Red Wicket Market Farm is a small farm 25 minutes from downtown Columbus, Ohio, near Slate Run Metropark. Breeding Black Ameraucanas and Black Copper Marans to the Standard of Perfection, as well as some Olive Eggers just for fun.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Breed Profile: Easter Egger Chicken

Our garden continues to grow. Everything is planted but the edamame, and the cucumbers have germinated. All my tomatoes are looking great, and most of them have a nice layer of straw mulch to help control disease and retain moisture. The best news of all--so far, nothing has eaten any of my young plants! This is a true cause for celebration, because every year rabbits have to come and try my squashes and peppers, and even my tomatoes. We shall see if my good luck holds, because one of the things the rabbits love most is the edamame. I'm scheming with my husband to figure out a way to fence the garden this year, so I can keep the critters out. In the meantime, I'm encouraging my dog to spend lots of time out near the garden, hoping her smell will keep the critters away.

This week, I'd like to tell you about a really fun kind of chicken: the Easter Egg Chicken, or Easter Egger, or EE. Easter Eggers are the hens that people always ask me about, because they are our chickens that lay the blue and green eggs. 

All these eggs were gathered on June 6, 2013. The egg in the center is white for comparison.

Easter Egg Chicken isn't really a breed; Easter Eggers are any chicken that carries the blue egg gene and doesn't meet the Standard of Perfection for another breed. Basically, EEs are mixed breed chickens that usually lay green eggs. Because they are mutts, EEs can come in any color and lay any color of egg including brown, blue, green, and pinkish. EEs are often confused with Ameraucana chickens (our rooster Billy was one) because hatcheries sell mixed-breed EEs under the name Ameraucana. This makes me really annoyed, because it is deceptive advertising. This is often very frustrating for the new chicken owner who thinks they've found a neat rare breed of chicken at their local feed store, only to find out the bird was a mutt all along. Basically, if you bought an Ameraucana or Araucana from any place but a reputable breeder, you've probably purchased an Easter Egger. What sounds like a downfall of the Easter Egger--the fact that they are not pure-bred--is actually a plus to me. With an EE, you never know what you're going to get. The fact that they all look different is really fun, and when you have an EE chick, you have no idea what color egg she's going to lay. Because EEs are often a cross between an Ameraucana and a breed that's a really good layer, EEs can lay more and larger eggs than their pure-bred cousins. 

I wanted to take some photos of our lovely EE girls for this post, but alas, it's pouring down rain. Good for the garden, bad for taking photos of chickens. I will take some photos of EEs and update this post next week, but in the meantime, here is a wonderful Google Image Search for Easter Egger chickens. Take a look, you'll be amazed by the rainbow of colors and varieties of this fun kind of bird.

Have a good week, everyone! May your corn grow tall.