The White Egg Mystery

Who is laying a white egg?

That is the question we have been trying to answer for weeks now. We have tons of younger birds growing up, some of whom will one day lay white eggs. But we currently have only 6 adult hens. Until a few weeks ago, we had 7, including an Andalusian Blue, who laid white eggs. Alas, she managed to strangle herself in a fence one day. And the next day…a white egg. Where no white egg should be.

Our 6 laying hens are: an Easter Egger (blue eggs), a Gold-Laced Wyandotte (medium brown eggs), a Black Wyandotte (ditto), an Olive Egger (olive eggs, natch), a Barred Rock (giant brown eggs), and a Welsummer (speckled chocolate brown eggs). We’ve been reliably getting eggs from each of these hens for months, plus white ones from the Andalusian. So, with the Andalusian gone, what the heck???

At first, I thought it was Sal, the Olive Egger. But that really didn’t make sense. She’s the one who lays ginormous, nearly round, olive green eggs (including The Most Beautiful Egg Ever Laid). We hadn’t gotten an olive egg in a while. But maybe she’s been molting, and anyway it should actually be genetically impossible for a chicken to change egg colors. Especially an Olive Egger, which is a cross between a brown egg layer and a blue egg layer (the olive color comes from adding the brown pigment to the blue shell). And these white eggs are small, about the size of the Wyandottes’. So then we thought, maybe it was Winnie, the Black Wyandotte. We observed Goldie, the Gold-Laced Wyandotte, laying her usual brown ones, so she isn’t the one. Sometimes I call my favorite chick purveyors, and Greenfire Farms, just to ask questions of the helpful chicken experts who work there. The MyPetChicken folks told me it was highly unlikely to be the Olive Egger. Maybe a brown egg layer “whose ‘pigmenter’ was broken”. Winnie, is it you?

I’ve been sort of stalking the laying box, trying to catch whoever it is in the act. But they’re wily layers, sometimes!

Today, I cracked the egg shell mystery. It was Sal! Mary Magdalene, Bari, and one of the Wyandottes had already laid. Lyeta has been reliably laying her chocolate eggs. So the only hens left were Sal or one of the Wyandottes. Sal was in the laying box, and I waited…until I heard the clunk of a chicken ‘gracefully’ exiting the coop – and there it was, hot in my hand, a tiny, pristine whitIMG_4382e, oval egg.


Ah, the ephemera of identity and beauty! This egg is half the size of the giant olive spheres she was laying just two months ago. Is she still an ‘Olive Egger’? Will she lay an olive egg again? And why the change? This is the new mystery. The change does roughly correspond with the arrival of our roosters, and the onset of some pretty vigorous mating in the henhouse. I don’t know how a hen’s ‘pigmenter’ gets broken in the first place. Are olive eggs are only for virgins? Sal, dear Sal, hang in there!

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