What Are Olive Egger Chickens?

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If you are on the scope for unique looking eggs, you might have heard of the Olive Egger chickens. But what are Olive Egger chickens? 

  • Will they fit well within your flock? 
  • Can you produce your own Olive Eggers? 
  • Do they require any special care? 

We will answer all of these questions and more. By the end of this article, you will know everything there is to know about these birds, and if they are right for you.

Easter_egg_Chicken
Easter Egg Chicken

Egg Production

Olive Egger eggs are a vibrant green color, which is where these chickens get their names. These green shades can be anywhere from bright green to a brown shade. Occasionally one chicken will is capable of laying all shades of green and brown eggs. These colors are a beautiful addition to any egg basket. And since the Olive Egger chickens egg production is 4-5 eggs a week starting at 5-6 months old, they are very reliable. 

The difference in egg color is determined by what kind of hybrid they are. Since combinations aren’t 100% predictable, you might notice a few different shades of green and brown from the same hen. But we will get more into that later. 

Olive Egger Temperament

An Olive Egger chickens temperament is mostly friendly and mild. But since Olive Eggers are a mixed breed, they can differ a little. The best way to determine the disposition of Olive Eggers is to know the parental breeds that make them up. If both breeds are gentle breeds with good personalities, your Olive Egger will be as well. Later on, we will discuss all the breeds that make Olive Egger chickens. And you can go on from there to see what combination would work best for you.

But these chickens are generally easy to raise and don’t take a lot of effort. The Olive Egger chicken is also great to integrate into any flock mix that you already have. If you are looking for a great egg producer that doesn’t go broody often, the Olive Egger is for you. In fact, the Olive Egger chicken is perfect for many beginners. Since they are easy to care for, they are some of the first breeds that beginners experiment with. 

Appearances

The Olive Egger chickens vary from bird to bird on their appearances. Since Olive Eggers aren’t a pure breed, but a hybrid, they can all look somewhat different. They can have different plumage color, feathered legs, and pea combs. Males and Females from the same clutch can be just as diverse as the next. So if you are looking for a specific look, a hybrid like this might not be for you. 

Size & Lifespan

The average Olive Egger hen will weigh somewhere between 6-7 pounds, and roos 7-8. As mentioned before, these birds are a hybrid. So depending on what breeds of chicken used in the breeding, they may be slightly smaller or bigger. Breeds like Ameraucanas tend to give larger offspring, and Marans produce smaller ones. But these size differences are usually very minimal. And the average lifespan is about five years, with the most egg production within the first 2-3 years. 

Optimal Climate

Are Olive Egger chickens cold hardy? Yes, these fantastic hybrids are great for almost every climate. They do exceptional in cold Midwestern winters, and in the muggy Southern summers without anything special that you don’t already do. You might see a slight production decrease in eggs during winter months, but they generally lay eggs all year round. 

Are They Good For Meat Production?

An Olive Egger’s primary purpose is to provide eggs of different colors. In some cases, people have had success with keeping them for meat once they no longer lay. But, they aren’t known to produce the most meat. If your cross with smaller chickens, like the Maran, then your Olive Egger will be a smaller bird without much meat on them. But larger roosters or hybrids with Ameraucana can produce enough meat. 

How To Cross An Olive Egger

What are Olive Egger chickens a mix of? There are many possibilities of chicken breeds that can give you an Olive Egger. And each cross can give you wildly different results in egg color and chicken appearance. 

Common brown egg breeds:

  • Welsummer
  • Barnevelder
  • Empordanesa
  • Marans
  • Penedesenca 

Common blue egg layers:

  • Cream Legbar
  • Araucana
  • And Ameraucana

All of these breeds are great for creating your own Olive Egger. Chickens that lay darker brown eggs give you Olive Egger chickens eggs that are a darker vibrant green. And on the other hand, lighter brown eggers give you more of a tan Olive Egger. These breeds can also be mixed to make unique looking chickens. You can have endless possibilities and have fun trying to get your favorite features in your next clutch. 

Can I Use Easter Egg Chickens? 

Easter Egger chickens can give you a variety of blue, green, white, and pink. After all, what are olive egger chickens mixed with? Some might think that the Easter Egger is a good candidate for making Olive Eggers. But Easter Eggers aren’t guaranteed to pass down their genetics to produce true Olive Eggers. This is because Easter Eggers are not an actual breed either. 

Easter Eggers apply to any chicken that lays colored eggs. Some people have great luck breeding a true blue laying hen to brown producing roosters. But the blue gene is not always passed down to their chicks. It is best to steer clear of the “Easter Egger chickens” if you want real Olive egger eggs. 

Multigenerational Olive Egger Chickens

When you make your first cross of Olive Eggers, this generation is called the F1. The F1 generation is a cross of two purebred chickens to create the Olive Egger. F1 generations are more predictable than any other generation. Everything from their appearance to what color eggs they produce is more predictable. 

F2 generations come from one of two ways. You can either breed the F1 generation back to the purebred lines. Or you can breed two F1 generations together to produce the F2. In both of these scenarios, you will get vastly different outcomes. And the more generations you add, the more confusing it can get. The appearance of your chickens won’t be predictable, and the color of eggs produced can change. Breeding two F1 generations together can give you anywhere from white to blue to olive-colored eggs. There is no rhyme or reason for how genetics will play out. 

And of course, you can have as many generations of Olive Eggers as you wish. You could have an F2 generation all the way up to F7 if you wanted to. But remember that for every cross that you make, the more complicated things get. 

Choosing Your Hybrid

When breeding your own Olive Egger Chickens, there are countless possibilities to mix. Determining what you are producing for exactly will help you decide what chickens to use, and where. Choosing larger breeds to get larger Olive Eggers is a place to start. Or if you are hoping to pass on some other appearances, choosing chickens with styles you like is a great option.

If you are hoping to keep breeding for the most luxurious egg colors, there is a proper way to do it. We recommend designating your blue egg layer to be the hen, and brown to be the roo. You see, Olive eggers have a very complicated genetic makeup. Blue egg layers have blue eggs on the inside and out, which then passes on to the Olive Egger. Brown eggs are actually a pigment that is only on the outside of the egg. So when you mix this blue shell with brown pigment, it creates olive. To get an F2 generation to produce more vibrant olive colors, you want more of that brown pigment by breeding back to the brown egger rooster. 

Likewise, using the same genetics, you can produce lighter eggs. All you will need to change is to have the blue laying rooster bred back to your Olive Egger. You can get beautiful shades of bright pale greens. And breeding any F2 generations together will give you the widest variety of egg colors. 

Can You Buy An Olive Egger?

You can buy Olive Egger chickens almost anywhere that sells chickens, including online. When you buy an Olive Egger from a breeder, they usually have a good sense of what color eggs they produce, but it’s not always exact. These chicks can cost anywhere from $4-$7, and if you buy more, they usually come with a discount. 

Buying instead of breeding can have its benefits as well. Buying an Olive Egger from a reputable breeder can give you the beautiful olive colors you want without trial and error. You can even pay a little more to have your chicks sexed for you for your own breeding purposes. 

Are You Sold? 

When you first came here, you were wondering, “What are Olive Egger chickens?” Now you are an expert in all things Olive Egger and are likely obsessed with them. Now you know everything you need to start your own beautiful Olive flock. The possibilities are endless. 

Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!

what are olive egger chickens

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