Half the fun of raising your flock of chickens is getting to know the different breeds with their various temperaments, habits, and, of course, eggs!
Chicken eggs come in a nearly endless variety of colors, from blue and green to brown and white; some are even speckled!
Looking to add speckled egg layers to your flock?
Welsummers, Marans, and Penedesenca chickens lay beautiful, speckled eggs. These birds all lay brown eggs with darker spots on them. Marans and Penedesencas lay dark chocolate-colored eggs with even darker speckles, while Welsummer and Sussex birds lay lighter ones.
If you’re thinking about adding some of these layers to your backyard flock, you’ll want to know which of them is the best fit for your coop.
Learn more about speckled eggs and the birds who lay them!
What Causes Speckled Eggs?
As with the other additions to your rainbow egg basket, a hen with the right genetic makeup will produce speckled eggs.
The genetic mutation for laying these eggs is most common in the chicken breeds we listed.
Even those chickens, though, won’t be producing speckled eggs every single time they lay.
Their egg color will be pretty consistent, but the pattern on the shell won’t always be there.
These are simply the breeds that most commonly lay eggs with speckles.
Are Speckled Eggs Safe to Eat?
These eggs are safe to eat!
They are no different from other eggs aside from the appearance of the eggshell.
The yolks and taste of these eggs are similar to those of any other.
Speckled vs. Bumpy Eggs
It’s important to recognize the difference between a lovely, speckled egg and a roughly textured bumpy one.
Eggs with speckles are smooth, just like plain green or brown eggs.
If your flock of backyard chickens is laying many abnormally shaped eggs with rough patches on them, this is completely from a speckled egg.
These bumps or sandy patches are called calcium deposits.
Sometimes, these are caused by excess calcium in your birds’ diet.
Other times, calcium deposits happen because of thunderstorms, predators, or other disturbances to your birdy’s egg-laying process.
Related: Do thunderstorms affect chicken eggs?
You rarely need to be concerned about this.
But it’s still good to know the difference between an egg with speckles and one with excess calcium.
Also, consult with a veterinarian if you notice irregularities in your hens’ eggs.
Sometimes these abnormalities are the result of flock stress or illness.
Speckled Egg Layers
There are more important factors than having a mixed basket of eggs.
Having a healthy flock of beautiful and friendly birds is highly important!
We want to always keep birds who get along well.
If you have aggressive birds at the top of your coop’s pecking order and docile birds at the bottom, you will probably see a lot of fighting and bullying.
Let’s take a look at each of these known speckled egg layers.
Then, choose the chickens who will be safe and comfortable if they join your flock!
Welsummer chickens were our first introduction to speckled eggs, and the discovery was a big surprise!
We raised them because of their friendly nature.
They are perfect birds to keep around children.
They also endured the cold New England winters very well.
And, of course, these beautiful birds laid equally beautiful eggs!
Welsummers are relatively inexpensive (averaging about $4-5 per chick) and widely available.
If you live in a colder climate and are looking for a calm chicken, these guys are for you!
Marans originated in France, hence the possibly unexpected pronunciation of their name (Muh-rahn), including the silent ‘s’!
These birdies come in various colors, including the well-loved cuckoo, black copper, and blue copper Marans.
Some varieties of the Marans even have feathered legs.
They’re on the larger side but are generally very friendly hens.
Marans aren’t likely to get aggressive with the other members of your flock.
They don’t withstand cold very well, so they may not be for you if you live in a place with harsh winters.
When you purchase Marans chicks from a reputable hatchery, they cost about $5-6.
Related: Maran chicken characteristics
Penedesenca chickens have a great heat tolerance, making them the right birds to raise in warmer climates.
If you have a lot of space for them to roam, they are extremely active and awesome foragers.
They have a flightier temperament and aren’t so good around people.
They may behave more aggressively toward the other birds in your coop too.
When adding these beautiful birds to your backyard flock, ensure they have room to explore.
They do best in a free-range environment.
A Misconception About Speckled Eggs
Just as with green, white, and brown eggs, the pigmentation of speckled eggs is unrelated to the color of a chicken’s feathers.
A Speckled Sussex chicken, for example, does not lay eggs with spots on them like a Welsummer does.
Speckled chickens are lovely birds, and they’re great if you’re working on building a happy, multi-colored, multi-breed flock.
But if you’re looking for chickens who lay differently patterned and colored eggs, don’t look for chickens with spotted feathers.
Look for the ones we’ve described for you above.
Related: Sussex Chicken Egg Guide and FAQ
Other Cool Egg Colors
If you’re tired of white and brown eggshells and want to bring in a rainbow egg basket every morning, here are some of our favorite layers.
- Araucana chickens lay lovely blue-green eggs.
- Americana chickens lay light green eggs.
- Isbars are well-liked chickens who lay green eggs.
- Welsummers and Marans lay very dark brown* eggs.
- Brown egg layers like Plymouth Rocks and Silkies sometimes lay pretty pink-tinted eggs.
*Read more about chicken breeds with dark brown eggs in our article here.
Again, you need to look into every bird’s temperament before buying any.
Safety and comfort should always come first in your chicken coop.
Don’t get birds who are likely to bully one another simply because you like the shade of their eggs.
Have fun getting to know the chickens laying those beautiful eggs for you!
Further Reading: Chickens with black eggs?