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Olive Egger Chickens

Olive Egger chickens, a cross between a Marans and an Ameraucana, lay gorgeous olive green eggs, as their name implies.

If you have been following the blog you know that I back in 2012 I hatched my very first chicks. It was such an amazing experience.

To think that an egg hatches into a living, breathing chick in just 21 days and then that golf-ball sized chick grows to be a robin-sized pullet over the next 21 days or so is just amazing. 

Then just 4 or 5 months later, that pullet starts laying her own eggs. It really is such a quick transformation from egg to egg-laying hen, when you stop and think about it.

Olive Egger Chickens

Anyway, three of the breeds that I hatched were French Copper Marans, Ameraucanas and Olive Egger chickens.  All were new breeds for me, which was so exciting. 

And all three are breeds that I still raise currently - and in fact I still have some of these chickens I hatched. 

But these three breeds are also linked in kind of a neat way as you will understand as you read on...

The first breed I hatched were Marans.

French Marans Chickens

Marans lay some of the darkest eggs of any breed.  The pores in the shells are smaller than other breeds and therefore Marans eggs are thought to be less susceptible to salmonella and stay fresher longer.  They are highly prized in French cooking, being thought to have superior taste.

Ian Fleming popularized the breed, especially in the UK, in his James Bond series of books written in the 1960s, making Marans eggs 007's breakfast of choice.

More recently, Martha Stewart renewed interest in the Marans breed by showcasing their chocolate brown eggs on her show.

These eggs are from our Marans from the Wade Jeane line. Wade Jeane was former president of the American Marans Club.  They are bred to the French standard, with feathered legs.

The second breed I hatched were Ameraucanas.

Ameraucana Chickens

True Ameraucanas are one of the few breeds that lay blue eggs.  These eggs are from both our Black and Blue Ameraucanas and are a brilliant blue color 

The grown hens will be either blue or black, have puffy muffs or beards and have pea combs.

The third breed I hatched was the Olive Egger.

Olive Egger Chickens

Now for the really exciting breed: the Olive Egger. Although not technically a breed recognized by the APA, Olive Egger chickens have become a popular hybrid or mixed breed of chicken due to the olive green eggs they lay.

The Olive Egger chicken is created by crossing a dark brown egg laying breed with a blue egg laying breed.

Marans + Ameraucana = Olive Egger

Now for a bit of a science lesson...

If eggs laid by an Ameraucana hen are fertilized by a Marans rooster instead of an Ameraucana rooster, the resulting chick will be an Olive Egger who will lay olive green eggs. 

An olive green egg is merely a blue egg that has also had brown pigment applied over the blue to result in a green egg.

Although the chick will hatch out of a blue egg that looks identical to an Ameraucana egg, the chick will inherit appearance traits of both parents and grow up to lay olive eggs eggs. 

This is an Olive Egger chicken.

Olive Egger chickens can come in various colors like black or gray, depending on what color their parents are, and they can inherit both the feathered feet of the Marans breed and beard and cheek puffs of the Ameraucana breed. 

Here she is all grown up! She's nine years old now.

Although each hen is  a bit different, depending on the exact breeds used to create her, since the "breed" hasn't been standardized yet, Olive Eggers are generally medium-sized chickens that lay nice large eggs, about 150-160 per year.  

They're not overly aggressive nor too docile, falling somewhere in the middle of the flock pecking order.  My Olive Egger chicken Abigail has been a great mom, raising a few batches of chicks of her own.

If you're looking to add some color to your egg basket, adding some Olive Egger chickens to your flock will accomplish that! 

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