Green egg laying Criolla hens are the result of a particular cross between chicken breeds from the region of Boyacà in north central Colombia. The hens lay eggs with a beautiful light green shell color. In the traditional diet in this rural area, hens are central to any household economy. Many families raise the animals for meat, which is used in soups or roasted for special occasions, and a regular supply of eggs provides food to be eaten for breakfast, cooked in stocks or scrambled or fried.
Chickens have been part of the Colombian culture and diet since they were brought to the area by Spanish conquerors. However, there is no specific data on the green egg laying hens, because all chickens bred through traditional methods are called "Criolla," which was originally a term used to designate people born to Spanish parents in South America. The eggs have similar sensory characteristics to other eggs, but their unique color give a useful way to recognize their origin and how they were produced. The light green color is a particular genetic feature of these hens.
The green eggs can be purchased in local markets in Boyacà. While chicken meat and eggs are an important part of the local diet, the meat and eggs sold commercially are increasingly being produced with more productive commercial breeds following intensive methods, without attention to animal welfare and without making use of the animal biodiversity of the territory.
Photo: Juan Camilo Quintero Merchan