BLACK COPPER MARANS X AMERAUCANA
BLACK COPPER MARANS X CREAM LEGBAR
BLACK COPPER MARANS X ISBAR
BLACK COPPER MARANS X ARAUCANA
Olive Eggers have become popular in the past few years, because people enjoy Easter Eggers that lay a variety of colored eggs, so adding an olive hue to the other colors means having another color variety. The color of eggs can be altered through a breeding program that crosses a brown egg layer with a blue egg layer or even a brown egg layer with a green egg layer.
What is an Olive Egger
The original Olive egger is a cross, using the Black Copper Marans, which lays the darkest chocolate colored eggs of all the marans breed. Some breeders concentrate their breeding efforts toward producing the darkest eggs and there is an official color scale for judging the color of those eggs. To obtain the olive egg, a dark egg layer must be crossed with a blue egg layer. The most common cross is with the Ameraucana. The chicks that develop will be Olive eggers and those females will lay an egg with an olive hue of varying shades depending on how dark or light the eggs are from the original breeding pair. Any of the Marans or other dark egg layers will produce olive eggers when crossed with a blue or green egg layer.
Depending on the color of olive eggs you may desire, it is possible to breed any brown egg layer with any blue egg layer. The lighter the brown egg the lighter the olive hue. The darker the brown egg and darker the blue egg, the darker the olive hue.
Some examples of common breeds that can be crossed to produce olive eggs would be Crossing a Silver Laced Wyandotte with an Ameraucana. The offspring will take on some of the traits of each parent. The chicks may have the coloration of a Silver Laced Wyandotte but have the muffs, beard and pea comb of the Ameraucana. The pure French Black Copper Marans have feathered shanks, so when they are used to cross with an Ameraucana, the resulting offspring may have feathered legs, muffs and beards and often a pea comb.
The specific breeding formula for the original Olive Egger cross is a Black Copper Marans Rooster over an Ameraucana Hen. The rooster genes determine the color of the egg, not the hens genes. Which is why it is very specific to use a rooster from a brown egg laying breed. The reverse will produce an Easter Egger or what is commonly known as a crossed breed, and may or may not produce offspring that will lay an olive colored egg. Most often the color egg the offspring will lay will be the color egg or shade of the color egg that the rooster comes from.
Other Olive Egger Formulas
A cross that is becoming increasingly as popular as the original Olive Egger is a Cross between the Black Copper Marans and the Cream Legbar. The Cream Legbar typically lays an even bluer egg than the Ameraucana, so those offspring will lay a different Olive hue from the Marans X Ameraucana offspring. Those chicks may hatch bearing feathered legs, and barred feathering.
Another less common cross for olive eggers is a Black Copper Marans X Araucana. The Araucana lays a blue egg and those offspring may have feather legs, ear tufts, and be tailless. I see fewer of these crosses, however they do exist and do produce an olive colored egg.
Crossing a brown egg layer to an Easter Egger that lays varying shades of green eggs, will also produce olive colored eggs in varying shades, and one of the best green egg laying breeds is the Isbar. Crossing a Marans with an Isbar will produce another shade of olive green.
What do the offspring look like
Regardless of the crosses you use, the rooster must be the Marans and the hen must be the blue egg layer. Or your rooster must be the brown egg layer and your hen the blue or green egg layer. The appearance of the offspring will vary depending on the breeds used and it's possible that no two chicks will look alike. Some may have feathered shanks, some may or may not have beards, muffs, tufts, tailless or pea combs. Dominant genes will be in play regardless of the crosses. Some of the cutest chicks are the crosses and the fun part is you never know what they will look like until they hatch and as they change through the growing processes. The adult olive eggers are some of the prettiest chickens we've seen.
Pure remains Pure
The breeding does not alter the breeding pair, the blue egg layer will continue to lay blue eggs and if bred to her own breed will produce pure offspring, but be sure to allow 30 days when she is returned to her own breed before expecting her to produce pure offspring, up until 30 days, all eggs she will lay may still carry the brown egg layer fertilization. If you have a flock of Marans and introduce a blue egg layer, you will always know which ones are her eggs, so you won't have to be concerned that your pure breed Marans are being altered.
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Robert B: You can't breed olive egger roo to olive egger hen to make an olive egger can you. the traits won't come through will they?
JFA ANSWER: The breeding is very specific. For a true Olive Egger it is a Black Copper Marans Rooster X Ameraucana Hen. The rooster determines the color of the egg. For other shades of olive, you can breed a brown laying rooster breed X a blue or green laying egg Hen. If you breed olive egger to olive egger, each generation the egg will become lighter as it looses the intensity. An olive egger roo X a blue or green laying hen will offer a better option to maintaining an olive shade. By breeding olive egger to olive egger you may also lose the hybrid vigor that was gained from crossing the two breeds, which is the best of both breed traits. If you want the darkest eggs stick with the Marans X AM or the Marans X Cream Legbar.