Most consumers are familiar with white and brown chicken eggs sold at farm stands, grocery stores and health food stores alike. Though most breeds of hens produce eggs in these familiar colours, a few special varieties lay eggs with blue, green or pink shells. All four pink-egg laying chicken breeds have been established for many years without the use of genetic modification. They vary widely in their dispositions and egg production.
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Accepted by the American Poultry Association (APA) in 1984, Ameraucanas, or "Easter Egg Chickens," are native to Chile. The hens are best known for laying large blue or blue-green eggs, but also lay an average to above average yield eggs in olive green, light brown and pale pink. Like their eggs, the birds and chicks come in a variety of colour combinations, from plain grey to flashy orange and blue. They are also favoured for their calm, peaceful dispositions. Ameraucana's may be related to Araucana chickens, which are also native to Chile and lay only blue eggs.
Native to India and developed at least 2,000 years ago, the rare Aseel or Asil chicken is an ancestor of the famed Cornish breed. The birds have a strong build, with broad shoulders, thick thighs and fleshy breasts. Aseel chickens are overprotective mothers with aggressive dispositions, and as such should not be mixed with other breeds. They respond well to handling in the absence of other roosters. Hens are below-average producers of eggs with pink tinted shells.
Plymouth Rock/Barred Rock
Plymouth Rock chickens, sometimes sold as Barred Rock, were first bred in New England during the 1800s, and used to be the most popular breed in the U.S. The great majority of Plymouth Rocks have a black and white barred feather pattern, but birds are also available in white, buff or blue varieties. Plymouth Rocks have calm dispositions and socialise well with other chickens. Hens lay an above-average yield of light pink to medium brown eggs.
Silkies were first developed in 13th century China and discovered by Marco Polo. The birds have an unusual appearance, with black skin, turquoise ear lobes, downy feathers and walnut-coloured combs. Hens lay a below-average amount of eggs with a light pink tint. Silkies are active, yet submissive. Being smaller than most chickens, they are not recommended for mixed flocks.
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