Have you ever heard of black chicken eggs or wondered, “What chicken lays black eggs?” After all, white, cream, and brown are the most common colors for chicken eggs. So, what about black-pigmented ones?
The mystery of black chicken eggs has sparked many myths and rumors over the years. A few people even believe eating one of these rare gems will positively affect their health and well-being.
Luckily, this article offers in-depth information on the topic, debunking myths, clarifying misconceptions, and revealing surprising facts about black chicken eggs. So make sure to read all the way until the end!
What Kind of Chickens Lay Black Eggs?
No chicken species, including Ayam Cemani chickens and Kadaknath chickens, lay pitch-black eggs. These fowls are known for their unique dark color, but that doesn’t extend to their egg-laying capabilities.
As a backyard chicken keeper, I eagerly awaited my black Silkie’s first eggs at the beginning of the season. With their black feathers, skin, and organs, I wondered if this chicken breed lays black eggs.
To my surprise, despite their dark appearance, the eggs were not black but white-colored. This experience taught me a valuable lesson: while genetics can create chickens with black builds, it doesn’t result in black eggs.
In fact, the idea of chicken breeds that lay black eggs is often a misconception fueled by misleading marketing. Most of the time, regular chicken eggs are photoshopped to look as black as they are and are used for fraudulent purposes.
Therefore, be wary of any claims you encounter online about black chicken eggs. It is most likely a scam or deceptive advertisement.
All in all, fowls, regardless of their breed or color, just cannot lay black eggs. The natural pigments chickens sport do not result in such a dark shell color.
Does the Ayam Cemani Produce Black Chicken Eggs?
The Ayam Cemani, one of the unique chicken breeds in the world, is known for its striking dark black feathers. However, don’t let this mislead you into expecting beautiful black chicken eggs from it.
It’s important to clarify that their ability to lay black eggs is nonexistent, despite their completely black physical traits.
In truth, the eggs laid by these chickens are not really black, as they produce tan to cream-pigmented ones. This may come as a disappointment to many who were hoping for something more eye-catching.
So, if you’re planning to add a new Ayam Cemani to your chicken coop in hopes of finding black eggs, you might need to adjust your expectations.
While this black chicken breed is undeniably special, the tint of its eggs remains in the range of typical fowl egg colors. Further, it is categorized as a poor layer, producing only around 80 eggs per year.
Watch this video to get a closer look at the Ayam Cemani’s eggs:
The Genetics Behind the Black Chicken Eggs
The color of chicken eggs is not a random occurrence but rather a result of the hen’s genetics. The breed of the hen primarily determines the color of their eggs, as per research conducted by Michigan State University (MSU).
Consider several chicken breeds, for instance. Some fowls lay pink eggs, while others produce blue eggs. Some hens might surprise you with chocolate-colored eggs, whereas others keep it simple with white eggs.
This spectrum of colors is a delightful testament to the diversity in the world of chickens.
However, it’s worth noting that egg color is not the only thing that genes influence in chickens. There’s a genetic component named endothelin 3, or EDN3, which controls skin color, among other traits.
To be specific, EDN3’s role goes beyond the skin, affecting feather coloration and even certain aspects of the chicken’s internal organs. Still, this gene does not impact the color of a chicken’s eggs.
Hence, although the black appearance of certain chicken breeds is genetically controlled, this does not translate into black eggs.
In short, the same genes that control skin color do not directly affect the tint of their eggs. In this regard, never expect black chicken breeds to naturally lay black-colored eggs.
Chicken Breed That Almost Lays Black Chicken Eggs
Even though no poultry breeds lay black chicken eggs, the black copper Maran is a unique exception that comes close. It’s a rare chicken breed known for producing eggs with an unusually dark color.
Specifically, these eggs are a deep chocolate-brown in pigment and, under certain lighting conditions, can appear almost black.
Yet, it’s crucial to remember that these eggs are not black in the truest sense. The deep chocolate-brown color might seem close to black, but a keen eye can discern their actual hue.
To give you an idea, the following is a photo of the egg of a black copper Maran chicken:
As you can see, it definitely does not have a black sheen. However, this egg seems to be darker than most brown eggs you will encounter on the market today.
With this fact in mind, you may have to color your own eggs naturally if you want them to look as dark as possible.
Do Black Chickens Lay Black Eggs?
It’s a common misconception that chickens that lay black eggs exist. However, the truth is no fowl breed, no matter how dark or exotic, can actually lay black eggs.
As a matter of fact, even chickens with entirely black varieties, like the Ayam Cemani, the Silkie, and the H’Mong, can’t produce these popular black eggs as well.
As established, although the Ayam Cemani chicken breed is one of the darkest chickens out there, its eggs do not mirror its dark hue.
Similarly, the black Silkie lays eggs in regular, lighter shades. The feathers, skin, and face of this breed of chicken are also black in color, but this does not extend to its eggs.
The H’Mong chicken, though equally dark, follows this same trend.
For your reference, below is a table of black chicken breeds and their egg coloration:
|Typical Egg Coloration
|Black Jersey Giant
|Tan to cream
|Deep brown to brownish-yellow
|Swedish Black Chicken
|White to cream
|White or lightly tinted
|Cream to dark brown
On top of the table above, we have come up with a comprehensive listing of the egg colors produced by different chicken breeds for your reference. You can view it in this chicken egg colors chart.
So if you’re excited to crack open a black egg only to find typical egg colors in your coop, try not to be disheartened. While the notion of black eggs is intriguing, it’s simply not part of a chicken’s genetic capability.
Black Chicken Eggs of Hakone
Hakone, a region in Japan, is famous for its Kuro-tamago or “magical black eggs.” Despite their exotic black color, these eggs start as ordinary chicken eggs laid by typical hens.
When hens start laying their first eggs, they are the usual color you’d expect — white, brown, or even bluish, depending on the breed. Yet, these eggs undergo a transformation in Hakone.
Specifically, the eggs are boiled in the hot sulfur springs of Owakudani, a natural geothermal area in the region. It’s just the sulfur in these springs that turns the eggshells into a charcoal-black color.
However, it’s crucial to note that while the eggs will be black on the outside, they remain normal on the inside. In other words, the sulfur from the springs does not alter the egg’s interior, which is why the Kuro-tamago is still safe to eat.
Ultimately, the creation of the Kuro-tamago might lead some to believe that chickens may lay black eggs naturally. Still, the black color is not a natural occurrence but the result of a unique cooking process.
Accordingly, any claims of “authentic black chicken eggs” should be suspected of being just fake black chicken eggs.
What Kind of Birds Lay Black Eggs?
Although there aren’t chickens that lay black eggs, some bird species do. One famous example is the Emu, which is a large, flightless bird native to Australia with eggs that stand out for their deep, rich green or black color.
In particular, Emu eggs are sold widely for both their culinary and artistic value, given their unique color and size.
To help you visualize, here is a photo of an Emu egg:
Another bird that’s known to lay black eggs early in the season is the female Cayuga duck. This feathered fellow is notable because of its sometimes-black duck egg.
Below is a photo of a Cayuga duck’s egg:
Yet, you should note that as the laying season progresses, Cayuga duck eggs tend to lighten, often turning white or cream in color.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Black Chicken Eggs Taste Different?
Contrary to some beliefs, chickens that lay pinks, whites, browns, or creams produce eggs that taste the same as any other chicken egg.
Likewise, the sulfur-boiled eggs in the hot spring waters of Hakone, while black in appearance, are still chicken eggs and taste like them too.
Meanwhile, when considering birds that lay black eggs, such as Emus, the flavor of their eggs is somewhat similar to chicken eggs, but the texture can be different.
Why Is My Chicken’s Egg Black?
If you find a black egg in your chicken coop, it’s not a natural occurrence. A black egg chicken may indicate contamination, possibly from fungi or bacteria.
The best thing you can do is to discard this egg and clean your coop to prevent further issues.
How Rare Is a Black Yolk Egg?
A black yolk in a chicken egg is not a symbol of rarity or a unique feature of any breed. Generally speaking, black yolks are more likely to be a sign of spoilage or oxidation, not a natural phenomenon.
Thus, if you crack open a chicken egg and find a black yolk inside, it’s recommended that you not consume the egg; it could be spoiled.
Are Black Chicken Eggs Healthy?
Even if there are no naturally-occurring black chicken eggs, some do appear black due to boiling in sulfur-rich waters, like the Kuro-tamago or magical black eggs in Japan.
It has been noted that such dark-colored eggs are as safe and nutritious to eat as ordinary chicken eggs.
What Bird Lays Large Black Eggs?
When talking about birds that lay large, black-looking eggs, the Emu comes to mind. Its eggs are enormous and display a greenish-black color.
Cayuga ducks lay black eggs as well. However, what they produce is somewhat smaller and lighter in weight than those of an Emu. Further, their black eggs tend to lighten over time.
Feel free to share any additional insights, queries, or experiences related to black chicken eggs in the comments! Also, feel free to ask any questions you may have about these dark-colored eggs.