Egg Yolk and Color Chart – Good and Bad Yolk Colors

Ever wondered about egg yolk color? Wondering what a bad egg yolk color is? Well, read on. We have a ton of information packed onto this page for you!

Egg Yolk Color Chart

As you can see in the egg yolk color chart bellow, the egg color tends to vary from yellow to orange to shades of red yolk. Not completely red, just yellow with a reddish hue added to it. As long as the eggs have a yolk that is somewhat yellow, then you pretty much have a healthy chicken egg.

There is no real best egg yolk color here. It just needs to be along the lines of being yellow. This way you know that the egg that your chicken has produced is on the healthy side.

Egg Yolk Color Chart
Egg Yolk Color Chart – Source DSM Nutritional Products

Did you know that the ‘preferred’ egg color differs depending on where you are? Areas have become so accustomed to certain shades of egg yolk, that farmers put a massive amount of effort into ensuring that egg color remains consistent. In fact, studies have been carried out on what the best egg yolk color is.

A study made by DCM (the company who has invented the egg yolk color chart/fan above) shows that people from different countries mainly prefer egg yolk colors ranging from number 12 or above.

You probably already have your own preference already.

What Makes an Egg Yolk Yellow?

Egg yolk comes from a compound called Xanthophylls. This is a compound that can be found in grasses and plants. The more plants and grass a chicken eats, the more yellow their eggs will be due to the increased Xanthophylls that they are consuming.

This is why you will often find that free-range chickens tend to have far more yellow eggs. This is because they are constantly eating grass and plants.

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Egg Yolk Color is Not Dependent on Breed, But on Diet

A lot of people seem to believe that egg yolk color is dictated by the breed of the chicken. It isn’t. The only part of the egg that is influenced by the breed of the chicken is the shell. Everything else will be down to the diet that the chicken is eating.

Alfalfa meal, clover, kale, rape, rye pasture, and certain weeds, including mustard, pennycress, and shepherd’s purse, make yolks darker. Too much cottonseed meal can cause yolks to be salmon, dark green, or nearly black.

The Chicken Encyclopedia – Gail Damerow

As we said before; if a chicken has a lot of access to grass and plants, then their egg is going to be a bit darker in color. However, did you know that you can influence the shade of the egg in other ways?

In fact, a lot of commercial farming operations will try to do this, particularly if the chickens that they are raising are not free-range chickens.

Egg yolks can have their color changed by adding plant petals into their feed. For example; yellow petals will make the chicken yolks a little bit more yellow.

However, you can also add a slightly red tinge to the chicken eggs by adding a bit of red pepper into their feed. Although try not to go overboard on this, if you give them too much red pepper then your chicken is not going to be getting all of the nutrients that they need to thrive!

You may want to experiment by adding different foods to their diet to see how it impacts the color of the egg.

Egg Yolk ColorCauses
Green egg yolkAcorns; shepherd’s purse
Orange to dark yellowGreen feed; yellow corn
Reddish, olive green, black-greenGrass; cottonseed meal; silage
Dark yellowAlfalfa meal; marigold petals
Medium yellowYellow corn
Yellow, paleCoccidiosis (rare); wheat (fed in place
of corn); white corn
Bad egg yolk color chart – Source: Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, 3rd edition

Does the Egg Yolk Color Have Impact on the Taste?

Egg yolk color doesn’t have a major impact on the taste or nutrition of the egg.

Contrary to popular belief, the egg yolk color doesn’t have a major impact on what you taste when you eat an egg. Yes. We know that a lot of people claim that darker yellow eggs taste a little bit better.

However, if you carried out a nutrition test on the eggs, you would be unlikely to find any sort of nutritional difference between the brown and white eggs. That being said, some chickens do have slightly different diets.

This can have a small impact on the way that an egg tastes. However, unless you are purely eating egg, then you probably won’t be able to tell the difference.

For example; if you added a dark yellow chicken egg to a cake, it would taste no different than if you added a lighter yellow colored egg to the cake. However, if you made scrambled egg, you may notice a slight difference (assuming you go a little bit easy on the butter!)

So, in summary; don’t worry too much about the color of the egg. It really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things (unless it is a bad egg color!). It is going to taste pretty much the same, and it is going to be just as nutritious.

Bad Egg Yolk Color

As we said before; there isn’t really a typical egg yolk color. But, there are some egg yolks colors that are regarded as ‘bad’. One such color is green. If you notice green egg yolk or your chicken’s egg yolks are green, then you pretty much have a big issue.

It means that your chickens are probably eating something that they shouldn’t be eating. It is unlikely that there is going to be a major health issue with your chicken, but you probably do not want to be eating the green egg yolk.

This is because you don’t really have any idea about the sort of foods your chicken has been eating. While the green egg yolk is probably not going to be unhealthy, but you wouldn’t want to be chowing down on it anyway.

On the other hand, red egg yolk color is an OK color for an egg. However, if the red seems to be little droplets of blood mixed in with the yellow, this is normal, on occasion, but if it seems to be happening regularly, then there is a good chance that there is a health issue with your chicken.

If it does seem that if the color of your chicken’s eggs has changed drastically, then there is a good chance there is a problem. The first thing you will want to do is keep an eye on your chickens.

Remember; Nine times out of ten, they may have started to eat plants that they really shouldn’t be eating.

If their eggs remain the same color, but they do not seem to be tucking into any crazy food, then you may want to talk to a vet. It could mean that there is something seriously wrong, particularly if it is just one or two chickens that seem to be having the issue.

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