Eggs chang­ing colour

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

QMy hens all started to lay dark brown eggs at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son. I’ve no­ticed that the eggshell colours have got lighter over the sea­son. Is this usual?

AJulie Moore said: Eggshells and colour­ings do vary within breeds but what you are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing is per­fectly nor­mal. Hens do lay darker eggs at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son af­ter the win­ter break. The amount of pig­ment will lessen through­out a hen’s lay­ing cy­cle so she’ll lay pro­gres­sively lighter eggs.

All eggshells start out as white. Coloured eggs have their pig­ment added to the shell at the end of the shell for­ma­tion process in the shell gland.

Brown eggs are the re­sult of the pig­ment pro­to­por­phyrin, a by-prod­uct of haemoglobin in the hen’s blood, be­ing de­posited on the eggshell dur­ing the last part of the for­ma­tion of the egg. The brown colour­ing is not part of the shell, but more like paint on the sur­face which can eas­ily be rubbed off.

Dif­fer­ent breeds have dif­fer­ing amounts of pig­ments which is why Buff Or­p­ing­tons lay pale brown eggs whilst Marans lay dark, choco­late brown eggs.

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