Croad Langshan eggs

One of the most famous MYTHS about Croad Langshans is their “plum-coloured” or "purple" egg.

the famous 'plum-coloured' or 'purple' egg

Croad Langshan breeders generally agree that most of their birds lay large brownish or buff eggs of various colour depths. Some eggs also show spots of darker colour. However some lay an egg with a pink bloom similar to the bloom on a plum.

Here is what Miss A.C. Croad, who originally developed the breed, has to say in her book “The Langshan fowl; its history and characteristics with some comments on its early opponents” p. 67 (1889).

(it has to be remembered that European breeds at that time laid white eggs.)


In a yard where several Langshan hens are kept, the day’s basket of eggs affords a really pretty sight. "Handsome and beautiful," have frequently been the expressions used by strangers on receiving their first sitting, and it has as often been remarked that they have all the appearance for a wild bird's egg, and not that of a domestic fowl. We have been told there is an individuality in hens eggs, and that the person used to collecting them can generally divine by which hen each particular egg has been laid. Be that as it may, the Langshan seems to defy all set rules in this respect, and indulges in a charming variety; the tints are varied from the palest salmon to the darkest chestnut brown. On some there is a bloom like that on freshly-gathered fruit, whilst others are spotted, often literally splashed all over with dark spots, and the same hen will tint her eggs differently one day from what she does on another. We have noticed that these spotted eggs occur most frequently during the spring months, when the secreting organs are most active .and the calcareous matter which forms the shell is more readily obtained by the hen. Langshans are unrivalled as the layers of rich medium sized eggs; many of the younger hens lay during a greater part of their moult, but this is an exhausting process, and should not be encouraged. 

Typical Croad Langshan eggs (the white one on top is from an Ancona, added as colour reference)
Five eggs received from another breeder, the top one is one of my own.
Spotted eggs, laid by the same hen on consecutive days. Her daughter lays similarly spotted eggs.
Photo of Chinese Langshan eggs, copied from the website of the Langshan Breeder Farm in China.

From the Croad Langshan Club Newsletter July 2013 (GB)

Egg colour madness

The club is frequently contacted by people wanting to buy a single hen ‘to lay purple eggs as I already have blue, brown and white’. I don’t know how to stop this – I see that some of the USA sites and forums have this nonsense about purple eggs, but no-one ever claims to have seen one! Probably this has become a distorted version of the ‘plum bloom’ on the Croad Langshan egg. This then gets reported as 'plum’, and then ‘purple’.

Eggshell colour is a very complex trait and more than a dozen genes seem to be involved in the various colour ranges. It has however been proposed that the female is responsible for passing on the pink bloom on some of the eggs.