White eggs come from chickens, just as brown eggs do!
There is a general misconception that white eggs are different from brown eggs in some way.
I’ve heard people say that white eggs are bleached to become white, taste different from brown eggs, are healthier, and all kinds of things.
None of which are true.
The fact is that some breeds of chickens lay brown eggs, and some lay white eggs. Just as some breeds of chickens lay green, blue, and various other color eggs.
White eggs aren’t as common as brown, so I can understand the confusion.
Here is a look at some of the breeds of chickens that lay white eggs and everything else you need to know about different colored eggs:
Are White Eggs Natural?
First of all, I want to make it very clear that white eggs are completely natural.
White eggs are laid in exactly the same way as brown eggs, just by different breeds of chickens.
We know that white eggs are no different from any other colored eggs from a nutritional standpoint, neither do they taste any different.
It’s literally just the color of the shell that is different.
Related - Are white eggs bleached to make them white?
Which Chickens Lay White Eggs?
There are a large number of chicken breeds that lay white eggs, especially as it’s not uncommon to cross-breed chickens and retain their white egg-laying gene.
Some of the most common white egg-laying breeds are:
- White Leghorn
- California White
Why Are Most Eggs in Grocery Stores Brown?
When you see brown eggs in a supermarket or grocery store, most of those eggs come from the same few breeds of chicken.
They are typically laid by ISA Browns, Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, Black Star hybrids, or proprietary breeds that use one or more of these breeds.
This is because these breeds are known to lay a lot of eggs and are economical to keep.
So, it makes sense from a cost and profit perspective to put brown eggs on the shelves. It would cost too much to start swapping from brown to white egg-laying hens at this point.
If you want white eggs, however, they’re never usually hard to find.
Why Are Chicken Eggs Different Colors?
The color of an eggshell is determined by the genetics of the hen laying the egg.
In fact, interestingly, all eggs start out white in color. The coloring is essentially added as the egg travels through a hen’s oviduct during the process of creating the egg.
It takes somewhere in the range of 24-26 hours for a hen to produce an egg from start to finish, and 20 hours of that time is spent on the shell.
For example, chickens that lay brown eggs add a pigment called protoporphyrin to an eggshell during the process.
This pigment does not penetrate the shell. If you look inside the shell of a brown egg, you’ll see it’s white.
It’s literally just altering the outside of the egg by coloring it brown, nothing to do with the inside of the egg is any different.
Some of the other pigments different chicken breeds use to color eggs vary on how they work, but the principle is always the same.
Do White Chickens Lay White Eggs?
There is a common misconception that the color of a chicken determines the color of their eggs.
This is simply not true.
There are white chickens that lay white eggs, and the same can be said for brown chickens, but it’s not a hard rule.
There is also somewhat of an old wives tale that the color of a chicken’s earlobe determines the color of its eggs.
Again, this is not 100% true, although it’s a much better and more accurate guide than the color of a chicken's plumage.
Something we do know is that a hen will only lay an egg of one color. The color can vary slightly in shade, and might even have speckles.
But a white egg-laying chicken cannot lay a brown egg or vice versa.
Will My Chickens Lay White Eggs?
If you’ve purchased chicks or mature hens and you’re wondering if they’ll lay white eggs, if you know what breed of chicken you have you can look it up.
If you’re not sure what breed of chickens you have, you’re going to have to wait to find out!
Most breeds mature around the age of 18-20 weeks and will lay their first egg around this time.
It will be a small egg, known as a ‘pullet egg’, and might be paler and smaller than what you can expect when your hen’s reproductive system is fully developed.
But you should get a good idea of what color eggs your chickens are going to lay.
The color of the eggs a chicken lays will not change. So, whether you have a brown, white, blue, or any other color egg laying hen, that’s what color eggs they will always lay.
White eggs come from breeds of chicken that genetically lay white eggs.
White eggs are the same as brown eggs in every way other than the color of the outside of the shell.
It’s how a hen is treated, such as its diet and living conditions that affect the taste and quality of an egg, not the color.
If you’ve heard that white eggs taste different from brown eggs, are nutritionally different, or are different in any other way, it’s simply not true.
Image credits - Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash