Sunday, May 20, 2012

Colors and Patterns on Eggs... Did you know?

Easter isn't the only time for colorful eggs.
Eggs come in different colors based on the genetics of the bird.  Most chicken eggs that we see at the grocery store are white or brown, but eggs come in all sorts of colors and patterns.
Chickens with white ear lobes lay white eggs.  Most of the time, chickens with red earlobes lay brown eggs.
Scientists believe that there was a time when all chicken eggs were brown.  White eggs were created when chickens were bred to lay light colored eggs.

Many other birds have white eggs -- (woodpeckers, ducks, hawks, owls, hummingbirds) and the egg color is affected by the lack of pigments produced by the food they eat.  Pigment glands are found in the oviducts and mark the eggs as the egg passes through.  If if moves quickly through the oviduct it causes streaking and slower movement causes spotting on eggs.  The larger end of the egg actually passes through first and usually results in the most streaking.

Other birds (bluebirds and thrushes) produce blue eggs, when the female bird is healthy.  The egg actually turns blue in the last 5 hours before the egg is laid!

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