Easter Egger chickens have become well known for their colorful eggs that come in a variety of shades of blue, green, and even pink. This has drawn a lot of attention and popularity as most chickens lay white or brown eggs, this addition adds intrigue to any basket.
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Easter Egger is a popular hybrid chicken in homesteads across America. This breed has been gaining notoriety since the 1970's for their colorful eggs, docile personality, and hardiness.
An Easter Egger is a hybrid chicken that is produced when cross breeding a breed that produces blue eggs such as an Ameraucana, Araucana or Legbar with chicken breed that produces brown eggs.
As you may have guessed there are a lot of breeds that lay brown eggs, which is why Easter Eggers are considered a hybrid/mutt by the farming community. There genetics and appearance can vary wildly based on the parents.
Meet the Parents
Aracana's originated in Northern Chile as a hybrid of Colloncas and Quetros. Arcana's were first recorded in the United States in the 1930's. It took until 1976 for them to become recognized by the American Poultry Organization (APA) as a purebred.
Ameraucana's are a hybrid that started in Pennsylvania in the 1970's. They are derived from crossbreeding Arcana's. This new breed was carefully bred to eliminate certain qualities of the parents such as ear tuftedness which caused high mortality rates while still retaining qualities like blue eggs.
Legbar's are a rare breed in the United States. This breed originated in Britain and was created when Plymouth Rock's were cross bred with gold Campine birds in 1929.
Our Easter Eggers are a mix of the Legbar variety. Once full grown we were readily able to confirm this due to their striking resemblance. We have found that most stores such as Rural King or Tractor Supply don't have information such as the parent breeds.
Heritage or Hybrid
Easter Egger is a hybrid breed.
They are cross bred from two recognized breeds by the APA such as a Ameraucana, Araucana or Legbar with a chicken that lays brown eggs.
Due to the wide variety of potential parents/genetics and inconsistent features, Easter Eggers are not a recognized breed by the APA since they do not meet standardized features. This includes a consistent color, type of comb, coloring on ears, and much more.
Easter Eggers can have a diverse variety of features based on their parents, and therefore there is no standard appearance for this breed as they are not recognized by the APA.
A few common features of this breed include:
Red or white coloring on their ears
Small red wattles
While there are a few common characteristics, birds of this breed tend to have a wildly diverse appearance.
Our Easter Egger chickens closely resemble one of their parent breeds, Legbar's taking on many of their physical characteristics including coloring, comb, wattles, and even characteristics like the feather mohawk.
Roosters weigh 5 pounds on average, and hens are closer to 4 pounds. This makes them a smaller breed than average sized breed, since rooster are 6 pounds and hens are 5.7 pounds on average.
Easter Eggers tend to be a smaller breed, but this can vary based on the size parents.
Average Lifespan of Easter Egger Chickens
Egg Color & Production
Egg production typically starts between 20 and 25 weeks (5 to 6 months), which is typical of most breeds.
The number of eggs they produce will be influenced by the parent breeds. But you can expect 4+ medium sized eggs a week. In their first year, they can produce 200+ eggs with proper diet and care. Note that egg production does decrease by 10 to 15% per year as chickens age until they stop laying altogether.
Easter Eggers have become well known for their colorful eggs. Depending on genetics, eggs can range from blue to green, and even pink.
Our chickens lay blueish green eggs, and we have found the shade is specific to each bird.
Easter Egger chickens are seldom broody as breeders have made careful selections to breed this tendency out. While they may not have strong maternal instincts, Easter Eggers are able to breed naturally and prolifically without human intervention.
Of all our Eggers, we have one that gets mildly protective of her eggs when she is on the nest, but she does not sit there for extended periods of time (up to weeks).
The general rule of thumb is that heritage breeds are able to breed and yield the same breed of offspring, whereas hybrid breeds are not always able to. Even two hybrids of the same breed will likely produce a mixed breed chick. This is because each hybrid will provide genetics for one of their parent breeds.
The only way to do this is to breed the pure-bred rooster and hen.
Due to the fact that the breed was specifically designed to have certain characteristics, there are health issues that may come up with breeding your birds, leading to unhealthy chicks.
Easter Eggers are known for being disease resistant and a hardy breed. In addition to their resilience to illness, they are hardy to both cold and warm temperatures.
Like many breeds of chickens, they do need access to shade in hot and sunny weather, and may require a few accommodations such as a heater or brooder during severe cold.
It is important to know how to keep your chickens cool in hot weather, view our complete guide for more tips and tricks.
On a cold winter day where we hit -22 with wind-chill, our Easter Eggers persevered without any problems in enclosed and unheated chicken coop. Even during the hottest days, we simply provide shade and that has been sufficient.
Due to their hardiness, Easter Eggers are not ailed by any notable illnesses.
We provide our chickens with vitamins in their water as a precaution to ensure they do not have any deficiencies. This is especially important for younger birds still integrating into the flock.
We also offer free choice oyster shells as a source of grit and to strengthen the shells of eggs. We have noticed at least one of our Eggers is deficient in calcium as her eggshells are often brittle.
A prolonged calcium deficiency can lead to severe health complications and a shortened lifespan.
Of course, it is still possible for them to get parasites and other general illnesses, so it is always good to keep a watchful eye on your flock.
As a small bird they are not considered good for an abundance meat production. However, their meat has been noted to taste similar to quail.
Easter Eggers are a quiet breed that are not known for being noisy. This makes them a good candidate for urban farms.
While the hens don't make an abundance of noise, Easter Egger roosters may be too noisy for densely populated areas.
While our hens are quieter than some breeds, ours have been known to get vocal, squawking while they walk around.
Quiet and gentle are words often used to describe Easter Egger chickens. We have several ourselves and they have never been aggressive, and in fact they are some of our friendliest birds.
With their gentle disposition, they are easy to hold and do well around children.
As a small breed Easter Eggers require 3 to 4 square feet per bird in the coop. Our coop is secure without drafts but is unheated and this has been sufficient for our girls.
In an enclosed run 10 square feet per bird is recommended for happy and healthy birds.
During hot sunny weather we keep our chickens in a roofed run with lots of airflow and free access to the coop which tends to be shady and cooler. This was sufficient for days that got upwards of 90 degrees and sunny.
Are They Right For You?
Easter Eggers are great for beginners due to their gentle nature, strong egg production, and resilience to disease and weather.
Ultimately the purpose of the chicken is a key factor in this decision. Easter Eggers do not produce an abundance of meat and produce less eggs than many other breeds. But if you are looking for a colorful addition to your flock or a gentle bird that can be easily held and around children, they may be a great choice for you!
They were some of the first chickens we got, and we have not had any issues with health or temperament with this breed.
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