Olive Eggers: The Game-Changing Chickens You Need in Your Flock

Imagine opening your chicken coop to find a treasure trove of olive green eggs nestled in the straw. This isn’t a fairy tale but a reality for those who raise Olive Egger chickens. 

These unique birds, known for their friendly nature and captivating egg colors, are a delightful addition to any backyard flock. 

We’ll delve into the world of Olive Eggers, exploring their characteristics, care needs, and the joy they bring to poultry enthusiasts. If you’re intrigued by the idea of collecting olive green eggs and having a charming, docile bird as a pet, these chickens might be the perfect family addition.

Understanding Olive Egger Chickens: More Than Just a Pretty Egg

An Olive Egger chicken is a cross or hybrid of two different chicken breeds and is not an officially recognized breed by the American Poultry Association. They result from crossing a male chicken with dark brown eggs with a female blue egg layer, creating a chicken with olive green eggs. 

While their appearance can vary due to their diverse parentage, this hybrid is generally known for its friendly and docile nature, making them great additions to any flock, whether for their charming personalities or the novelty of their beautiful, one-of-a-kind olive eggs.

The Breeds That Make These Chickens

Common breeds for making Olive Egger chickens include the following:

  • Ameraucanas
  • Barnevelder
  • Cream Legbar
  • Maran
  • Welsummer
  • Whiting True Blue

These chickens are usually gray or black and sometimes have truly unique color patterns, depending on their parent breeds. 

Some chicken breeds, including Ameraucana, Aruacanas, and Favaucana, occasionally lay green eggs, but they are not true Olive Egger chickens.

Appearance

Due to their mixed heritage, these chickens display charming appearances. These delightful birds can exhibit a variety of feather colors, including shades of light to dark brown, black, gray, or blue. 

Some may have speckles or striping, adding to their unique and eye-catching appearance. 

Their physical features, such as comb type and leg color, can also vary depending on the parent breeds involved in the cross.

The unpredictable combination of characteristics from their Marans and Ameraucana or Easter Egger parents makes each one a delightful surprise, with no two birds looking exactly alike. 

Despite their diverse appearances, they share an endearing and docile disposition that further adds to their appeal as a beloved addition to any flock.

The Pros and cons

One of Olive Eggers’ main attractions is their olive, sage, or khaki green eggs, which add a touch of novelty and can be a conversation starter. 

They are also friendly and docile, making them excellent pets, especially for families with children. Their adaptability to various climates and generally hardy constitution is another advantage, as they can thrive in cold and hot weather.

Olive Eggers are not recognized as a standardized breed, which means their appearance and egg-laying abilities can vary significantly depending on the parent breeds. Additionally, obtaining purebred Olive Eggers can be challenging, as some hatcheries may not offer them and may be harder to find. 

Despite these drawbacks, many chicken keepers find these chickens’ allure and unique qualities well worth the effort, making them a delightful and rewarding addition to any flock.

Egg Laying Abilities

basket of eggs from an olive egger chicken

Olive Eggers are active chickens that produce anywhere from 180 to 200 medium to large eggs annually. They may not predictably lay like purebred chickens, but one can expect an egg about 3 times per week. 

For comparison, purebred chickens tend to lay an egg about once every 24 hours. They are also very hardy to both heat and cold and will continue to lay eggs during winter when many other breeds do not.

The Color of Their Eggs

olive egger chicken egg

As mentioned earlier, they lay olive green eggs, and there are variations in their eggs’ appearance. Some hens may lay a blue egg covered in a brown pigment, giving it a green appearance. 

Their eggs may be dark green or light green, and rarely, they may lay brown or blue eggs. 

The olive, khaki, or sage green eggs they lay add a touch of novelty to egg cartons and baskets and make great conversation starters. These eggs are not only eye-catching but also delicious and nutritious, providing a wholesome addition to any diet.

At What Age Do Olive Eggers Start Laying Eggs?

Most chickens start laying eggs at about 5-6 months of age, and the same can be said for Olive Eggers. This may vary slightly depending on individual birds and their development. 

Finding the first olive-colored egg is an exciting time, and ensuring they have a comfortable and secure nesting area in their coop is essential. 

Soft bedding and security will encourage egg-laying as these things help them feel relaxed. Like most purebred chickens, their highest egg production occurs during the first 3 years of their lifetime.

Do They Lay Eggs in Winter?

As with any chicken breed, ensuring access to fresh water, a well-insulated coop, and protection from harsh winds will help Olive Eggers stay comfortable and healthy throughout winter. 

With proper attention to their needs, these chickens can thrive in colder climates and continue to lay eggs even during the cooler seasons.

Do Olive Egger Chickens Get Broody?

One desirable quality of the Olive Egger chicken is that broodiness does not always occur with the hens. Broodiness refers to a hen’s instinct to sit on and protect a clutch of eggs from hatching them into chicks. 

Since Olive Eggers are hybrid chickens, their broodiness traits may vary depending on the genetics inherited from their parent breeds, such as the Marans and Ameraucanas or Easter Eggers. Some individual Olive Eggers may exhibit broody behavior, while others may not show this inclination at all.

For those interested in hatching eggs, it’s essential to monitor your flock closely and observe any hen that displays nesting behaviors or a tendency to stay on the eggs for extended periods. 

If broodiness is desired, consider selecting breeds known for this characteristic or using a broody hen from another breed to raise Olive Egger chicks successfully.

Temperament and Behavior: Friendly Feathers in Your Flock

closeup of olive egger chicken

Olive Egger chickens’ temperament depends mainly on their parents. Parents with good dispositions are likely to have offspring with good dispositions. These chickens tend to be docile and friendly but may be shy occasionally. 

They are generally tolerant of human interaction, and spending time with them can help foster a trusting relationship. 

Hand-feed them treats, handle them gently, and visit with them regularly.

Do They Make A Good Pet?

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced chicken keeper, this chicken makes an excellent pet. Because they are friendly and docile, they can be tamed and enjoy human interaction. 

Their amiable personalities make them great additions to a family flock, especially if you have children or want a chicken that is easy to handle. 

With proper care and attention, these hybrid chickens can become affectionate and entertaining companions, making them a delightful choice for anyone. 

Just remember, like any pet, chickens are a commitment and need a suitable environment to thrive and be healthy.

Are They Noisy?

Olive Egger chickens are still chickens, making the typical noises that one might expect. They chatter with their coop mates, but not loudly. Their calm and gentle demeanor translates to quieter behavior than other chickens after laying an egg. 

This makes them ideal for keeping in a backyard as they are less likely to disturb the neighbors or create noise-related issues. Remember that personalities vary between chickens; some may be more vocal than others. 

Caring for Olive Egger Chickens: Happy Chickens, Happy Life

Caring for Olive Egger chickens involves providing the same basic care requirements as any other chicken breed and some considerations specific to their needs. 

First and foremost, ensure they have a secure and predator-proof coop with adequate space for roosting and nesting boxes for laying eggs. They should have a well-balanced diet consisting of high-quality commercial chicken feed supplemented with kitchen scraps, grains, and vegetables. 

Access to fresh and clean water is always essential.

Regularly clean and maintain the coop to promote good hygiene and prevent the spread of diseases. 

As social and docile birds, Olive Eggers benefit from human interaction, so spend time with them, hand-feed treats, and handle them gently to foster a friendly and trusting relationship. 

Monitor their health regularly and seek veterinary care if any issues arise. Providing proper housing, nutrition, and attention to their well-being ensures that your chickens lead happy and healthy lives in your care.

Size

Olive Egger hens generally weigh about 5.5 pounds, and roosters are about 6.5 pounds. They will need about 4 square feet each in terms of coop size. They are generally hardy and adapt well to various climates, but proper care is essential for their well-being. 

Ensure their coop is secure and predator-proof, with ample space for roosting and nesting boxes for laying eggs. Keep the coop clean and well-maintained to prevent disease and keep your chickens healthy.

Diet

A balanced diet is crucial for the optimal growth and egg-laying abilities of Olive Eggers. Provide them with high-quality commercial chicken feed that meets their needs during each growth phase:

  • Grower chick starter crumbles through 16 weeks
  • Transition to layer feed pellets after week 16

Layer feed should contain calcium, which is crucial for strong eggshells. Supplement occasionally with kitchen scraps (no uncooked potato or onion), grains, and treats. 

Always have fresh water available that is not too warm and monitor their food intake and adjust to prevent wastage.

Cold Hardiness

Olive Egger chickens are generally cold hardy and can handle colder climates well. Their cold tolerance can be attributed to the parent breeds involved in the cross, such as the Marans, which are known for their ability to thrive in colder regions. 

Additionally, their dense feathering and small combs and wattles help protect them from frostbite during chilly weather. However, providing adequate shelter, insulation, and proper care during frigid temperatures is essential to ensure their well-being.

Lifespan

On average, Olive Egger chickens can be expected to live about 8 years. This depends on living conditions, quality of care, and overall health. 

Health Issues

Like any other breed, these chickens may encounter some common issues that chicken keepers should be aware of. One potential concern is egg-laying problems, especially during their first few months of laying. 

Some hens may experience difficulties laying their first eggs or encounter issues with egg binding, which requires immediate veterinary attention.

Like other chicken breeds, they can be susceptible to external parasites like mites and lice and respiratory infections in overcrowded or poorly ventilated coops. 

Proper hygiene and regular health checks can help mitigate these issues. 

I recommend incorporating diatomaceous earth in the coop to help prevent problems with mites and other insects.

By providing proper care, a suitable living environment, and promptly addressing any health concerns, chicken keepers can ensure that their Olive Eggers lead healthy and happy lives as valued members of their flock.

Where Can I Get Olive Egger Chickens?

Finding Olive Egger chickens can be achieved through various sources. Searching for local hatcheries or poultry breeders specializing in hybrid chicken breeds is a good starting point. One of my favorites is the Saphirre olive egger. 

Many hatcheries offer Olive Egger chicks or started pullets for sale, especially during the spring and early summer when chicks are in high demand. Additionally, you can explore online poultry marketplaces, where breeders and backyard chicken enthusiasts often advertise these chickens for sale. 

Social media groups and forums dedicated to poultry keeping may also help connect with sellers or breeders in your region.

When acquiring these chickens, it is essential to choose reputable sources that prioritize the health and well-being of their birds. Look for breeders who maintain clean and ethical breeding practices, as this will ensure you receive healthy and genetically sound chickens for your flock.

Final Thoughts

Bringing Olive Egger chickens into your flock can be a rewarding experience. These charming birds offer a great deal, from their delightful personalities to their olive-colored eggs. 

By providing them with a safe and nurturing environment, you’ll enjoy what they bring to your farm or backyard and savor the delicious, one-of-a-kind eggs they produce.

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.