11 Chickens That Lay Blue Eggs — & Why {With Pictures!}

What are the breeds of chickens that lay blue eggs? There are eleven (known) breeds out there. Some of these blue eggers are quite common and easy to find for your own flock — like the Ameraucana and the Easter Egger. But others are quite rare, including a stunning landrace breed from Scotland that is only recently available to purchase in North America.

There is also a new hybrid called the Fibro Easter Egger — a black chicken that has black skin and bones but lays blue eggs!

And some of these make up the best egg-laying chicken breeds around.

Two blue eggs in a nest.

Why Do Chickens Lay Blue Eggs?

Blue chicken eggs are not new and they were not developed in a lab in some kind of freaky experiment by humans. Blue eggs are a completely natural development.

One that started long ago — with a virus.

A retrovirus makes chicken eggshells blue. One of the most amazing things, is that this virus and genetic mutation happened not just thousands of years ago, but it happened in both China and South America independently of each other.

“In this study, we identified that blue eggshell in chickens from different geographical regions is caused by a ∼4.2 kb EAV-HP insertion in the 5′ flanking region of SLCO1B3. The EAV-HP insertion in chicken is a derived mutation in domestic chickens. We also found that the EAV-HP insertions in the chickens from China and America were separate integration events.”

(Source)

All chicken eggs actually start out as white eggs. So why then are there so many different colors and shades of chicken eggs? How do blue egg layers exist?

An egg’s journey through a hen’s oviduct takes about 26 hours and the shell takes about 20 hour to finish forming. Chickens that lay blue eggs have the pigment oocyanin deposited onto the egg very early on this journey.

The blue oocyanin permeates the egg shell thoroughly resulting in the entire egg being a blue color.

Chickens that lay brown eggs deposit the pigment protoporphyrin much later in the journey of the shell being. The color therefore is not found throughout the shell, but stains only the surface of the egg — that is why brown eggs are white on the inside of the shells but blue eggs are blue.

In fact, you can scratch the pigment off of colored eggs with your nail, but not so with blue eggs.

When Americans first became aware of blue eggs through the famous Ameraucana chicken breed, there was an absolute frenzy, partly driven by the lie that blue eggs were more nutritious than white or brown and healthier.

However, all eggs are nutritious and healthy, it has nothing to do with the eggshell color being blue or dark brown or anything else.

Close up of the head of a chicken.

Ameraucana

  • Primary use: Egg Laying
  • Size (Roosters): 6.5 lbs
  • Size (Hens): 5.5 lbs
  • Egg production (Annual): 150
  • Egg size: Large
  • Egg colour: Blue
  • Origin: USA

Ameraucanas are a pure breed of chicken that was originally developed in the USA from ancient South American blue egg-laying breeds, like the Araucana. They have been officially recognized as their own breed since the 1970s. They will always lay blue eggs. The breed is friendly and docile, including the roosters, and comes in many beautiful colors.

Read more about the fascinating history of this chicken in my article Ameraucana Chicken: The Myths, Lies, & FACTS.

A brown Araucana chicken laying in a nesting box.

Araucana

  • Primary use: Dual-purpose (Meat & Eggs)
  • Size (Roosters): 5 lbs
  • Size (Hens): 4 lbs
  • Egg production (Annual): 160 – 180
  • Egg size: Medium – Large
  • Egg colour: Blue
  • Origin: Chile

The Araucana is known for their highly energetic personalities that can either be translated as extremely curious and friendly towards humans — or very flighty. This characteristic makes them incredible foragers who will scratch through pastures all day in search of the tastiest plants and bugs. This breed has origins in Chile and they are the breed the Ameraucana was developed from. Their prominent ear tufts and lack of tails set them apart visually from Ameraucanas.

Two Easter Egger chickens in a green pasture.

Easter Egger

  • Primary use: Egg Laying (but can be considered a dual-purpose breed too)
  • Size (Roosters): 5 lbs
  • Size (Hens): 4 lbs
  • Egg production (Annual): 200
  • Egg size: Medium – Large
  • Egg colour: Blue (& other colours too!)
  • Origin: USA

Easter eggers are extremely popular, but they are not actually a breed, but rather mutts that can lay blue — and other types of colored — eggs! No two birds will look exactly alike and they come in various colour combinations. They are a fun variety because you never know exactly what colour you will get from any hen until she starts laying — blue? Blue-green? Green? Olive? Brown?

They are also frequently called Rainbow Layers as a result.

Cream Legbar

  • Primary use: Egg Laying
  • Size (Roosters): 6 lbs – 7 lbs
  • Size (Hens): 4 1/2 lbs to 5 1/2 lbs
  • Egg production (Annual): 250+
  • Egg size: Large
  • Egg colour: Blue
  • Origin: UK

Cream Legbar chickens were developed in the UK in the 1930s at Cambridge University. Its ancestors include Brown Leghorns, Barred Plymouth Rocks, Araucanas, and Gold Campines. The blue egg-laying gene was inherited from the Araucanas.

Michael Pease and Reginald Punnett at the Genetical Institute of Cambridge University wanted a chicken that could produce lots of eggs and “auto sex” chicks or chicks are those born with characteristics that let people distinguish males from females on the day that they hatch.

These birds are known for being excellent foragers that thrive on pasture, however, they are not overly friendly.

A whiting true blue chicken comes out of her coop door.

Whiting True Blue

  • Primary use: Egg Laying
  • Size (Roosters): 6 lbs – 7 lbs
  • Size (Hens): 5 lbs
  • Egg production (Annual): 250-300
  • Egg size: Medium – Large
  • Egg colour: Blue
  • Origin: USA

The Whiting True Blue is a relatively new breed named for poultry geneticist, Dr. Tom Whiting, who developed them. They have a good heat tolerance and a friendly disposition. They do well on pasture.

Arkansas Blue

  • Primary use: Egg Laying
  • Size (Roosters): 6 lbs
  • Size (Hens): 4 lbs – 5 lbs
  • Egg production (Annual): 250-300
  • Egg size: Medium – Large
  • Egg colour: Blue
  • Origin: USA

The Arkansas Blue is another new crossbreed. It is an experimental breed developed at the University of Arkansas and is a cross between a White Leghorn and Araucana and lays blue eggs. They are not yet available to the public for purchase as of this writing.

Azure blue hens with a black Orpington rooster foraging on grass.

Azure Blue

  • Primary use: Egg laying
  • Size (Roosters): 5 lbs
  • Size (Hens): 4 lbs
  • Egg production (Annual): 295
  • Egg size: Large
  • Egg colour: Blue
  • Origin: USA

We have decided to raise the Azure Blue this year and you can see them next to my Orpington rooster in the photo above!

The Azur Blue is not a pure-bred chicken of old origins. It was rather recently bred specifically to be a small and friendly chicken with pretty white plumage that can lay an abundance of large blue eggs.

Read more about the Azure Blue Chicken in my article.

Lushi

  • Primary use: Dual-purpose (meat & eggs)
  • Size (Roosters): 4 lbs
  • Size (Hens): 3 lbs
  • Egg production (Annual): Unknown
  • Egg size: Small
  • Egg colour: Blue
  • Origin: China

I cannot find any photos of the Lushi chicken. I know that they are small birds and lay blue eggs but some sources say they actually lay pink eggs. Others still say they lay both pink and blue eggs like a Chinese Easter Egger variety.

As of this writing, I do not have any further information on this rare breed and none are to be found outside of China.

Dongxiang

  • Primary use: Dual-purpose (meat & eggs)
  • Size (Roosters): Unknown
  • Size (Hens): Unknown
  • Egg production (Annual): Unknown
  • Egg size: Unknown
  • Egg colour: Blue
  • Origin: China

I cannot find a reliable photo of the Dongxiang chicken. From my research, I know that they are a fibromelanistic bird which means their feathers, skin, flesh, blood and organs are pitch black – kinda like the Ayam Cemani.

If you want an idea of how this rare Chinese chicken might look, see my article 15 Beautiful Black Chicken Breeds.

They do lay blue eggs, that much we know, but no birds are available outside of China as far as I can tell.

Shetland Hen

  • Primary use: Dual-purpose (meat & eggs)
  • Size (Roosters): Unknown
  • Size (Hens): Unknown
  • Egg production (Annual): Unknown
  • Egg size: Medium
  • Egg colour: Blue and/or Green
  • Origin: Scotland

From Greenfire Farms (the only place I know of that you can buy Shetland Hen chicks in North America):

Shetland Hens trace their origins to Spanish galleons that ran aground in Scotland almost 500 years ago. Some of these boats carried chickens with exotic genetics including the blue-egg gene that originated in South America.

These Spanish birds bred with the local Scottish chickens and produced a wonderful race of birds now lauded for their unique traits including the tappit, or tufted, head feathering.

These birds are listed on the Slow Food Ark of Taste as a breed critically in need of preservation.”

Our farmhouse cottage was built by Scottish settlers in the 1860s. I would absolutely love to get my hands on some Shetland Hens to raise alongside my English Orpingtons. But alas, no luck finding them so far.

Fibro Easter Egger

Primary use: Eggs
Size (Roosters): Unknown
Size (Hens): Unknown
Egg production (Annual): 200-260
Egg size: Medium – Large
Egg colour: Blue, green, etc.
Origin: USA

An exciting new hybrid chicken that is fibromelanistic — black in every way, from the feathers to the meat, bones, and beyond. From the look of the bird on the hatchery website, it definitely has some Ameraucana in it. I’m guessing black Ameraucana crossed with an Ayam Cemani or similar.

From the breeder:

The Fibro Easter Egger is a new and exciting designer chicken belonging to a unique group with Fibromelanosis (hyper melanin or hyperpigmentation) and will present with dark feathering, skin, or features. They’ll lay 4-5 eggs per week and the eggs will range from olive green to turquoise blue and occasionally rose or brown. Generational offspring may lay eggs that are green, blue-green tinted, white, or even pale blue with white speckling.

Source

I explore more of fascinating black birds in my black chicken breeds article.

FAQ

Why Do Some Chickens Lay Blue Eggs?

But what caused this blue egg-laying to happen? Surprisingly it all started with a type of virus known as a retrovirus. A long (LONG) time ago, this retrovirus infected some ancient chickens in Asia. That virus also occurred independently in the Americas where it altered the Mapuche (Araucana) chicken breed. This retrovirus contained something called Ribonucleic Acid which literally inserts itself into the organism it is invading and actually rewrites the DNA profile. The change in DNA profile just so happened to be that instead of laying the regular white or brown eggs we commonly see, the chickens started laying blue eggs instead.

What Chicken Breed Lays The BLUEST Eggs?

Araucana eggs are known to be the bluest eggs from any of the chickens that lay blue eggs produce. This breed hails from Chile, and all other blue egg-laying breeds in the Americas are descended from Araucanas as far as we know.

Does Egg Colour Affect Nutritional Value?

No. This is just a pervasive myth started with the Ameraucana chicken when its introduction started a craze for blue eggs. As is the notion that egg yolk colour (easily faked) easily determines nutritional value. The nutrition of chicken eggs depends solely on the size of the egg and yolk, the diet of the chicken, health of the chicken, and the amount of sun exposure the chicken gets for increased Vitamin D3.

a flock of chickens on green pasture.

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3 Comments

  1. If you can I have two Rosters ( bought at Tractor Supply ) unfortunately I can’t have Rosters in the town I live in. My question is they are Prairie Sunflower egg ers I can’t find any info on this breed on the internet…. I do know they have two blue genes and are a cross breed between Araucana and a Leg horn…..I have two hens a RI Red and two black sexlinks…if they were to mate what color eggs would their chicks produce. If you know. And where can I find more info on these birds. The Roosters so far are very friendly to humans and are lovely on the eye….but love to fly on the coop of on the run….

    1. The resulting chicks would be Easter eggers and there is no way to know what color eggy they will lay — which is kind of fun. I currently have chicks growing crossed between a dark olive egger rooster and my azure blues and Orpingtons. No clue what they will lay.

      I don’t know anything about that cross but it sounds like it’s a breeders fun project.

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