Purple chicken eggs have long been a subject of curiosity and debate. Some enthusiasts believe that they are only a myth. Meanwhile, others argue that such an unusual egg color does, in fact, exist in nature.
Of course, just like green, pink, and blue eggs have left many amazed, the concept of purple chicken eggs can be fascinating. However, do they really exist?
In this article, you will find out whether or not purple-tinted chicken eggs are real. You will also know if this unusual hue is caused by genetics, diet, or some other factor entirely. Let’s get started!
Are There Chickens That Lay True Purple Eggs?
Purple chicken eggs have intrigued many, but here’s the truth: no chickens lay genuine purple eggs. Instead, a bloom created by a hen envelops the shell, which can make it look as though it has a purple hue. Wash it off, and you’ll see that the exterior is actually tan, cream, or brown underneath.
Generally speaking, while it is possible for some chicken breeds to produce blue, green, or pink-pigmented eggs, there aren’t any that lay true purple eggs.
It should be noted, however, that there are some instances when a pullet or hen’s egg will appear purple when it is first laid. This is due to the presence of a protective layer called bloom, which can be removed by washing.
Primarily, brown layers are the culprits behind these seemingly purple-colored eggs.
In this video, you can see how a purplish chicken egg turns brown once its bloom is washed off:
What Is a Bloom and Its Influence on Purple Eggs
Often called the cuticula or cuticle, the bloom acts as a protective shield for freshly laid eggs. This moist layer semi-seals the eggshell’s numerous pores, about 7,000, which helps prevent bacteria from entering.
When examined under a microscope, this egg bloom appears crystalline, crafted from a mix of lipids, proteins, glycoproteins, and calcium carbonate.
On a different note, this natural protective mechanism kicks in as the chicken readies an egg for laying. Specifically, a thin film of albumen reacts with the eggshell’s calcium carbonate to create this safeguarding coat.
This interaction happens roughly 30 to 60 minutes before the chicken lays the egg. Subtle lines on the shell, often referred to as “fingerprints,” signify its presence.
As for the mysterious purple hue, it’s all about the thickness of the cuticula.
During our farm visits, I frequently noticed an oddity: some brown eggs had a distinct purple hue. Curiosity led to research, and it was revealed that the thick bloom from brown layers caused this illusion.
Debunking Myths: Are There Truly Purple Eggs?
As established, chickens do not produce purple eggs by nature. However, there is a rare species of bird often mistaken for chickens that do: Chilean tinamous.
For your reference, the following photo shows a Chilean tinamou:
Exclusively found in Chile, these birds are known for their remarkable egg colors. From bright blue-green and chocolate brown to the talked-about purple and even light pink, their eggs shimmer with a glossy finish.
The Reality: What Chickens Lay Eggs With a Purple Bloom?
Naturally, the bloom on chicken eggs is clear-colored. However, certain breeds generate a thicker bloom that can modify their eggshell’s appearance.
Below are breeds of chickens that lay eggs with a dense bloom:
- Marans: Developed in France, Marans chickens sometimes produce chocolate-brown eggs with a more pronounced bloom that might give a purplish tint.
- Easter Egger: Easter Egger eggs come in varied shades, and a thick bloom can make some appear purple.
- Croad Langshan: Originating from China, Croad Langshan chickens can lay dark brown eggs with a bloom that hints at a pinkish or purplish shade.
- Welsummer: Renowned for their exceptional productivity, a thick bloom on Welsummers’ terracotta-colored eggs can occasionally give a purple semblance.
As the above list shows, even if no chicken produces actual purple eggs, certain breeds, with their unique bloom, can trick the eye of their owners into thinking they do.
Factors Influencing the Purple Shade of Eggs
Chicken eggs cannot naturally be purple, but several factors can influence their hue to make them appear purplish. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Bloom presence: The thickness and consistency of the protective bloom can cause chicken eggs to look purple.
- Diet and nutrition: What your chickens eat can affect their bloom’s shade and their eggshell’s underlying tint.
- Stress: Environmental stressors can modify egg color by influencing bloom production and texture.
- Eggshell base color: Chicken eggs with a brown color, especially tans, creams, apricots, and chocolates, can appear purple when coated with a thick cuticula.
- Age: As pullets or young hens mature, the consistency and coloring of their egg bloom can evolve.
- Health issues: Illnesses like infectious bronchitis can cause the cuticle of your chickens’ eggs to become purple.
- External contaminants: Dirt, feed residues, or other contaminants can momentarily alter the egg’s hue. Thus, make sure your chickens’ nesting boxes are always clean and dry.
Based on the list above, while true purple chicken eggs remain a myth, various factors — from age to the environment — can cause a particular egg to turn purplish.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Rarest Color of a Chicken Egg?
Green chicken eggs are the rarest since only a few breeds can lay them. These breeds include the Favaucanas, Sage Gems, and Easter Eggers — all of which are just new in the poultry scene.
What Chickens Lay Colored Eggs?
All eggs begin as white. However, chicken breeds like the Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Welsummer, Marans, and Easter Egger have the ability to release pigments into their eggshell and create colored eggs.
What Can You Feed Chickens to Get Purple Eggs?
The purple hue stems from your chickens’ egg bloom, not food. In other words, feeding your feathered friends specific meals won’t yield purple eggs; their genetic makeup determines it.
Why Does My Chicken Egg Have Purple Spots?
Purple spots on chicken eggs are a natural occurrence. These spots are often caused by a blood vessel rupture either while the yolk is forming or while it’s traveling through the hen’s oviduct.
As revealed, no chicken lays a genuinely purple egg. Rather, the purple appearance is often attributed to the egg bloom’s thickness, particularly with breeds like the Welsummer, Marans, and Easter Egger.
To be specific, this bloom, also called cuticula, can give chicken eggs a purple hue when combined with brown shells. However, note that this unusual coloration is not permanent; it can be washed off.
This discovery aside, the Chilean tinamou, an entirely different bird, lays eggs with pigments leaning towards purple. Hence, if you want to see some truly purple eggs for yourself, look for this breed of tinamou instead.
Hopefully, this article has provided clarity about whether or not purple chicken eggs are real. If you have further questions regarding this topic, feel free to let us know in the comments below!