Sunday, August 5, 2012
Every Day Easter...and the 'How' Behind It
CLUCK, CLUCK, CLUCK!!!
The photo above is my collection of the blue eggs we have been getting since Flock 2 began laying their eggs. Everyday we get between 1 or 2 of these blue-hued ovums. Even last year, Dan and I wanted chickens that laid blue and/or green eggs. (I think some chickens even lay pink eggs, so my next goal will be acquiring some of those!) So while we were carefully selecting Flock 2, we took 5 Araucana hens...well OK 4 because Chicken Hawk turned out to be a dude.
Araucanas are not to be confused with Ameraucanas...though both breeds originate from Chile and both lay blue eggs. After doing some research for today's post, I learned there are differences in the breeds, but I'm not going to confuse you or myself with those specifics. All I really wanted to know anyway was how in the world does the egg shell come out blue? Well, guess what, I found out why and how, but first I want to say a little something about the Araucana breed in general.
First you pronounce "Araucana" air-ah-kana, and as I said before the breed originates from Chile. I guess the Araucana Indians bred together two breeds of chickens; the Quetro (a brown egg-laying breed) and the Collonca (a blue egg-laying breed). The blue gene is dominant. It was after the bird was imported to the United States that two different breeds, each with specific breed characteristics, emerged as either an Araucana or an Ameraucana.
To make matters worse, there is what chicken people call "Easter Eggers". Technically an Easter Egger is not even a breed, it is just what chicken people call a bird that lays blue eggs, but does not match the characteristics of Araucanas or Ameraucanas. They lay blue eggs because, as I mentioned before, the blue gene is dominate. (Maybe I should get the Araucana breed requirements to make sure I can say with confidence, "Yes, I have Araucanas.") Easter Eggers are basically considered mutts.
Now to the cool part. The blue shell color comes from "an autosomal dominant gene that has been given the genetic symbol of O. This blue color is caused by the deposition of a liver bile pigment throughout the egg and can be seen on the inside of the egg shell." (I broke open a blue egg and could see these lines on the inside of the shell.) "The pigment is concentrated in the egg-laying apparatus and deposited at the same time as the calcium carbonate that makes up the egg shell." (Upson)
I also learned that broken brown eggs have a white interior: (I try to take good pictures, but my camera isn't the best!)
...and broken blue egg shells have a blue interior:
Blue eggs taste the exact same as brown or white eggs. They also have the same nutritional value as any other chicken egg.
Thanks to my blue layers, if I don't have time to color Easter eggs, I can just hard boil some blue ones!
...cluck... cluck... cluck...
P.S. Thanks so much for reading my Chronicles!!! It really means a lot to me! I am up to 2,000 page views!
Upson, Rosalyn. Araucanas. Araucana Club of America. 18 Jan. 2011. 5 Aug. 2012. http://www.araucana.net/
Urquhart, Kristina, Mercedes. "Blue Are You?" Chickens Magazine May/June 2012: 48+