Thursday, March 31, 2011

Olive Eggers--For Green Eggs and Ham!

Olive eggs from my Olive Eggers, bred by me--with two white eggs for comparison.


UPDATE:  My Olive Eggers are laying olive eggs!  This picture (above) shows what colors they are producing, and read more about where we are now in the Olive Egger project here.

 I don't just raise backyard birds; I breed chickens.  My first priority as a breeder is the critically endangered Black Java breed, which I'll post separately about, but I've really gotten my teeth into an exciting, fun breeding project this last year.  It's for a new line of birds--Olive Eggers--and my ultimate goal is to have eggs that are the darker and more vibrant shades of green in the picture to the right, in the second row. (Please note: the pictures to the left, showing both dark brown and olive eggs are those I found by googling "olive eggs" to share a sense of this project with you, and they reflect my goals with regard to olive eggs, not my current eggs. It was pictures like this--of what was possible--that got me excited about breeding for olive eggs! Pictures of MY olive EGGS can be seen at the top of the page.)


The basic genetics, without boring everyone to death or getting beyond my own understanding, goes like this.  A chicken carries egg color on multiple gene locations   A bird can carry blue egg genes or brown egg genes, or BOTH. When they carry neither, they lay white eggs.  When they carry only a few brown genes, they lay light brown eggs.  More brown genes = darker brown eggs.  When they carry only blue genes they lay blue eggs.  When they carry copies of both, they lay some shade of green egg.  To get dark or vibrant olive green, you need one dark dark brown and one bright bright blue gene carrying parent.

Only a few breeds of birds lay a true blue egg--Ameracaunas and Auracanas are the main ones, both of which are fairly unusual and can only be acquired from a breeder, as hatcheries do not carry them, no matter what they say.  Easter Eggers are a mixed breed, and the term EE indicates a bird whose ancestry passed down to them at least one copy of a blue egg gene and which has a pea comb and lays, usually, an egg in the blue-green color range.  In these birds, which usually lay a minty green or sea green egg, it is fairly unusual to find a blue egg, though focused breeding of the bluest-egg-laying EEs can provide a reliably bluish egg--but even then, they are still EEs.  Egg color does not make for a breed, after all--heredity does.  Hatcheries refuse to stop labeling their EEs as Auracanas/Americanas, and so many many folks are understandably confused about the difference!  Interested? Read more about all that here: EEs vs AAs.

Many many birds have copies of the brown egg gene.  French Coppered Black Marans (FCBMs) lay the darkest egg of any breed, as seen in the pic to the left.

What happens when you take the bluest egg you can find, like the one in the middle of this picture, and the darkest brown egg you can find, like those chocolate brown beauties surrounding it, and cross the parents?  You may get a deep or vibrant green egg, from mixed breed birds called Olive Eggers.  The deep green or true olive is above and to the left of the blue egg; the vibrant jade green egg is below and to the left of the blue egg).  Once you get green eggs like this, breeding strategy consists of  taking the greenest of these olive eggs and breeding the hens that lay them back to dark brown egg roosters, and French Coppered Black Marans roos are the best.

I am so excited to see what color eggs I will get from this batch of hens, who are bred from very blue-egg laying EEs crossed with FCBMs and from pure FCBM hens crossed with a pure Ameraucana rooster.  My best FCBMs lay a huge speckled dark brown egg, which means that my eggs may also be olive and speckled--an amazing, beautiful combination!  A few of the birds in this hatch will lay or carry genes for plain brown or khaki eggs too--in cases where their (heterozygous) EE mothers carry only one copy of the blue gene, a few of their offspring will revert back to brown eggs, but this should be a small percentage.

Are you interested in raising chickens that may lay dark brown, blue, blue-green, or olive eggs?  I will have chicks available in mid April that should lay eggs that span the spectrum of these tones.  Let me know if you'd like to reserve some!  They start at $4 each as day old birds, and their price increases $1 each week to $8 at 5 weeks, when they are ready to live outside.


47 comments:

  1. Hello,

    I am interested by olive eggs chicks. But do you send chicks overseas, to Europe ?

    Gilles GONZALEZ JEUNESSE
    Normandy

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    1. sorry, no. that is not possible that i know of, and i certainly would not do so.

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  2. I just got my first ever olive green egg yesterday, and am excited to see if I get any more, but unfortunately, I don'
    t know which hen laid it!!

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    1. cool! most likely it comes from a hen with a pea comb (google images for pea comb and then check your hens). however, i have a straight combed girl that lays an olive egg too. sure fire way to know which hen laid an egg? you can squirt some food coloring just inside the vents of the hens in question in the morning, and then link the color deposited on the egg during hatching to the colors you used for each hen (each hen needs a different color, of course!)

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    2. I would like to get a chicken that lays green spotted eggs like in your picture. Do you have any available? I live in Dallas Texas

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  3. I know this is an old post, but if you are going to have potentially "olive egg" layers this year, I would be interested in a few. I'm in northwest Kansas, but I have family in Pittsburg, Kansas, and am down there several times a year, so I could easily pick up sometime this Spring. Thanks, Meryl

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    1. Meryl, looks like the time is now! I have just turned three week olds outside (in the brooder yard and coop with a light) that look great and I have babies hatching over the next couple days as well with lots of OEs in the mix...mostly from a beautiful splash Ameracauna as well as her sister, a blue, so we should get some nice feather colors. Just holler if you are ready or will be soon..I can hold birds for pickup for a week.

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  4. Oh my gosh, I love this! I wish I lived somewhere I could keep birds in the backyard. Maybe someday I will and I can remember your olive egg birds!

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    1. Good luck to you. There is nothing like raising chickens. Although it does make you a little odd--just be forewarned. I just wrote about that today, lol.

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  5. What is the price and wait time for your olive eggs? Do you send F1 or F2 generations or both? Do you have blue eggs available too? Shipping to Indiana? Thanks! Jane

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    1. I am hatching my first set of F1 and F2 olive eggs RIGHT NOW. I'll know after this hatch whether my F2 pullet's eggs are big enough yet to have thriving, hardy chicks, and that my roos, Jules and Basho, are doing their thing. Keep watching for more updates in about, OH, 21 DAYS!

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  6. after talking about it for two years I'm getting chick this march to raise with my grandchildren. I love the olive green, blue, and dark brown eggs you show. Will you have chick for sale this spring? Do you ship to California?

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    1. What a fun project this would be with grandkids. I write a lot on this blog about how this all ties in with raising my kids...so much to learn, so much to love--and such GREAT photo ops and MEMORIES to be made. I don't ship any chicks...I do ship hatching eggs. If you get on Backyard Chickens dot com I just KNOW you'll find a closer breeder, and you and the kids can go pick the chicks out.

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  7. I would like to purchase some of your chicks. How would I go about that?

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    1. You can pick up chicks in Fayetteville Ar. I do not ship. Just let me know if you are interested, and in what, and I'll arrange to meet you. I can hold chicks for one week.

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  8. I am interested in purchasing a few an olive eggers. Please contact me :)

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    1. Awesome...I have three week olds that are ready (already outside in brooder pen during day and in coop with light at night)and I have more hatching in the next two days. Let me know what you want and I can hold them for one week before pickup. I can meet you in Fayetteville if you are local. I do not ship chicks, only hatching eggs. :)

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  9. I'm interested in a few of Olive babies, Please Please contact me!

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    1. Awesome...I have three week olds that are ready (already outside in brooder pen during day and in coop with light at night)and I have more hatching in the next two days. Let me know what you want and I can hold them for one week before pickup. I can meet you in Fayetteville if you are local. I do not ship chicks, only hatching eggs. :)

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  10. Hi, I came across your page and it's been a tremendous insight to me--I would one day love to try my hand at the breeding for olive eggers but at the moment I am in search of some olive hatching eggs first. I think I saw at one point you were selling them, are you currently? If not, would you be able to steer me in the direction of a reputable source?
    Thank you very much and happy breeding!
    -Jennifer

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  11. Do you have Oliver egger chicks available now? If so what is the price and shipping to Oklahoma? email me direct please. Thanks afussell@rocketmail.com

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  12. Last Easter we purchased three Americauna's, named Noodle, Biscuit and Gravy... that they say lay blue and green eggs. We have also just purchased a "Blue Splash Americauna Rooster" Maybe one day we will have baby Chicks. We just have backyard Chickens. We also have a Sussex,(Phoenix) an Austrothorp (Gertrude)and a Brown Leghorn 9Pete-long story:=}. We love their eggs and our Chickens:=}

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  13. Greetings from the Pacific Northwest...my fiance and I live on his family's farm and we're both very interested in raising olive eggers and would love to purchase some eggs from you. Are you still selling them? When would be the time to buy them in the spring? Thank you for your time and for creating such an awesome blog.

    -Sarah @ Summerong Farm

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  14. I am so interested in getting some eggs or chicks. Which ever way you sell them. My email is kerri0225@gmail.com

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  15. I would love info on purchasing some chicks of olive eggers!
    Thank you,
    Jennifer
    amusingprovincial@yahoo.com

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  16. I am interested in purchasing some of your day old chicks in the range that you speak of above. Would you please e-mail me at mrsgreenthumb@mchsi.com

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  17. If you have some this spring, please let me know! Krussell824@gmail.com

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  18. I am interested in some of your eggs if you are still breeding! let me know! corasoleil@gmail.com

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  19. Got Americauna chicks today and am picking up my Black Copper Marans tomorrow so I have potential Olive Eggers next year. Hadn't really thought of it much til I read your informative article! Thanks so much for explaining things so clearly! You may be hearing from me to breed second generation stock in the future!

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  20. What is your minimum on how many eggs you ship? I only want 2-3. I live in WA State. How much would each egg cost and approximate shipping cost? I live in an area where roosters aren't allowed so need to start with chicks or eggs.

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  21. My family, back before I was born, used to keep chickens that laid bright colored eggs. I told my father-in-law about it and he didn't believe me and actually suggested my parents were coloring the eggs to make a joke on the children! I showed him this blog page as evidence that yes, chickens really did lay eggs colored other than white and brown.

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  22. Do you have any chicks or eggs available?

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  23. Hi! I know you dont ship chicks...I am interested in purchasing 4 hatching eggs (mixed blue/green/olive). Itsmewithoutyou@gmail.com

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  24. I would love some dark olive green hatching eggs or chicks. Do you have any? Trulykessa @hotmail.com :)

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  25. Please email me shyde1982@gmail.com we want to purchase olive eggs for hatching! Thanks

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  26. Do you still have Olive Eggers for purchase? I'm so sad to see this post is old. Please email me at burntplowfarms@gmail.com. VERY interested!

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  27. I have a Olive Egger roo and both a EE and a BCM hen. How the eggs turn out if I hatch some of these chicks? How does the roo play out in genetics? I haven't been able to find pertinent info online. Thanks!

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  28. Do you sell fertile eggs for incubating I am interested in some if not chicks will work also :)

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  29. I would love some olive eggers!
    b.ryckert@gmail.com

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  30. Would love a dozen Olive eggers for Hatching, please email me:
    Rhiannon188@yahoo.com
    Thank you! :-)

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  31. Would be interested in olive eggers: mhshaughnessy@gmail.com

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  32. How do I order these from you? I would like 8 baby day old chicks ...hens please and one roo too. Thank you, drcarlanorthcott@gmail.com

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  33. Would love information on your chicks.
    bntollefson06@gmail.com

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  34. I am interested in Black Copper Maran chicks and Olive Egger chicks. If you have these avail. please contact me at sheayageisen@gmail.com.

    Thank you!

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  35. I too am interested in the Olive green eggs and also the really dark brown ones. Please let me know if you have them availble for shipping to California and how much. Thanks so much Linda ( lovey2@netptc.net )

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  36. Hi all--thank you for your interest. I have been in a Philly suburb for almost two years now, and had to leave my flock behind in Arkansas. In July, I return to country living and chicken breeding near Asheville NC. Look for more opportunities to get Olive Egger hatching eggs in the Spring!

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  37. Hi Joy. I was wondering if you ever have unhatched eggs for sale? I do Pysanky, also known as batik eggs, and would love some of these lovely olive green eggs to work with. Let me know.

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