ameraucana chicken breed
Sarah And Jason / Flickr (Creative Commons)
  • Purpose: Layer
  • Eggs: Blue
  • Egg Size: Medium
  • Color: Brown, Black, White
  • Comb Type: Pea

The unusual, often misspelled name of this blue-egg layer is a combination of American and Araucana. In one word, you know the history of this breed: originating from the Chilean Araucana breed, this is a modern American chicken.

When the breed hit the market in the early 80’s, health claims that blue eggs were better than other eggs spurred a huge demand for the breed.

As a result, any chicken that carries the dominant blue-egg laying gene (or looks like it might), may be sold as an Ameraucana, though often they are actually Easter Eggers. Though Easter Eggers are delightful in their own right, if you’re looking for a true specimen of this relatively rare breed, your best bet is to go through a reputable breeder.

If you are looking for a dual-purpose breed of chicken for your homestead, this might not be the bird for you, however. Not known for their foraging abilities or broodiness, a small flock of Orpingtons may be a better choice for someone trying to start a small, self-sustaining flock.

Characteristics

With their tiny pea combs and often lack of wattles, the Ameraucana is hardier in winter than birds with a showier display. Don’t think that their faces are unremarkable, though! With a feathery muff and beard, their chipmunk-like cuteness is sure to charm you into giving an extra treat (or three).

ameraucana

Personality wise, they are generally friendly and docile, and may be a good choice for a sweet-natured pet chicken.

What’s The Yield?

Presumably, anyone interested in the Ameraucana is going to use them as an egg-layer. With an average of at least three eggs a week, you can expect to find a little nugget of sky in your laying boxes on a regular basis. Though it takes them a while to really get going (some breeders claim they take up to a year to mature), some farmers and homesteaders say that their full-grown birds are able to give them an egg every day.

As a medium-sized chicken, the hens usually reach around 4-5 pounds, and the cockerels reach 6-7 pounds, so if you find yourself in need, they could be butchered for meat. Though some sources list them as dual-purpose breeds, reaching that size may take up to a year. By that point, you might end up with just a ton of feathers and some chicken-flavored shoe leather. It seems a shame to take out such a potentially sweet member of your flock when there are so many other breeds better suited for meat production, such as the Buckeye or Jersey Giant.

What’s Special About The Ameraucana

It’s a sweet-natured carrier of the dominant blue egg gene that their rare, Chilean progenitors carry. The Ameraucana has been specially developed to lack the lethal gene that causes many Araucana chicks to die in their shells. The deadly trait is connected to the Araucana’s signature ear tufts, which the Ameraucanas notably lack.

Photos of Ameraucana Chickens

ameraucana chicken
sydneycm / Flickr (Creative Commons)
ameraucana
Sigo Paolini / Flickr (Creative Commons)

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