Chicken Breeds Selection for a Rainbow Egg Basket

Posted by Laura Hepburn, Mon, Jan 20, 2014; updated Wed, June 22, 2023

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing breeds for your flock, but most prospective and current chicken owners have one thing on the brain: EGGS.

Sure, egg production is a major factor, but it’s no surprise that egg color has eclipsed many other considerations as people choose their breeds. Similar to how a coach chooses a lineup, backyard chicken enthusiasts are now strategically outlining their flock to ensure a diverse egg basket filled with as many colors from the eggshell rainbow as possible.

To make your job a little easier, we have outlined the key color categories and a few of the most popular breeds that deliver them!

White Eggs

Some people might shy away from white egg layers, having been exposed to white eggs their entire lives and seeking something more “exciting”; however, don’t let this happen to you!

Sure, a dozen white eggs might be boring. When you have a dozen different-colored eggs, though? That white egg will pop and add an important element to your egg basket. 


Widely used in production operations, it’s time to give Leghorns some love. They are great producers of large white eggs, come in a few different color variations and deserve the same spoiled lifestyle as more common backyard breeds. They don’t tolerate the cold very well, though, so take that into consideration.


They’re smaller, true, which means their eggs aren’t as large as a Leghorn’s, but many find their 3- to 4-pound size charming! Available as Golden Lakenvelders or Silver Lakenvelders, their color pattern is exciting and their eggs usually vary from white to tinted. 


Everyone knows about Polish chickens—they’re the ones with the fashion-forward headdress. Available in a wide assortment of colors and patterns, Polish chickens are unique-looking birds that lay small white eggs. They may not be what we would call “superstar producers,” but they make for a fun addition to any flock.

Cream Eggs

Somewhere between the common white and the increasingly common brown lie cream-colored eggs. If you are looking to have a rainbow egg basket, you won’t want to forget this category! 


While some Wyandottes lay eggs that are slightly on the “brown” side, most lay delightful cream-colored eggs. Moreover, they are fantastic producers and come in some very exciting color patterns such as Silver Laced, Golden Laced, or Blue Laced Red.


Do we even need to describe these beauties? They’re sweet, soft, adorable and great mothers. Sure, they’re bantams and therefore lay small eggs, but they lay often!

Chickens for Brown Eggs

Classic. Most backyard flock owners have at least one hen that lays brown eggs. Not only are they a keystone in your rainbow egg basket, but there are plenty of fantastic breeds that produce high numbers of large eggs. 

Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Red hens are one of the top egg producers, with beautiful mahogany or rust-color plumage.

Plymouth Rock

Great egg producers that come in a wide array of colors and patterns.


Large, friendly hens that lay light brown eggs. Their feathers are all black, but have a lovely green shimmer.


Related to the Australorps, they have many of the same desirable characteristics but are available in numerous color options, with the most popular being “buff.”

Breeds for Chocolate or Dark Brown Eggs

This is one of the egg colors that gets people extra excited. Few things “pop” in a dozen eggs like a deep, dark, mahogany-colored beauty. We especially like to set these next to a cream or white egg for extra contrast!

Black Copper Maran

Any variety of Maran will lay a dark brown egg, but you have to give special props to the Black Coppers as they always manage to have the deepest and darkest of the bunch.


While their eggs might not be quite as dark as those of the Black Copper Maran, Welsummers are known to commonly lay dark, speckled eggs. Don’t forget that part of the appeal of a diverse egg basket will be fun touches like eggs with speckles!


These aren’t ideal if you live somewhere cold, as they are a Mediterranean breed. If you have the climate for them, they are beautiful birds that lay dark brown eggs.

Chickens That Lay Blue Eggs

In recent years, chocolate- and blue-colored eggs have become the talk of the town—not to mention how fun it is to show your neighbors blue chicken eggs for the first time! This is a must-have color in your egg basket.

“Easter Egger”

A mixed-breed chicken that comes in an endless variety of colors and patterns. Friendly, assertive and comical, these are a backyard flock favorite. Be aware, though, that not every Easter Egger will lay blue eggs. Some will lay green or light brown eggs.


Ameraucanas share the personality characteristics of Easter Eggers, but come in fewer, more strict color varieties and are guaranteed to lay blue eggs.

Our warning here is that many hatcheries, online shops and feed stores often mislabel Easter Eggers as Ameraucanas, so be confident in your source to be sure.


Another guaranteed blue egg layer. These birds are rumpless (i.e., they don’t have tails) and have delightful muffs on the sides of their faces.

Chickens for Green Eggs

The last, but not the least important! Green eggs are just as fun and essential nowadays as blue.

“Easter Egger

While most Easter Eggers used to lay blue eggs, more and more are laying green ones these days.

“Olive Egger”

A new twist on Easter Eggers, Olive Eggers are the result of crossing blue egg–laying chickens with dark brown egg–laying breeds. These hens lay gorgeous olive green eggs!


Choosing Chicken Breeds for Your Rainbow Egg Basket

Download our easy-to-use guide to chicken breeds and their egg colors below. For more fun info on backyard chicken ownership and how to build your perfect flock, check out our Starter Guide for Backyard Chickens!

Download our complete Chicken Breed chart here