Dark Egg Question

nelda1234February 20, 2009

When you have Marans or Welsummers-Do they start out laying very dark eggs and then the older they get do the shells of the eggs get lighter? or is it the other way around? Someone ask me this same question and I was not sure which way it went...........Does anyone know?

Thank You,


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Brown shells will fade with time. I posted about shell colors a year or maybe 2 years ago , can touch on it again if anyone is interested interested.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 12:02PM
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Hi fancifowl- yes please if you would not mind. My friend bid on ebay for 6 copper maran eggs for $36-she won the bid and received 11 copper maran eggs she is now incubating them - started them on Wednesday! I have ordered Welsummers to come the middle of March and am also interested in the whys and how comes'!(LOL) of the change in egg shell color-and is there anyway to prevent this from happening.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 1:07PM
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There is no practical way to keep them dark.

Simplified explanation of egg shell colors:
color is result 2 genes, blue and brown(there are many more than 2 actually). The white shell resultas in the absence of these genes.
Brown shells:
Eggs shells are white . ooporphryn, the brown pigment, is deposited over the white shell, it can be removed by washing and is not present thruought the shell. It is a result of hemoglobin metabolism. There are rare cases of a totally brown shell. As lay proceeeds the pigment seems to be less available for deposit. brown is dominant over white.

Blue shells;
the blue pigment is called oocyanian and it is a byproduct of bile formation, it is present thruought the shell, not only a coating.The blue is dominant over white.

When genes for both the brown and the green are present green shell color is apparent. Even white shelled eggs have differing intensities of white.

There are probably over 13 genes & modifier genes responsible for egg shell color. Shell color is not as well understood as amny other genetic traits in the fowl. I had a chemistry professor friend who experimented with shell color. he tried to create a stronger egg shell for the commercial egg market. I lost contact with him and dont know what resulted from his experiments. he is the only person i know who managed to produce a solid brown shell. I posted on all the poultry forums trying to identify another but to no avail. I dont mess with it anymore. but it is kind of interesting.

There may be a couple of other posters here with some poultry genetics experience on this forum.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 2:21PM
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Thanks that is great information! I will pass it along. To bad you lost touch with him-It would have been nice to know what the outcome of his experiment was. So is the pigment kinda like the amount of eggs a woman/hen has-time slows everything down?



    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 2:55PM
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Well, there is and has been a lot of debate. Some think the warmer the climate, the more available sun, reasults in darker shells?? Some think feeding for color is possible?? I dont know and only specul;ate that the rate of metabolism slows as the term of lay proceeds. The next period of lay the shells will again be dark and lighten with time. It seems to be a constant job to select for the darkest shells in breeding. When a dark egg breed is crossed for whatever reason its hard to regain that good dark color.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 3:08PM
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OK that helps put it all together much better-makes more since to me now-but how in the world would you be able to feed for color??? I don't know how that would be possible. LOL-boy that would be fun to experiment with that! I wonder how you would even begin?

Thanks a bunch fancifowl:))


    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 4:26PM
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