Comparing eggs - Croad Langshan egg (centre) Copper Black Marans (top left) White Leghorn (left) Hybrid layers (right and bottom)
A good example of a Croad Langshan egg freshly collected from the nest box is quite beautiful. They remind me of sugared almonds.
So what colour is a Croad Langshan egg?
The photograph on the left is an example of an egg from a Large Black Croad Langshan hen (middle) who regularly lays eggs of this colour. The comparison with the other eggs gives a reasonable idea of what the colour looks like in daylight against a white background. The photograph is unedited. Many Croads also lay eggs of a similar colour to the bottom two eggs in the photo and can lay eggs almost as dark as the the top left egg. It is important to realise that Croad Langshan egg colour is standardised as brown and that although a pinky bloom is desirable for showing eggs, it has little to do with the breeding of good quality Croad Langshan birds.
If we compare this with the plums below to say that the eggs are 'plum' coloured would clearly be inaccurate. The colour has some pale plum colouring but the effect is delicate. The 'plum' reference can be understood when looking at the pale bloom seen on fresh unwashed plums as in the photograph.
The pinkish egg colouring is a bloom over the top of a brown shell. The darker brown the shell the darker plum the colour will appear. Some eggs have a white bloom but a good example will have a pale pinkish colour bloom over a darker shell. This is why the Poultry Club Standards list the egg colour as brown.
The bloom over the shell is difficult to keep for showing eggs. The bloom fades to a dull beige if exposed to daylight for any extended period. It also washes off and disappears if the egg has any kind of grease on it. Even condensation when bringing cold eggs into a warm room can remove or damage the bloom. It is also very difficult to see the colour in artificial light.
As with many different breeds of poultry, Croad Langshan egg colour can vary widely from a tinted egg to a dark brown egg with a varying amount of bloom that can change from day to day and in the course of a season. Developing good egg colour requires careful breeding and selection. This can be to the detriment of other important aspects of the breed and should not be considered the be all and end all of breeding Croad Langshan birds.
The genetic make up of chickens is not something to be taken lightly, but in the simplest of terms the egg colour is carried mostly by the male Croad Langshan.
In practical terms this means that if you breed from a male that was hatched from an egg with a good coloured bloom, the bloom should be carried through to the next generation.
By selectively breeding from only good egg colour birds the colour can be improved and developed over time.