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The Colors of Chicken Eggs

(And did you know chickens have earlobes?)
© Bob Doran CC View Large

Except around Easter, chicken eggs usually come in a predictable range of colors: white, brown, and sometimes pale blue or green. Chickens are descended from the Red Jungle Fowl of Southeast Asia, which has been providing eggs for humans for thousands of years. The final color of an egg comes from a pigment the hen’s body adds to the shell just before the egg is laid. Breeds that lay white eggs don’t add any pigment.

Today's show brought to you by the Bobolink Foundation.

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Transcript: 

BirdNote®

The Colors of Chicken Eggs

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.

Except around Easter, chicken eggs usually come in a predictable range of colors. White, brown, and sometimes pale blue or green.

And the color of a chicken egg depends mainly on the breed of chicken that laid it.

[hen clucking, https://www.birdnote.org/show/chickens-circle-earth ]

Chickens can be found in an amazing range of colors and appearances. But they’re all the same species, descended from the Red Jungle Fowl of Southeast Asia, which was domesticated and has been providing eggs for humans for thousands of years.

[Red Jungle Fowl crowing, https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/76330851 ]

There’s a loose correlation between the color of an egg and where the specific domesticated breed of chicken originated: Asian breeds tend to lay brown eggs, Mediterranean breeds white, and South American breeds blue or even green. Some find that a chicken’s earlobe color—yes, chickens have earlobes—can sometimes be a rough guide to the color of their eggs: red earlobes with brown eggs, white earlobes with white.

[hen clucking, https://www.birdnote.org/show/chickens-circle-earth ]

The final color of an egg comes from a pigment the hen’s body adds to the shell just before the egg is laid. Breeds that lay white eggs don’t add any pigment.

In the end, an egg’s color doesn’t tell us much about its nutritional qualities. The big differences in eggs have to do with a chicken’s diet and how it was raised.

[Red Jungle Fowl crowing, https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/76330851 ]

For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.

                                                                               ###
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by Greg McLachlan.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler; Managing Producer: Jason Saul; Editor: Ashley Ahearn; Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone; Assistant Producer: Mark Bramhill.
© 2019 Tune In to Nature.org   April 2019   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#       chicken-03-2019-04-25    chicken-03         

References:
https://www.monnettfarms.com/the-latest-moos/what-makes-eggs-different-c...
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.huffpost.com/entry/brown-white-eggs-dif...

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