We all love and enjoy eating eggs. In fact, eggs are among the most common ingredients used in baking and making most breakfast delicacies. But, other than enjoying the nutritional value of eggs, have you ever given the color of the yolk some thought? Well, read on for we have tons of information regarding the egg yolk color chart.
In case you’ve ever thought about the color of egg yolk, then you must have asked yourself which color is best between pale yellow and deep orange. Also, you must have asked yourself whether the color of the yolk has anything to do with the nutritional value of the egg.
Just to give you a recap of what we’ll be discussing, allow me to mention that the color of an egg yolk is not influenced by the chicken’s breed or the color of the eggshell. Instead, the color of the yolk depends on the diet and the health of the chicken that lays the eggs. With that said, let’s now get to our main discussion.
What Is Egg Yolk?
Now, all bird species, such as chickens, reproduce by laying eggs. These eggs have different parts that play different roles. For instance, the shell protects the egg from breakage while the egg white cushions the embryo supplies it with water, and protects it from viruses and bacteria.
Lastly, we have the egg yolk. This is the yellow part of an egg that kick starts the development of a chick when an egg is fertilized. Since it’s made primarily from fats, nutrients, and proteins, the yolk has a huge nutritional advantage when consumed. It’s rich in minerals, calories, proteins, vitamins, and fats making it an enviable food source for humans.
Double Yolk Eggs Meaning
Now, have you ever cracked an egg only to realize it has double yolks? Well, this type of scenario is very rare and it mostly happens in every one out of 1000 eggs. Double yolk eggs are common among pullets, heavy chicken breeds such as the Buff Orpington, and chickens that experience a drastic increase in hours of light exposure.
Now, double yolk eggs can bear different meanings depending on your region or religion. Some of the common meanings of double yolkers include death, fertility, good fortune, and separation.
Egg Yolk Nutrition Facts
If you’re a chef or just an avid kitchen enthusiast, there’s no denying that the color of egg yolk can make your delicacy appear delicious. In fact, this is so if you compare the color of the yolk from a hard-boiled egg yolk color chart. But, is the color of an egg reflective of its quality and nutritional value? Well, let me say it’s complicated.
First, the rich color of an egg reflects the hen’s health and diet. For instance, if you raise your chickens in open pasture, they’re likely to forage and feed on carotenoid-rich vegetation, seeds, and insects. Since carotenoids have high antioxidant properties, the results are well-nourished eggs with bright orange yolks.
Now, when a chicken feeds on a balanced diet, the dietary reference automatically reflects on the quality of the egg. With that said, let’s discuss a few nutritional facts about egg yolks.
1. Rich in Vitamins
The first nutritional fact about egg yolks is that they’re a rich source of vitamins such as Vitamins A, E, D, K, B1, and B12. They also have substantial trace amounts of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, and choline. Lastly, egg yolks are a rich source of fat-soluble carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin.
2. High in Fats
Now, if you happen to raise pasture-raised chickens, then they’re likely to free-range in search of bugs, worms, seeds, and vegetation. Some of these feeds add immense nutritional value to your chickens. The results are high-quality eggs with huge traces of omega-3 fatty acids like ALA, DHA, and EPA.
3. High Cholesterol
Lastly, egg yolks are believed to contain around 213 milligrams of cholesterol per yolk. This high level of dietary cholesterol is believed to increase the risk of cardiovascular illness. However, recent studies have specified that consuming eggs does not necessarily translate to high cholesterol levels.
Colors of Eggs Yolk
If you’re an egg lover, then I believe you’ve once asked yourself why the color of the egg yolk keeps changing from deep yellow to sunny looking yellow to pale looking yellow. In fact, one of the frequently asked questions on this topic is what exactly influences the color of an egg yolk.
Simply put, the color of the yolk is solely influenced by the diet of the hen. So, if your hen is allowed to free range, then it will feed on grasses, flowers, plants, seeds, and insects that have an abundance of carotenoids. These carotenoids are the ones responsible for the deep yellow color of the egg yolks.
Now that you’re aware of what causes the pigmentation on egg yolks, let’s now discuss some of the common egg colors you’re likely to find and what each color means.
1. Deep Orange
The first color you’re likely to see in any chicken egg yolk color chart is deep orange. In most cases, this type of pigmentation is common among most pasture-raised chickens. When you allow your flock to free range, you actually allow them to feed on seeds, insects, and vegetation.
Most of these pastures contain carotenoids, which are nutrients and supplements that trigger the deep orange color you see in your egg yolk.
But, you need to note that the deep orange color in an egg yolk doesn’t necessarily mean the chickens are pasture raised. Sometimes, this pigmentation can be seen in caged or confined chickens as you only need to add additives to the chicken feeds to alter the color of their yolks. Most chickens are fed with feeds containing orange peels, algae, and marigold flowers to alter the color.
2. Mid-Orange to Golden Yellow
Sometimes, the color of the yolk is influenced by the region where you’re keeping your chickens. For instance, if you raise your chickens in regions where there’s plenty of alfalfa, greens, yellow corn, and other plants with xanthophylls pigment, then the yolk is likely to have a slightly dark orange color.
Even if these chickens are allowed to forage, the amount of nutrients they gather is largely vegetarian giving their egg yolks a mid-orange to golden yellow pigmentation rather than a deep orange color.
3. Pale Yellow
If your chickens are caged and rarely go out to forage, then they’ll consume lean amounts of xanthophylls. Xanthophylls are the ones responsible for the yellowish-brown pigmentation on the egg yolk.
Now, if your chickens are caged, then it means they’re fed commercial diets that contain corn, soy, wheat, barley, and white cornmeal. With less pigmented food, these chickens are likely to produce egg yolks with lighter pale yellow pigments.
But, as we mentioned earlier, some farmers prefer to alter the color of the egg yolks by giving their indoor chickens additives to boost the carotenoid content.
4. Olive to Dark Green
This one mostly happens with boiled or scrambled eggs. If you boil eggs, there are times when you’ll notice the color of the yolk change to olive or greenish. If this is what you’re seeing, then there’s nothing to worry about.
Actually, green pigmentation is a reaction between hydrogen in the egg white and sulfur in the yolk when the egg is exposed to heat. Also, you might see a green ring surrounding the yolk. This is actually a sign of excess iron in the cooking water. These types of egg yolks are very common in hard-boiled egg yolk color charts.
Egg Yolk Color Depends on Diet
If you argue that egg yolk color depends on diet, then you’re absolutely right. Egg yolks are not like eggshells whose color depends on a chicken breed. The color of the egg yolk is a clear clue of the type of diet a chicken feeds on.
Speaking of the feeds, pasture-raised chickens that feed on fresh vegetation, seeds, worms, and insects have a diet that’s rich in carotenoids. Carotenoids are a group of fat-soluble yellow, red and orange pigments that are responsible for the deep or pale color of the yolks.
On the flip side, if your chickens are fed with commercial feeds or just green vegetation, then they won’t consume enough carotenoids. The results are egg yolks with pale yellow pigmentation.
Something else you should note about yolk color is that the color can sometimes alter the taste and the nutritional value of the egg. Some professional chefs argue that deep-colored yolks have a more vibrant flavor than light-colored yolks.
Others argue that the nutritional value of egg yolk can change depending on the color. To support their argument, some people say that chickens fed with diets enriched with specific nutrients such as Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids are likely to produce egg yolks with an extra boost of such nutrients.
With that said, let’s now focus on the table below to understand how different diets impact the color of your chickens’ egg yolks.
|Egg Yolk Color||Causes|
|Dark Yellow Yolk||Seeds, Insects, Marigold Petals, and Alfalfa Meal|
|Medium Yellow Yolk||Yellow Corn|
|Orange to Dark Orange||Yellow Corn, Greens, and plants with xanthophylls pigmentation|
|Pale Yellow||Corn, Soy, Wheat, Barley, and Coccidiosis|
|Green Yolk||Shepherd’s Purse and Acorns|
|Reddish, Olive to Dark Green Yolk||Grass, Cottonseed meal, and Silage|
Egg Yolk Colors vs. Quality
Just as we’ve mentioned earlier, there’s a slight relationship between egg yolk color and quality. In terms of nutritional value, eggs with deep orange color are believed to offer a higher nutritional boost to your body than egg yolks with pale yellow colors.
The color of the yolk actually gives you a clue of the type of diet the chicken is feeding on. If your chickens are getting enough vitamins, omega 3s and feed rich in carotenoids, then the color of the egg yolk will have a deep orange color.
With time, these nutrients will pass to the egg giving it a slight nutritional advantage over pale yellow egg yolks. Pale yellow egg yolks mean that your chickens are raised in commercial caged farms and are not accessing enough nutrients to impact the color of their egg yolks.
Something else about egg yolk color and quality is the taste. If you eat a pure egg diet such as scrambled eggs, you’re likely to notice that egg yolks with deep orange colors will appear tastier than yolks with pale yellow colors.
Unhealthy Bad Egg Yolk Color
Now that we’ve discussed the meaning of the different egg yolk colors as per the chicken egg yolk color chart, how then do you identify an unhealthy bad egg based on the color of the yolk? Earlier on, we discussed the green color of egg yolks, which we said is a sign of high iron content in the water used to boil the eggs.
However, if the green color on the egg yolks gets more pronounced and persistent, then it means your chicken might have eaten something that’s out of the ordinary. The green color might also be a sign of a health issue with your chicken.
Although eating such eggs might not have major health issues, it doesn’t pain if you talk to your vet about it. Also, if you notice that the egg yolks have spots of blood on the yolk, then it means the blood vessels might have raptured when the egg was forming.
Again, this is not a major issue. However, if it happens regularly, then you might have to ask your vet for intervention.
Lastly, if you notice shades of pink or green on the egg white, then there’s possible contamination of Pseudomonas bacteria. Also, egg yolk with black or green spots indicates possible fungus contamination and should not be eaten.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Is Egg with Brown Spot on the Yolk Safe to Eat?
Yes, they’re safe to eat. Just as we’ve mentioned earlier, the brown spot on the yolk is caused by a ruptured blood vessel during the formation of the egg yolk. Depending on your choice, you can decide to discard the tiny spot or leave it. After all, it’s not harmful.
Q2. Can You Eat Double Yolk Eggs?
Yes, you can. Double yolk eggs are a product of rapid evolution where two yolks are released in quick succession in a hen’s oviduct. Everything, including the taste and the nutritional value of these eggs, is similar to single yolk eggs, thus making them safe to consume.
Q3. Can You Buy Just Egg Yolks?
Yes, you can. Egg yolks can be bought in powdered or liquid form. Liquid yolks are bought in wholesale grocery companies and are mostly treated to preserve them. Powdered ones are also pasteurized to prevent them from going bad.
Q4. What Does a Black Egg Yolk Mean?
If what you’re seeing is an egg with a black yolk, then it simply means the egg is spoiled. In most cases, the egg might have stayed in the coop for a long time before it was noticed. The egg might have gotten rotten and developed bacteria.
From what we’ve discussed, the color of an egg yolk is a clear sign of the overall health of the hen that laid it. In most cases, deep orange or reddish-orange egg yolk is a clear sign of good health. Hens that lay such eggs are believed to consume substantial amounts of carotenoid-rich diets. This is quite different from caged chickens that only feed on commercial feeds that contain corn, soy, wheat, barley, and white cornmeal.
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Hello, I am John Reid. I have been raising chickens for the last 15 years. I have got my experience from my father. My father is the owner of a large chicken farm. This is our family business that has been continuing for over 35 years. I am very interested in backyard chickens and I know how to take care of them. You can learn more About Us here. Happy Reading!!