The Ameraucana 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. Ameraucana Chicken’s 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 or Araucana.
What are the major differences between Ameraucana 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.
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 Araucana 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 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-6-1/2 pounds; hen-5-1/2 pounds; cockerel-5-1/2 pounds; pullet-4-1/2 pounds.
- Varieties: Black, Blue, Blue-wheaten, Brown-red, Buff, Silver, Wheaten, & White
- Skin Color: White
- Egg Shell Color: Blue
- Use: A general purpose meat and egg producing variety.
- Origin: USA
Interested in raising chickens, but not sure which breed might be right for you?
Things to consider:
Geography: Consider geography when selecting a breed. In cooler areas of the country, consider raising heavier birds. In hotter areas, consider lighter weight birds. Some birds have been specially breed for cold climates. Consider these birds if you live in a cold-climate area.
Space: Where will you be raising these chickens? Do you have a lot of farm land for the animals to be raised on, or are you planning to raise them in your backyard? If you have a small space in which to raise the birds, choose breeds with a calmer temperament and avoid birds that are listed as active. Active birds will not be happy in close confinement.
Temperament: When choosing a breed, consider temperament. Some breeds are calmer than others. If raising chickens in a backyard or in the city, you may prefer a calmer breed.