Chicken eggs have a protective coating on them when laid. It often dries a different color, and can be washed off! In the video below you can watch the bloom dry as a whitish coating. Towards the end, I also show a different dark brown egg with the top layer of brown color which can be easily scratched off. That’s a different pigment layer and not the same as the bloom/cuticle, but it also interesting to see!
Egg color depends on many factors, but the three main categories are: 1) Shell color, which can be either white or some shade of blue. 2) Outer shell pigment, which comes in various shades of brown and might be composed of multiple layers. (The top layer of brown pigment is what’s being scratched off towards the end of the video.) A brown egg has that color on the outside, but the inner eggshell will still be white. A blue egg is due to the shell color, so the inside is also blue. Green eggs are produced by a combination of brown pigment over a blue shell. 3) Bloom (aka “cuticle”), which is a protective coating that chickens apply to an egg just before it’s laid. It dries up almost immediately, and seals the pores of the eggs to prevent bacteria from getting into them. The bloom might dry clear, or white, or even pinkish purple. It washes off easily, and once it’s gone the egg is no longer sealed against bacteria – that’s why washed eggs have to be refrigerated!
Some breeds add more layers of brown pigment for an extra dark egg – the dark reddish brown egg in this video was from Buffy, who is a Welsummer that just started laying a few weeks ago. Some of her eggs have a gorgeous speckled pattern which I’ll add to a different video. Breeds that lay very dark eggs tend to run low on pigment after a while… kind of like a printer that’s low on ink. They usually reset after a rest period in the winter, and go back to laying very dark eggs when they start back up in spring. The gray egg pictured on the plate is from one of my Cayuga Ducks – their eggshell is white, but the outer coating starts out very dark gray early in the laying season. Please share your favorite egg color and any questions you may have in the comments, and Subscribe to Our Youtube Channel to see more videos – I’m working on one that shows and explains all the different egg colors and patterns in much more closeup detail!