Hooters Hall

Blue Saturday

Just a quick post to announce our Cotswold Legbar chickens have laid their first blue shelled egg !

I haven’t identified which of the ten has laid, but hopefully this will be the first of many. Although, I expect a slow start because at this time of year with the short nights egg laying tends to tail off a bit. Randomly the egg was in Monica and Rachel’s coop and in recent weeks I have found some of Monica and Rachel’s eggs in the hen ark so they are obviously sharing their accomodation.

The egg is a very light blue but I’m not sure how well it’ll show up in the picture (but it is blue honest).

The colouring of the egg shell is down to genetics rather than enviromental factors such as what the chicken eats. Our Cotswold Legbar chickens are hybrids, so not a pure breed, and have been developed to lay blue eggs but in greater quantities than the pure breeds that lay blue eggs such as the Cream legbar and Araucana.

Genetic science is never simple and characteristics are often the result of an interplay of several genes as well as the environemnt and therefore can be difficult to predict. However, when it comes to egg colour there are a few known genetic rules. Firstly that colour of the egg is sex linked and that the father is the most important determinant for the colour of eggs produced by the next generation. Secondly the blue egg colour of the Araucana is dominant, so when crossed with another breed the female offspring will always lay blue or tinted eggs.

Despite these known rules there are many more unknown factors. When it comes to blue eggs there are other genetic factors that may need to be considered. The blue pigment is synthesised by the liver and of course there will be a natural variation in the speed of this process between chickens. The number of eggs laid or rate of lay is another process with a natural variation, and as the pigment is added gradually throughout the formation of the egg shell, the natural variation in these two processes will result in differing intensity of blue egg colouring.

Now the nights are really drawing in we’ll probably have a bit more of a wait to see how blue the eggs of our ten Cotswold Legbars are and whether we have any genetic flukes that lay pink or pastel coloured eggs but fingers crossed next spring we’ll have a regular supply of pretty pastel shelled eggs.

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