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All About Easter Egger Chickens

Chickens are the gateway drug to country life. And with good reason, they’re fairly easy to keep, they lay eggs and they’re hilarious. One of my favorite varieties of chicken is the Easter Egger.

Easter egger hen in a green field

What is an Easter Egger Chicken?

They’re technically not a breed at all, it’s a catch all group for chickens with a particular set of characteristics. The main breed they are derived from is the Araucana.

 Araucana chicken against a white back ground with blue eggs, cheek poufs and not tail text overlay

Araucanas are a unique breed known for laying blue eggs, exaggerated cheek poufs and no tails. That’s right, if your chicken has tail feathers it’s not really an Araucana.

One step away from the Araucana and a little closer to the Easter Egger is the Ameraucana. The Ameraucana is an American breed (bet you saw that coming!). They were bred in an effort to keep the blue eggs and eliminate a lethal gene common in Araucanas that kills chicks in the shell.

Finally we get to the Easter Eggers! They are a mix of different breeds that give you chickens laying blue to blue green eggs thanks to that Araucana blue egg gene.

You can breed EE hens and roosters and it’s anyone’s guess what you’ll get. Some of my favorite chickens are barnyard mixes, you can always spot the EE genes with those little poufy cheeks and beards!

As much as I do love my heritage breeds like the extra fancy Appenzellar Spitzhauben or my favorite chickens, the Brahamas. I’m happy with my plain old EE’s. I love them so much I’m going to give you a few reasons I think you should add them to your flock!

Easter Eggers Lay Beautiful Eggs

Chances are you found out about chickens that lay blue eggs and you wanted them! Who wouldn’t?

blue, green and pale olive eggs in a white ceramic egg holder

I have a carefully selected (impulsively chosen) flock that lays a mix of blue, white, tan and dark brown eggs. I had one girl that laid stunning speckled olive eggs but she disappeared one day and I still miss her.

You will have variation in egg color with your EEs. The colors shift from very pale blue, to pastel blue to a slight green tinge and even a slightly purple color.

Fun fact, egg shells are either white or blue! The brown color comes from an ‘overspray’ of pigment. That’s why if you scrub brown eggs the color fades.

Olive eggs and green eggs come from chickens that lay a blue shell with a brown overspray. The darker the brown, the deeper the olive or green color. My olive egger was a Welsummer-Easter Egger cross. A combo I plan on hatching next year with my EE girls and one of my Wellie roos.

Bottom line, EE’s are a great start for collecting your own rainbow of egg colors.

Easter Eggers are Beautiful Birds

Most chickens come in a handful of colors, if you order 12 Light Brahmas, you’ll get 12 amazing large fluffy footed white and grey birds.

three young Easter egger pullets in a green spring field

If you order 12 EEs you’ll probably get 12 very different birds. This is pretty cool for a few reasons. One, your flock just looks cooler if you have a mix of colors and patterns.

It’s also great if you like to name your chickens, I love my Brahma ladies but I can’t tell one from another. Even my 2 year old can tell the EE’s apart.

four easter egger chicks

The main physical characteristic that sets Easter Eggers apart from other birds is the cheek poufs and beards. They’re even visible on the chicks!

They make EE chicks extra cute and easily distinguishable from the others in the flock. If you have a mixed box of fluff balls check out my post on how to tell different breeds apart as chicks.

They stand out in the flock for the cheek poufs and the beards. As adults they look like they have very thick necks, almost like the necks are larger than the heads.

It gives the hens a bit of rooster appearance but they are regular feathers, not the umbrella of hackle feathers roosters poof up when they fight.

EEs are Inexpensive & Easy to Find

Easter egger on a roost

They’re basically mutts after all. I bought my EE girls from Cackle Hatchery this year, if you get pullets they’ll run from ~$3-4 each depending on how many you buy. That puts them on par with the more common heritage breeds like the silver laced wyandottes and brown leghorns.

They also run specials all the time so you might get an even better deal. I ended up with 5 lovely ladies that are starting to lay now at about 30 weeks.

Most hatcheries will have EEs for sale, some even have bantam Easter Eggers which are adorable and lay tiny blue eggs. I have two elder bantam EEs and they are still laying little robin eggs that my kids adore.

Easter Eggers are Hardy Birds

Don’t let those pretty faces and beautiful patterns fool you! Easter Eggers are hardy birds. They can handle cold winters and also do pretty well in the heat.

They have small combs that make frost bite less likely in the cold. I put lights in my chicken coop and barn in the winter to make up for the 6 hours of sunlight and my EEs are the only ones that are still reliably laying.  

Part of that probably comes from the hybrid vigor from that whole mixed breed thing. They are very inquisitive, they’re not quite as nuts as my Appenzellars but almost. They’re the only other breed of chicken I regularly find in the trees.

folding chicken roost in chicken coop

Even after I added a new set of three low roosts to the coop I only see the Easter Eggers on the top roosts, they’re at least 7 feet off the ground but if they aren’t there they’re in the rafters in the main part of the barn. 

Looking through pictures for this post I noticed I didn’t have a lot of in focus EE pictures. Part of it is I take a lot of pictures of the moms and I’ve never had a broody EE. 

The other part is they are very fast and all over the place. They aren’t like my silkies and my garden buddy, a dominique, that follow me around everywhere. 

Easter Eggers are Reliable layers

You won’t get quite as many eggs out of an EE as you will with a commercial laying cross but they do a good job filling your belly. They’re a medium breed, weighing in around 6-7 pounds and they are a dedicated egg breed.

Cream Easter egger hen

Most of my birds are larger and considered a dual purpose, they lay eggs but also have enough ahem.. meat on their bones to be used for the dinner table. EEs don’t put any extra energy into sustaining a large body so they crank out more eggs.

EE’s are good layers, you can expect ~200-280 eggs a year from a hen. It will vary bird to bird and based on husbandry, including whether or not you light the coop in the winter.

They are some of the best layers I have, I tend to have a lot of green and blue eggs even though I have a lot more chickens that lay brown and white.

They Come in Travel Size!

Ok they aren’t really travel size but you can get bantam Easter Eggers. I had a few but I’m down to two now.

bantam Easter egger hen

I call one my little dove, she’s little with a pretty dove grey & cream coloring. She lays the prettiest little blue eggs! The kids really get a kick out of tiny eggs, even more so when they’re a fun color. 

Last year I ordered silkies and I try to limit my pointless chicken purchases but 2019 may be their year! 

I do have one barn yard cross that’s a little too big to be a bantam but not quite full sized. She’s all black with the cheek poufs and hatched out 12 babies last year. 

back half Easter Egger bantam hen

I’m not sure what she is mixed with but shes the only EE I’ve ever had sit on a nest. Of course I can’t get a cochin to go broody but my super flighty Appenzellar Spitshauben hen can’t seem to keep herself off a nest. 

Moral of that story, chickens do what they want to. You can read everything there is to know about a particular breed and still end up with a bird that defies all the personality traits you chose it for. 

Now that we have the good stuff out of the way I’ll break your heart a little.

Easter Egger Roosters are Mean

easter egger rooster

I’m basing this 100% on personal experience, if you have had other experiences I’d love to hear them so please share in the comments. Every. Single. Easter Egger Rooster I’ve ever had has been an asshole.

They were mean to the other roosters, mean to the hens and even picked at me and my kids. I have a no aggressive rooster policy so they don’t last very long around here.

It’s really unfortunate because they are stunning birds, especially when they’re fully feathered out with their adult saddle and hackle feathers. They’re feathered rainbows of anger.

I hope I’ve inspired you give Easter Eggers another glance next time you’re adding to your flock! Don’t forget to PIN this to your chicken board for later.

Check out my Chicken page for more of my chicken musings or start here:

white ceramic egg holder filled with 12 fresh farm eggs in blue, green, tan, cream, white & dark brown

large buff Orpington rooster

large royal palm tom turkey on a green lawn with feathers up

 

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Jana Wiley

Thursday 11th of March 2021

We have a large, very showy EE Roo. He was raised by a family with kids. At this point, with hens at my place, he is only concerned when we go to pick up a hen and she squawks. He is just protective, and will peck at the rubber boots, but not attack. He sees the hens are settled in our arms, and that is that. I saw him fly up into the air one day when a Cooper's Hawk was soaring down to grab a hen. He plucked that hawk right out of its flight path and brought him to the ground, ready to dismantle him. I watched him give him one opening out of there and the hawk took it, flying away quickly. Amazing. Very protective attitude, I think that is a quality when you let them free range in a mixed open, forested area that is fenced from dogs and coyotes.

Debra White

Saturday 13th of February 2021

I now have 4 EE hens, and for about 9 months 2 little guys on their way to becoming roosters, What they became were little assholes! They would double tag the younger hens. One would catch and hold while the other tried to perform the cloacal kiss. My older and very sweet Welsummer roo, JarJar Binks, did his best to protect them all, but 22 hens was too much. So the little jerks got rehomed. They went to a home with much older hens so hopefully they will be taught how to behave. I've crossed my original EE hen with the Welsummer and have 2 girls who are just starting to lay and one has olive eggs and the other is a darker army green. I have several "breeds" of chickens but I love crossing them to see what I get!! I have only had chickens for 2 yrs but I can't imagine life without them!! I genuinely love my feathered babies.....

Carrie Talus

Thursday 11th of February 2021

We have 2 hens and one Easter Egger rooster. He's very aggressive but he's actually all bark and no bite. He will do his aggressive looking rooster dance at me where he puffs up and puts one wing down and stomps over at me. I just walk towards him or pick him up and he instantly is nice again. We carry him around and pet him. It's like he is very protective of his hens, but he's actually a nice guy. He's young though - 7 months old - so I'm not sure if he will change and get more aggressive or less. We really want to keep him though. My question is, will he grow spurs or no? I'm hoping not.

Alecia

Friday 12th of February 2021

I've never a rooster without spurs, they usually grow in around 7-8 months and they do start pretty small. Attitude can change when the hormones settle down but I'd keep an eye on him and be careful with him around kids. I have had roosters that wouldn't dream of going after me but chased my kids mercilessly

gabbi

Tuesday 2nd of February 2021

I had an Easter Egger Roo and he was amazing. I raised him from when he was a baby and he was so smart. He knew his name and figured out pretty quickly how to communicate what he wanted. He loved cuddling and would purr when I pet him. He was definitely aggressive, but not to humans. He would chase turkeys out of the yard and even one time chased a large dog! Unfortunately he was taken by a hawk one morning. He was such an amazing bird. I would highly recommend raising an EE Roo as long as theyre by themselves they will bond with you!

Dianna K Rosenbaum

Monday 16th of March 2020

I love your articles and find them both amusing and informative. I just got my chickens last year and lucked out on my EE’s as I got 4 hens and 1 rooster. I have a very sweet EE rooster who gets bossed around by my silkie roo. He actually will come up to me when I’m tossing bread treats and will wait right beside me for his and he takes very gently. He even comes to his name. He does a great job watching over the hens and is very gental manly when it comes to the girls. He’s a keeper and I love this boy! He’s kind of funny because he is a year old now and just started crowing and he doesn’t do it very often.