Breed Spotlight: The Ameraucana
The Ameraucana as a breed has a very convoluted history of breed development. Blue egg laying chickens were first imported to the US from Chile in the 1930s. By the 1970’s many breeders were developing birds that laid blue eggs with a pea comb, some had ear tufts, some were rumpless, some with beards and some with tails. This breed became known as the Aracauna, and the standard of perfection called for tufts (but no beards) and rumpless. This APA designation left many, many breeders with birds that did not fit the new standard. With a lot of work on the part of many breeders, both the bantam and standard versions of the “American Araucana”, or Ameraucana, gained ABA and APA recognition for all 8 color varieties by 1981.
We must mention that the Easter Egger and the Ameraucana are different breeds. Actually, the Easter Egger isn’t a breed recognized by the American Poultry Association. Unlike a true standardized breed, the Easter Egger’s feather coloring doesn’t breed true, meaning that you cannot take two birds of the same color and expect to get offspring that are the same color as their parents. With the Ameraucana, feather coloring is more predictable and the breed has been developed into 8 APA recognized colors: Black, Blue, Blue Wheaten, Brown Red, Buff, Silver, Wheaten, and White.
Unlike the Easter Egger, the Ameraucana will always lay a blue tinted egg. The color can vary slightly from light sky blue to a faint pastel blue/green. Ameraucana hens should not lay an olive green, brown or cream colored egg. Egg colors other than blue may indicate that you have an Easter Egger and not a purebred Ameraucana. Egg size is on the medium to medium-large size. Ameraucana hens lay an average of 3-4 eggs per week. The hens do tend to be broody and make excellent mothers.
The Ameraucana typically has a very sweet personality and even the roosters are fairly docile yet watchful. But when the hen is broody and on her nest, watch out! They are very protective mothers. I find them to be the quieter birds within my flock. Mature roosters weigh around 6 to 7 pounds and a hen around 5 to 6 pounds when fully mature.
If you want to be sure you get those beautiful blue eggs into your egg basket, consider adding a couple of Ameraucanas to your flock.
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