If you’re thinking of raising chickens for their eggs, you may have come across the term “Easter Egger.” These chickens are becoming more and more popular due to their colorful eggs and friendly personalities. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the Easter Egger chicken and what you need to know if you’re thinking of adding one (or several) to your flock.
What is an Easter Egger Chicken?
An Easter Egger is a type of chicken that is not recognized as a breed by the American Poultry Association (APA). Instead, they are a hybrid chicken that is bred to lay colorful eggs. Easter Eggers can be a mix of any breed, but they must carry the “blue egg” gene. This gene is what gives Easter Eggers their unique egg color, which can range from blue to green to pink.
History and Origin of the Easter Egger Chicken
The easter egg chicken variety is consistently popular, and it has become a mix of various breeds, so it is hard to track exactly when it became the most popular in the U.S. But, what we do know is that their popularity really spiked from the 1970s up to the present day.
This variety is created when an Ameraucana or Araucana chicken is crossed with another chicken breed that lays brown eggs. The purpose of this breed was to remove genetic deficiencies and produce the distinctive easter egger chicken eggs. Aracuana chickens came from Chile, they are rumpless birds with no coccyx or tail with a pea comb and ear tufts.
Ameracuana chicken originate from Aracuana chickens that were bred with other backyard varieties in an effort to eliminate the gene which caused those lethal ear tufts. So, both ancestors come from South America, they lay blue eggs, and when crossed with other breeds the egg colors vary.
Appearance and Characteristics of Easter Egger Chickens
There isn’t a true standard for Easter Egger chickens because they have a wide diversity in their features and colorings. But, there are some commonalities that you will notice if you want a hen that lays Easter Egger eggs. It’s common to find a single pea comb, white or red ears, and small red wattles.
Many Easter Egger chickens have a tail, but some are rumpless from their Aracuana ancestry. Every Easter Egger has four toes, but the foot-pad colors vary, and their legs are hairless in colors from yellow to blue-green. A male tends to weigh 5 lbs, and a female can weigh up to 4 lbs. It’s always interesting to see how a chick develops because they have unique Easter Egger chicken colors.
Production and Egg Color of the Easter Egger Chicken
Easter Egger chickens are excellent layers, they can lay up to four eggs per week or 200 or more eggs annually. A hen will only ever produce a unique colored egg, and this will not vary throughout her laying years.
So, if the first egg they lay is greenish, they will all be greenish in the months and years to come. If you want an Easter Egger chicken egg color variety you need to have a few different hens laying.
Easter Egger Chicken Temperament and Personality
Easter Egger chickens are extremely popular in the U.S. because they have a justified reputation as a gentle, curious, and docile bird. They are super friendly, they seek out humans and chickens for socialization and petting. When this breed understands that you’re in charge of the food, you can expect them to ask for treats and maybe sit in your lap too.
This is a great variety to rear if you have kids, they are excellent companions, and they don’t get freaked out when children are loud and having fun. Of course, some care needs to be exercised to ensure that young ones are not too rough with them. Easter Egger chickens are pretty submissive, and if you mix them with aggressive breeds, they can be susceptible to bullying.
If you introduce new birds, watch their behavior closely to check for chasing, pecking, and other signs of aggression. If there is aggression, consider separation and keep the Easter Eggers in their own habitat. This breed is also curious about its surroundings which can make them frequent escapees. Extra steps may be needed to make an area secure and safe for them to thrive in.
Housing and Care Requirements of Easter Egger
An Easter Egger prefers a free-range setup which is a good match for their curious nature. But, they can be confined if they have 3-4 square feet of space per chicken for short periods of time. Free-range opportunities should be offered to keep them happy and cut their food bill because they are good foragers. After these chickens return to the coop, they will be less hungry if they’ve been given the opportunity to graze.
Health Issues and Disease Resistance
Easter Eggers are hardy, they don’t suffer from serious health issues and genetic diseases due to their interesting breeding history. Like all poultry, there are specific health threats to consider, including lice, mites, scissor beak, and more. Applying a repellent spray around the living areas and regularly changing their bedding is an effective way to deal with mites, lice, and other parasites.
Scissor beak is a condition where the top and bottom of the bird’s beak grow in different directions. This risk can be mitigated with elevated feeding and water stations, and an afflicted chicken can still live a long, happy, and productive life with this help.
Diet and Nutrition
Easter Eggers have a pretty standard chicken diet. The chicks need to start on 21% starter feed, and at 8 weeks they should switch to an 18% grower feed. When the chickens start to lay eggs, they can have 16% layer feed to support them.
Along with access to the optimal feed, they need 24/7 access to clean water. The best way to give chickens clean water is to invest in a water fountain that prevents roosting on top.
Your Guide to the Easter Egger Chicken-In Conclusion
An Easter Egger chicken is a unique variety that lays colored eggs, and every bird is unique. They are docile and easy to handle and fun to be around. If you want a friendly chicken variety that is happy to interact with kids, this may be the breed for you. These birds are healthy, and they are not susceptible to unusual diseases or parasites.
If they are cared for properly, these chickens can live long, productive lives and they are relatively inexpensive. For a beginner, it would be hard to recommend a better bird, but they are happiest when they are allowed to forage and kept away from aggressive varieties.