Ameraucana Bantam Chicken
The Ameraucana Bantam Chicken breed was derived from blue egg laying Chickens, but they do not have the breeding problems inherent to Araucanas. In addition, rather than ear tufts, they have muffs and a beard, and are very hardy and sweet. They lay eggs in shades of blue, and even have blue (or “slate”) legs. Less rare than Araucanas, they are still quite rare and only available through breeders at this time.
They should not be confused with Easter Eggers, which can lay blue and green eggs, and do not conform to any breed standard. However, many hatcheries continue to call their Easter Eggers “Americanas” (and other various misspellings). If you are interested in showing your birds, make sure that you have true Ameraucana Bantam Chicken or Araucana.
What are the major differences between Ameraucana Bantam Chicken and Araucana Chickens?
Both breeds lay eggs with shells colored various shades of blue, have pea combs, and should have red earlobes. Beyond that few similarities exist in specimens meeting the requirements of recognized poultry standards. Perhaps 99 percent of Chickens sold as Araucanas (or Ameraucanas) by commercial hatcheries are actually mongrels (aka Easter Egg Chickens), meeting the requirements of neither breed.
Characteristics: According to the American Poultry Association (APA), the Araucana breed must be rumpless (no tail) and have ear tufts. Ear tufts are clumps of feathers growing from small tabs of skin usually found at or near the region of the ear openings. This feature is unique in the U.S. to the Ameraucana Bantam Chicken breed. This trait is nearly always lethal to unhatched chicks when inherited from both parents. Tufted Araucanas, therefore, are always genetically impure, i.e., they don’t breed true and will always produce a percentage of “clean-faced” offspring.The Ameraucana Bantam Chicken breed, on the other hand, has a tail and sports muffs and beard in the facial area. These characteristics are true-breeding. Other requirements of both breeds may be found in the APA’s Standard of Perfection and in the American Bantam Association’s (ABA) Bantam Standard.
- Standard Weights: Cock-30 oz; Hen-26 oz; Cockerel-26 oz; Pullet-24 oz.
- Varieties: Black, Blue, Blue-wheaten, Brown-red, Buff, Silver, Wheaten, & White
- Skin Color: White
- Egg Shell Color: Blue
- Use: Exhibition
- Origin: USA
Bantams are suitable for smaller backyards as they do not need as much space as other breeds. Bantam hens are also used as laying hens, with some breeds laying up to 150 eggs per year. However, Bantam eggs are only about one-half to one-third the size of a regular hen egg. The Bantam chicken eats the same foods as a normal chicken. In commercial situations they are fed grain-based foods because this is convenient and efficient for the producer. Chickens in the wild eat more insects and vegetation than grains.
Bantams have become increasingly popular as pets as well as for show purposes because they are smaller and have more varied and exotic colors and feather patterns than other chickens.
In contrast, the Bantam rooster is famous in rural areas throughout the United Kingdom and the United States for its aggressive, “puffed-up” disposition that can be comedic in stature. It is often called a “Banty” in the rural United States.
Many bantam hens are renowned for hatching and brooding. They are very protective mothers and will attack anything that gets near their young.
Bantams do have a higher mortality rate when they are kept as backyard pets. They are easy targets for hawks, cats, foxes, or any other small predator.