What Makes a Brown Egg BROWN?

Ever wonder why your eggs are brown? Some people mistakenly assume brown eggs are healthier or more natural (this is false.) The truth is: brown eggs come from brown chickens!

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But what MAKES them brown?

Eggs actually come in two colors: white and BLUE! All of the color variations are a result of the chicken’s ability to lay down a coat of pigment on the eggshell when she lays it. Brown eggs are actually white with a coating of brown pigment. When a hen first begins to lay eggs the pigment will be darker in color. As the season progresses the pigment starts to run low, resulting in lighter colored eggs. When she goes into her molting period she runs out of pigment altogether and will lay white eggs. We have a few girls going through a full molt right now and you can see one of their eggs in the photo above. Notice that the eggs range in color intensity?

Once her molt is finished and she has grown new feathers she will get a new ‘ink cartridge’ and lay nice dark brown eggs again! This applies to birds who lay other colors as well. Once our Fancy Flock is mature enough to lay eggs, we hope to feature all of the beautiful colors below!

Photo credit: Illiashauna Chavez via BackYardChickens.com

Photo credit: Illiashauna Chavez via BackYardChickens.com

The eggs above represent several heritage breeds of chickens. The very darkest egg comes from a French Marans, prized for their deep dark colored eggs. The olive colored eggs come from an ‘olive egger’ hen, created by crossing a Marans hen with a blue-egged breed rooster.

Pro-Tip: If you look at a chicken’s earlobes you can usually tell what color egg they will lay, with a few exceptions. Hens with red or brown earlobes will usually lay brown eggs. Chickens with white earlobes will usually lay white eggs. Our girls are Red Sex-linked chickens with red earlobes and they lay brown eggs.