What color should raw chicken be?

Small and Backyard Flocks, Food Safety July 13, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

The color of raw poultry skin and meat can vary from a bluish white to yellow. All of these colors are normal and are a direct result of breed, exercise, age, and/or diet. Younger poultry has less fat under the skin, which can cause the bluish cast, and the yellow skin could be a result of pigments in the feed. The yellow color comes from yellow corn, as well as marigold oil, alfalfa meal, or corn gluten meal included in the diet.

Some free-range producers allow their birds access to green grass which will also add a lot of color. Blue yellow colors may also be an old bruise on the bird that was in the process of healing before it was processed. It could also be the result of a poor bleed after the bird was harvested, which leaves too much blood within the tissues.

Reference: The color of meat and poultry, USDA Fact sheet.

Connect with us

  • Facebook
  • YouTube


This is where you can find research-based information from America's land-grant universities enabled by eXtension.org



This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.