The Ameraucana is one of the most unique chicken breeds. The breed is quite new in the world of chickens, making its debut only during the 1970s. Despite of that, the Ameraucana has become so popular to both breeders and casual chicken caretakers.
In this article, we will discuss all the important things that you need to know about Ameraucanas including their history and origin, egg laying capabilities, appearance, size and color, temperament, and how you could properly take care of them.
Origin of Ameraucana Chicken
The origin of this breed can be traced as far back as the 1920s in Chile, South America. The Mapuche Indians took care of primarily two breeds of chickens – Quetero and Collonca. These breeds were so old that they have been reported as far back as the 1500s by Spanish invaders. The union of these two breeds resulted in another breed called the Araucana.
The Araucana is a unique breed in such a way that it has a gene called that tufting gene or ET for short. This gene gives the Araucana its unique tufted ears. However, when both parent Araucanas contribute this gene to their offspring, that chick will surely dies in its shell. Hence, it is also called the lethal gene.
To solve this problem, the Ameraucanas were bred in such a way that they will retain their genes that give their eggs a blue color while eliminating the lethal genes that could kill chicks.
It was in the 1920s when the Araucana was brought in the US. This was after Professor Salvador Castillo conducted a conference about the breed in Santiago, Chile. One of the important persons involved with making the Araucanas, and eventually making the Ameraucanas, is Mr. Keller from the Pratt Experimental Farm located in Pennsylvania.
The Ameraucana is considered to be a dual-purpose chicken – which means that it excels in both egg production and meat for the table. It has beard and muffs that make its face look similar to that of a chipmunk. It has bay red eyes and look a little bit intimidating and fierce though it actually has a docile disposition.
The Ameraucana also has red pea combs and wattles. It may also have wattles on its side, though it can be non-existent. It has a tail that it carries in about 45 degrees upright from its body. Its legs and feet can vary from colors black to blue, depending on the color of its plumage. Each foot has four toes and its shanks are without feathers. The skin covering the bottom of its feet is colored white, the same color as its skin beneath its feathers.
Size and Color
The Ameraucana bread is considered to be a light fowl in general. Males usually weigh around 6 and a half pounds while females weigh around 5 and a half pounds. Bantams weigh 26 to 30 oz. for males and 24 to 26 oz. for females.
In general, eight colors are considered for Ameraucanas. These colors are: black, blue, blue wheaten, buff, brown red, white, wheaten, and silver. Due to the variety of colors available, the Ameraucana is often considered as a pretty bird.
Perhaps the most known thing about Ameraucanas is their light blue colored eggs. The breed is good in egg laying – giving about three to four eggs per week. However, it might take some time for an Ameraucana to start laying eggs. Typically, it takes about 18 to 20 weeks before that happens. Interestingly, some people even report that they wait five to seven months before their Ameraucana starts laying eggs. To promote egg production in Ameraucanas, consider investing in a top-rated chicken coop bedding or nesting pad.
In the past, blue eggs were popular for the notion of having lots of protein and less cholesterol than other eggs. But this was only a marketing strategy for none of that was true. The blue colored eggs have the same amount of protein and cholesterol than other colored eggs, including the ones we normally buy in the supermarket.
Generally, Ameraucanas are non-broody, which means that they do not really sit on their eggs for incubation. They sometimes do that but not all the time.
Ameraucanas are social birds. They tend to be gentle and docile. In the middle of a pecking order, they can usually be found in the middle. They also enjoy interacting with humans. People say that Ameraucanas are smart and can detect and escape from harm like predators. Ameraucanas are also known for looking similar to hawks. People claim that this appearance enables them to divert predators away from such seemingly intimidating look.
Should I Get an Ameraucana?
Ameraucanas are people friendly and docile. They, however, prefer warmer climates even though they are cold hardy. They can bear with confinement but having them free range is better. If you want light blue colored eggs, then you should get an Ameraucana chicken breed. It would be a nice addition to your chicken flock and egg collection.
Take note of the roosters. They can be cranky sometimes. But they are not as overly aggressive as other breeds.
Overall, the Ameraucana is an outstanding chicken breed, which is why it is considered to be one of the top 20 chicken breeds. You have been given the most important things that you need to know about Ameraucanas – including how the breed originated, its appearance, temperament, size and color, and egg laying capabilities. The choice is up to you now to decide whether to get one for you coop or backyard. Whatever your decision may be, we wish you good luck in your chicken breeding journey!