
When you cross two breeds, the combinations aren’t 100% predictable. That’s why there are some differences in their offspring’s colors.
The inside of their olive green eggshell is usually bright green, while the outside looks brown with a translucent coating.
The green shade of their eggs can be anywhere from bright green to brown hue. So, having Olive Eggers can surely make your basket more colorful.
The eggs of these chickens have vibrant green colors, thanks to their dark shades of brown.
Olive Eggers produce 4 to 5 large-sized eggs per day and about 150 to 200 eggs per year. They start laying at a young age of 5 to 6 months.
The average could be slightly higher if they have Ameraucanas in their blood. Some breeders even find them more consistent egg layers than Ameraucanas.
They have a high chance of survival even in cold climates because these are cold-hardy chickens that can also tolerate heat.
Egg color: Olive green, but sometimes blue and pink
Egg size: Large
Laying habit: 150-200
Meat Production of Olive Egger Chickens
Olive Egger chickens are excellent in producing colorful eggs, but they’re not the best chicken breed for meat production. They don’t provide much meat, and they aren’t known for it.
However, hybrids that carry Marans’ blood who have more giant roosters that weigh around 3.4 to 4 kg can give more meat. That’s because their breed is usually larger than Americaunas.
So, if you have too many roosters as most breeders do, a few cockerels might flatten up your fridge nicely.
How to Raise Olive Egger Chickens
Feeding and Meeting The Nutritional Requirements
No matter what the breed of the chicken is, you always need to provide the best chicken feed for them to grow faster and optimize their egg production.
As for Olive Eggers, these birds need a chick starter that meets their needs right from hatching to their 16th week of life.
Their needs will naturally change as they grow older, and you will need to transition them into a complete laying feed a few weeks before they start laying eggs.
They also need a calcium supplement to ensure their olive-green eggs will be solid and thick-shelled.
Housing and Fencing for Olive Eggers
These chickens don’t need a massive space to thrive. A 4 square feet space per bird will be sufficient if they’re in a coop.
But if you prefer to put them in a run where they can free-range, the recommended space is 10 square feet per bird.
Diseases and Health Issues of Olive Eggers
Olive Eggers are healthy birds that aren’t prone to common chicken health issues like diarrhea, coccidiosis, and fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome.
However, you need to watch your birds if they have scaly leg mites. Most birds are susceptible to chicken mites, and they’re so small that they’re hard to notice.
The next thing you’ll see is your hen’s coop is full of destructive mite and itchy, miserable birds.
These mites are like vampires that live on your chicken’s body and feed on their blood. They seem like tiny ticks that live, reproduce and die within about a week.
But in that short period, they’ll feast on your Olive Egger’s body like crazy. That’s why suffering birds peck and scratch at themselves.
Signs of Mite’s Presence :
Their symptoms under mite attacks include feather loss, scabby legs and feet, pale comb, and reduced laying.
And you can only see mites in your Olive Egger’s body if you’d thoroughly check while they spread their wings out and their skin looks scaly, red, or inflamed.
How to Get Rid of Mites:
You can treat chicken mites by dusting all your Olive Eggers with diatomaceous earth. Adding a cup of the diatomaceous world into a sandbox of dirt and sand where chickens can dust bath can also help.
Others prefer to dispose of the beddings or burn them after cleaning the coop to kill the mites.
But there’s also a natural remedy: the neem oil that disrupts the life cycle of mites, lice, ticks, and fleas and nourishes the skin.
You can apply it directly to your bird’s skin or add two teaspoons of the oil in a spray bottle with apple cider vinegar and water and spray it into every nooks and corner of the coop.
Of course, you need to clean the coop and move your chickens while doing that.
Most mite killers are dangerous to other animals. But if you live in ore temperate areas and need more robust solutions, Permethrin might be the safest way to go.
It’s available in both liquid and powder form, and you can apply it directly to your Olive Egger’s skin use it as a coop spray.
Now let’s get into the scaly leg mites.
Remedies for Scaly Leg Mites:
One of the signs of having scaly leg mites is if there’s thick skin on the top of their feet.
These mites can live even in winter and can be disturbing for your birds because they burrow under their skin and make the scales on their legs and feet stick up.
It can be painful for them because these parasites bite your birds and feed on their blood.
One way to remedy this situation is to spray your birds with a garlic juice mixture that can 100% kill mites over 24 hours. Just mix the following to get the right solution:
- 10 ounces of water
- 1 ounce of garlic juice
- and one teaspoon of a combination of commercial oils like bay, clove, coriander, spearmint, lavender, and thyme
Just mix them and spray them into your bird and their coop every other day for around 2 to 3 weeks if your coop is infested.
And put more under their wings or around the vent to make sure you get rid of all of them.
You can also use it as a preventive solution and spray it bi-weekly on your birds and their coop.
If it’s not available, you can use warm soapy water to wash your Olive Egger chicken’s leg, then wipe it with a washcloth in a gentle manner.
Care Tips for Raising Olive Eggers
Raising Olive Eggers comes with several challenges like any other chicken. Although these birds are easy to manage and increase, here are some tips to keep in mind to make sure they’ll grow happy and healthy.
1. Keep the chicken coop clean
Having a clean home is crucial to keep the diseases from bacteria and dirt at bay. It can also help to control the smell of the coop.
2. Make water more accessible
Chickens are prone to dehydration, so refilling their water trough with clean and fresh water several times a day is necessary.
3. Provide them a safe and comfortable home
The Olive Egger eggs are precious, and they deserve a safe nesting box, so make sure they’re comfortable, and the coop itself is safe to lay into.
This can help reduce stress and make it easier to harvest the eggs.
4. Protect their space
Olive Egger chickens like roaming around just like other hybrids, but they’ll be prone to predators while foraging.
This calls for the need for a durable fence that can protect them from predators snooping around.
5. Give them some produce
Olive Egger chickens also like eating fruits and vegetables, and they’d love you if you’d give them some leftovers. It’s an excellent way to make them stronger and healthier.
FAQ About Olive Egger Chicken
We compiled a couple of commonly asked questions about Olive Eggers, too, so you can have a more precise grasp of these birds.
Are Olive Egger chickens friendly?
Olive Eggers are generally very docile, friendly, and mellow chickens that can get along well with other birds. They’re also intelligent and harmless, making them a great addition to your chicken flock.
What breeds are Olive Eggers?
Olive Eggers are hybrids or a cross between blue egg layers and chickens that produce dark brown shells.
The famous blue egg layers include Ameracauna, Araucana, and Cream Legbar, while the brown egg layers are Welsmers, Barnevelder, Ampordanesa, Marans, and Penedesenca.
Are Olive Egger chickens good egg layers?
Yes, olive egger chickens are good layers. They can produce about 180 to 200 large-sized eggs per year.
Is Olive Eggers broody?
Their broodiness depends on their parent fowl, but Olive Eggers are generally broody because they’re usually from heritage breeds.
So, it’s safe to say that they have average broodiness.
How big do Olive Eggers get?
The average weight of Olive Egger hen is somewhere between 6 and 7 pounds, while their roosters range from 7 to 8 pounds.
Therefore, these chickens are not exceptionally giant; they’re just average-sized birds.
What’s the difference between an Easter Egger and an Olive Egger?
Olive Egger is an Easter Egger produced by crossing a dark brown egg-laying breed like Marans and Welsummers with blue egg layers like Ameraucanas, Araucanas, and Easter Eggers.
At what age do Olive Egger chickens lay eggs?
Olive Egger chickens start laying their first eggs when they’re five months old. But others might take a long time since some Olive Eggers start their laying season when they reach 24 to 30 weeks of age.
What is a sapphire Olive Egger?
Sapphire Olive Eggers are hybrids that are good layers with unique feathered tuffs. They lay olive-colored eggs and adapt well to different climates, significantly warmer ones.
Do Olive Eggers have muffs?
Some Oliver Egger chickens have puffy muffs or beards. These are a cluster of feathers that project away from their faces, goes below and around the sides of their eyes, and extend from the beard to their lobes.
Do Olive Eggers have a pea comb?
Olive Eggers may have or may not have pea combs as well.
Do Olive Eggers lay in winter?
Since Olive Eggers come from different breeds, they may or may not have pea combs, muffs, beards, or feathered legs. In addition to that, some of these birds may be rump-less, but others may not.
Do Olive Eggers have puffy cheeks?
Yes, some Olive egger chickens may have puffy cheeks and feathered legs, but others may have not.
What color egg does an Olive Egger lay?
As its name suggests, Olive Egger hens lay olive-colored eggs, and they’re products of crossing brown egg layers and blue egg layers.
How many eggs a week does an olive Egger lay?
An Olive Egger can lay 4 to 5 eggs per week at the age of 5 to 6 months.
Do Olive Eggers always lay green eggs?
Olive egger chickens lay eggs in various shell colors, including blue, green, and sometimes pink.
Just because you bred an Olive Egger rooster and Olive Egger hen doesn’t mean you’ll get olive green eggs all the time. However, you can manipulate the phenotype of the eggs.
Why is my Olive Egger laying blue eggs?
Usually, Olive Egger hens that lay blue eggs have brown pigment over the top, giving us the shade of olive green.
If your bird is laying blue eggs, that’s not surprising at all because Olive Eggers have genes from blue and green egg layers, and they may have retained the blue.
And as we said earlier, the eggs they produce can vary in color from green to brown to blue and even pink.
Are Olive Eggers noisy?
These birds can be pretty chatty, but they’re not that noisy because they rarely clunk loudly.
Final Thoughts About Olive Egger Chickens
So if you’re looking for a good egg producer that can give you Olive colored chicken eggs and a variety of other colors, then this chicken hybrid is for you.
It doesn’t go broody often, and it’s friendly and easy to manage. That’s why they’re perfect for many beginners.
Olive Egger chickens are the way to go for new breeders looking to offer an assortment of eggs in their basket and a good amount of meat.
So, would you like to add this hybrid to your flock?
Kindly share your thoughts about Olive Eggers in the comment section below.
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