Easter egger chickens typically start laying eggs between 20 to 24 weeks of age (around 5-6 months). This is fairly typical for a backyard chicken. Easter eggers are hybrids and are known for their egg colors, which can range from blue to green, and many shades in between.
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What Is an Easter Egger?
There is often some confusion around what an Easter egger is. Easter eggers are hybrids, they're chickens that can be bred from a number of breeds, but they have to possess the ‘colorful egg’ gene.
The name ‘Easter egger’ comes from the fact that they lay colorful eggs, just as you'd expect to see people creating around Easter time.
These are not true Easter eggers, they're simply breeds that lay blue eggs.
Being hybrids, Easter eggers are available in an infinite number of varieties and can technically lay an infinite number of different colored eggs.
How Many Eggs Do Easter Eggers Lay?
How many eggs you can expect from an Easter egger largely depends on which breeds were combined to make any specific Easter egger.
As a general rule, it's usually safe to say that you can expect somewhere in the range of 160-180 eggs per year.
This usually works out at around 4 per week making allowances for reduced production over the winter months.
What Color Eggs Do Easter Eggers Lay?
This is where it gets interesting! Egg color is a reason why Easter eggers were created and why they're so popular.
Easter eggers can lay eggs covering a wide variety of colors. Most commonly, they tend to lay blue or green eggs, but this extends to all shades of brown, pink, and everything in between.
Sometimes I see this narrowed down, with hatcheries advertising ‘blue Easter eggers’, ‘olive Easter eggers’, and so on.
It's always a good idea to discuss egg color with the breeder or hatchery that you're buying your chicks from.
Of course, if you're buying a pullet on mature chicken that is already laying eggs you're going to be able to get a definitive answer.
How Long Do Easter Eggers Chickens Lay Eggs?
Again, we can only go with an average here based on what we know from the most common hybrids of Easter eggers which are Araucanas or Ameraucanas, or hybrids of other breeds with one of these two.
The average life expectancy of backyard chickens is in the 8-10 year range. Chickens do not lay at full capacity for most of their lives, however.
They really only lay close to full capacity for the first 1-2 years, before production starts to drop off pretty steeply.
If you have an Easter egger that is expected to lay in the range of 160-180 eggs per year, then you can expect at least 10-15% less in year two, even fewer in year three, and so on.
By the time a chicken reaches their twilight years, it will have tapered off to laying very few eggs.
Related - When do welsummer chickens start laying eggs?
Some History and Facts About Easter Eggers Chickens
Easter eggers are interesting chickens. They are highly sought after due to their unique colored eggs but do not meet any breed standards defined by the American Poultry Association (APA).
It's important to know that they are hybrids, created by deliberately crossbreeding a chicken with a blue egg laying gene with another breed.
For example, olive eggers are created by crossing blue and dark brown egg-laying chickens. So, an Araucana with a Marans or a Barnevelder, for example, as this results in olive or green colored eggs.
As for appearance and characteristics, there is an infinite number of variations. It’s not uncommon to see some of the distinctive characteristics from Araucanas or Ameraucanas though, as these are often where the blue egg gene comes from.
Where To Buy Easter Eggers Chickens, Chicks, and Hatching Eggs
I buy all my hatching eggs, chicks, and other poultry-related stuff online at Cackle Hatchery. They’re an NPIP registered hatchery and have been in business since 1936!
Cackle Hatchery explains their own breeding objectives for their Easter eggers as:
“chickens with a wide variety of feather colors, patterns, and feather combinations of colors with a full beard under the beak and high egg production of colorful eggshells.
The color of their eggshells varies from pale blue chicken eggs to dark blue to various shades of green and a few light brownish/pink eggs.”
At the time of writing this, I could see Cackle Hatchery were selling Easter eggers starting at just $2.20/ea if you buy a specified amount.
Obviously, this is subject to change, so my best advice is to click the link below and see what’s available now. If you have any questions, in my experience, they’re always quick to respond.
Are Easter Eggers a Good Choice for a Backyard Breed?
Easter eggers are an excellent choice for a backyard breed. Looking at the breeds that are most commonly used to create Easter eggers, all of them are fun and excellent backyard chickens.
Not only are you going to impress your friends and family with unique colored eggs, but they’re hardy, friendly, and easy to care for chickens.
You really can't go wrong with an Easter egger, they're ideal for beginners or seasoned backyard chicken keepers that want to add a bit of color to their egg Skelter.
Image credits - Photo by Sven Hornburg on Unsplash