What Chickens Lay Brown Eggs?

By Chicken Pets on
What Chickens Lay Brown Eggs?

Have you ever wondered which chickens lay those beautiful brown eggs? In this blog post, we will explore the breeds of backyard chickens known for laying brown eggs and the fascinating world of egg color variation.

What Chickens Lay Brown Eggs?

Various chicken breeds are known to lay brown eggs, including the Rhode Island Red, Plymouth Rock, Sussex, and Wyandotte. These popular backyard chicken breeds showcase diverse egg color shades, from light brown to dark chocolate.

Discovering the Brown Egg Layers

There are several chicken breeds that lay brown eggs, each with their own unique characteristics. In this section, we’ll dive into detail about these breeds, their egg-laying capabilities, and some fun facts about each one. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of the different brown egg layers you can consider for your backyard flock.

Rhode Island Red

As one of the most popular backyard chicken breeds, Rhode Island Reds are known for their striking red-brown feathers and ability to lay large, brown eggs. They are friendly and hardy, making them an excellent choice for any backyard flock.

  • Egg-laying frequency: 5-6 eggs per week
  • Egg size: Large
  • Egg color: Brown
  • Temperament: Friendly, hardy, and sociable

Fascinating Fact: Dual-Purpose Breeds

Rhode Island Reds are classified as dual-purpose breeds, meaning they’re suitable for both meat and egg production. This versatile trait makes them an all-rounder and an excellent addition to any backyard flock.

Plymouth Rock

Another popular choice for backyard flocks, Plymouth Rock chickens are friendly, calm, and known for their trademark black-and-white striped feathers. They lay medium to large brown eggs and adapt well to various climates, making them suitable for different locations.

  • Egg-laying frequency: 4-5 eggs per week
  • Egg size: Medium to Large
  • Egg color: Brown
  • Temperament: Friendly and calm

Fascinating Fact: The Stars and Stripes

Plymouth Rock chickens first appeared in the United States in the early 19th century. With their eye-catching black-and-white striped feathers, they’ve become a symbol of classic Americana and a beloved breed among backyard chicken enthusiasts.


Sussex chickens, with their gentle nature and variety of color patterns, are a delightful addition to any backyard flock. Known for their impressive egg-laying frequency, these birds lay medium-sized, light-brown eggs.

  • Egg-laying frequency: 4-5 eggs per week
  • Egg size: Medium
  • Egg color: Light Brown
  • Temperament: Gentle and docile

Fascinating Fact: A Rich Heritage

Sussex chickens originated from the English county of Sussex over a century ago. They were so important to the region’s economy that they were gifted to members of the royal family as a symbol of prosperity.


Wyandotte chickens are strikingly beautiful, featuring various color patterns such as silver, golden, and blue laced. They are friendly, hardy, and are known to lay medium-sized, brown eggs.

  • Egg-laying frequency: 4-5 eggs per week
  • Egg size: Medium
  • Egg color: Brown
  • Temperament: Friendly and hardy

Fascinating Fact: A Colorful History

Wyandotte chickens were first bred in the United States in the 19th century. They were named in honor of the Wyandot people, a Native American tribe living in the Great Lakes region at the time.

Understanding Egg Color Variation

Egg colors can vary from breed to breed and even from chicken to chicken within the same breed. In this section, we’ll discuss the factors that contribute to egg color variation and where the brown color comes from.

Genetics and Pigments

The color of a chicken’s eggshell is determined by genetics and the specific pigments they produce. Brown eggs get their color from a pigment called protoporphyrin IX. This pigment is applied to the eggshell as it travels through the hen’s reproductive system. The intensity of the color is determined by the amount of pigment applied, which is why brown eggs can range from light tan to dark chocolate.

Factors Affecting Color Variation

Along with genetics, several factors come into play regarding egg color variation, such as:

  • Age: As a hen ages, the amount of pigment applied to the eggs can decrease, resulting in lighter eggshells over time.
  • Nutrition: A balanced and nutritious diet can help maintain a chicken’s ability to produce vibrant eggshells.
  • Stress: Chickens under stress may produce eggs with inconsistent shell coloration.
  • Molting: Egg color can temporarily change when a hen is molting, as energy is redirected toward feather regrowth.

Maintaining a Healthy, Happy Flock of Brown Egg Layers

Now that you’re familiar with the breeds that lay brown eggs and factors affecting egg color variation, it’s important to discuss how to maintain a healthy, happy flock of brown egg layers in your backyard.

Provide a Nutritious Diet

Feeding your chickens a balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for egg production and overall health. Quality commercial laying feed, regular access to fresh water, and occasional treats like fruits, vegetables, and grains will keep your flock happy and nourished.

Ensure Safe and Comfortable Housing

A proper chicken coop is imperative for your flock’s wellbeing. Make sure your coop is well-ventilated, protected from predators, and provides each chicken with the appropriate amount of space. Adding nesting boxes filled with soft bedding will help them feel secure when laying their eggs.

Monitor Their Health

Regular check-ups on your flock will help catch any potential health issues before they become severe. Look for signs like lethargy, changes in egg production, and behavioral changes.

Provide Enrichment and Socialization

Chickens naturally like to explore and forage. Provide your flock with an area to scratch, peck, and dust bathe, as well as engage with each other. This will promote physical and mental health while encouraging natural behaviors.

Armed with this knowledge and understanding, you’re now prepared to welcome brown egg-laying chickens into your backyard flock. Enjoy the beauty and variety of brown eggs you’ll collect, and share the fascinating world of chickens with family, friends, and fellow enthusiasts.

Other Chicken Breeds That Lay Brown Eggs

In addition to the popular brown egg-laying breeds we’ve already covered, there are several other chicken breeds that produce brown eggs. Here are a few more backyard chicken options for those looking to expand their brown egg layers.


Marans are a French breed known for their dark, chocolate-brown eggs. They are friendly, hardy, and come in various color varieties like Black Copper, Wheaten, and Cuckoo.

  • Egg-laying frequency: 3-4 eggs per week
  • Egg size: Medium to Large
  • Egg color: Dark Chocolate Brown
  • Temperament: Friendly and hardy


Orpington chickens are gentle, friendly birds that come in a variety of colors, such as Black, Blue, Buff, and Lavender. They are good layers of medium to large light-brown eggs.

  • Egg-laying frequency: 3-4 eggs per week
  • Egg size: Medium to Large
  • Egg color: Light Brown
  • Temperament: Docile and friendly


Originating from Australia, Australorps are known for their glossy black feathers and their high egg-laying capabilities. They produce large, light-brown eggs and are gentle, friendly birds.

  • Egg-laying frequency: 4-5 eggs per week
  • Egg size: Large
  • Egg color: Light Brown
  • Temperament: Gentle and friendly

How to Store Brown Eggs Safely

Proper egg storage is crucial for maintaining the freshness and quality of your brown eggs. Here are some handy tips on safe egg storage practices:

  • Collect eggs daily: Frequent egg collection ensures that eggs stay clean and are not exposed to bacteria or contaminants.
  • Wash eggs, if necessary: Washing is not always necessary, but if you must clean dirty eggs, use warm water and an egg-safe cleaning solution. Avoid immersing eggs in water, as this can cause bacteria to enter through the eggshell.
  • Refrigerate your eggs: Store your eggs in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below to keep them fresh for longer.
  • Use an egg carton: Storing your eggs in an egg carton helps maintain their freshness, as it keeps them in a consistent temperature and humidity environment.
  • Store eggs pointy end down: Storing eggs with the pointy end down helps prevent the air cell from moving toward the yolk, thus keeping the egg fresher for longer.

The Nutritional Benefits of Brown Eggs

Just like white eggs, brown eggs are packed with various nutrients essential for your health. Some of the nutritional benefits of brown eggs include:

  • High-quality protein: Eggs are an excellent source of high-quality protein, necessary for muscle growth and tissue repair.
  • Vitamins and minerals: Brown eggs contain various vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12, which are crucial for maintaining your health and wellbeing.
  • Healthy fats: Eggs are a good source of healthy fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are essential for maintaining heart health.
  • Antioxidants: Eggs contain antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which are helpful in maintaining eye health.

Remember, though, that the nutritional content of an egg may vary depending on the chicken’s diet and overall health. Providing a balanced, healthy diet for your flock will help ensure that your brown eggs are as nutritious as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that you may have more questions about chickens and their brown eggs. To help you become an expert in backyard chickens and brown eggs, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and concise answers.

1. Are brown eggs more nutritious than white eggs?

No, brown eggs are not inherently more nutritious than white eggs. The nutritional content of an egg primarily depends on the chicken’s diet, overall health, and living conditions, rather than the color of the eggshell.

2. Why are brown eggs sometimes more expensive than white eggs?

Brown eggs can be more expensive due to the fact that brown egg-laying hens are generally larger breeds and require more feed. As a result, the production cost is higher, which translates into a higher price for consumers.

3. Can I mix different chicken breeds in the same flock?

Yes, different chicken breeds can live together in the same flock. However, it’s essential to research the temperaments and compatibility of the breeds you want to mix, and ensure that they can coexist peacefully in your backyard flock.

4. Do hens need a rooster to produce eggs?

No, hens do not need a rooster to produce unfertilized eggs. They will continue to lay eggs without a rooster, but the eggs won’t be fertile and won’t develop into chicks.

5. How long does it take for a hen to lay an egg?

It takes approximately 24-26 hours for a hen to lay an egg. After laying an egg, the next ovulation will generally occur about 30 minutes later, starting the process all over again.

6. Is it possible for my brown egg-laying chickens to start producing different colored eggs?

No, the egg color is determined by genetics, and a chicken will generally continue to produce eggs with the same color throughout its life. However, the intensity and shade of the color may vary due to factors such as age, diet, and stress.

7. Can brown eggs and white eggs be used interchangeably in recipes?

Yes, brown eggs and white eggs can be used interchangeably in recipes as the color of the eggshell doesn’t impact the egg’s taste or cooking properties.

8. How can I improve the egg production of my backyard chickens?

To improve egg production, ensure that your chickens have a balanced diet, clean and comfortable living conditions, and a stress-free environment. Regular health check-ups and ample socialization also contribute to better egg-laying performance.

9. What can cause a drop in egg production?

Various factors can contribute to a drop in egg production, such as changes in temperature or daylight hours, poor nutrition, stress, illness, molting, or aging. Addressing these factors can help improve your chickens’ egg-laying performance.

10. How long do chickens lay eggs?

Chickens generally start laying eggs at around 5-6 months of age and can continue to lay eggs for several years. However, egg production will gradually decrease over time, and many backyard hens will reduce or stop laying altogether between 3 and 5 years of age.

11. Is there a reason why brown eggs have a thicker shell?

The thickness of an eggshell is determined by genetics and the hen’s overall health. While it’s true that some brown-egg-laying breeds produce eggs with thicker shells, the color of the shell itself doesn’t specifically cause the thickness.

12. Can I tell the color of the egg a chicken will lay by looking at the chicken?

In some cases, you can determine the egg color a chicken will lay by the color of its earlobes. Generally, chickens with red earlobes lay brown eggs, and those with white earlobes lay white eggs. However, this rule isn’t always accurate, and other factors, like breed characteristics, should also be considered.

13. Are fertilized eggs safe to eat?

Yes, fertilized eggs are safe to eat and offer the same nutritional value as unfertilized eggs. Fertilized eggs, when collected and stored at the appropriate temperatures, won’t develop into embryos and are perfectly fine to consume.

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