araucana chicken breed
Chris Waits / Flickr (Creative Commons)
  • Purpose: Layer
  • Eggs: Blue
  • Egg Size: Medium
  • Color: Brown, Black, White
  • Comb Type: Pea

Often discussed and often counterfeited, the Araucana is a chicken breed popularly known as the source of the widely-desired blue egg gene.

Of course, the appeal of all those blue eggs and friendly personalities invites breeders to hatch their own. But the curse of the Araucana’s genetics is a fatal trait that leads to a high percentage of the chicks dying in the shell. Though not every Araucana has the characteristic ear-tufts, if two parents carry the dominant tufted gene, you can be sure that sadly, most of the chicks in those sky-blue eggs will never actually see the real sky.

With strikingly unusual looks and a fatal genetic background, there’s far more to explore with these birds than just their eggs.

Characteristics

Everything about the Araucana is slightly unusual. From its tailless rump to its little pea comb hidden between humorously-curling ear-tufts on either side of its head, the Araucana is a conversation starter! Originally bred from native Chilean chickens, these are hardy birds that can tolerate both hot and cold environments well.

They are active foragers and are sure to save you a bit on your feed bill. In addition to their appealing looks, they are also incredibly amiable little chickens. If you’re looking for a pet bird who is content to run around the backyard, be held, and not grow too large, these exceptionally friendly hens might just be the bird you’re looking for.

What’s The Yield?

These chickens are intended for egg production. With a rate of about 250 eggs a year, they are small but mighty egg layers. They mature more quickly than most chickens, but will usually reach a maximum size of around 4-5 pounds.

Araucanas are shown in the exhibition ring, but raising one to the standard may be a more of a challenge than other breeds. The APA standard insists on having birds with symmetrical ear tufts, so successfully finding and raising that particular bird may be a long road.

Would the Real Araucana Please Stand Up?

The appealing nature of having novelty eggs has surged these birds into popularity, and not always in a good way. Claims in the 60’s that their eggs were “healthier” caused a huge surge in demand for blue eggs. Ever since then, enterprising individuals with less than stellar scruples have found ways to market Ameraucanas, Easter Eggers, and even the made-up-breed “Americanas” as the far more rare Araucana–and all for a pretty penny, you can be sure.

In modern times, Martha Stewart also helped lead the current trendiness of having a chicken lay colored eggs. Her highly-viewed flock of blue egg-layers led to even more demand for “Rainbow Laying” eggs. Though there is certainly nothing wrong with a mixed-breed chicken for the backyard flock, those trying to improve the actual breed will have to search for a reputable breeder to find authentic Araucana chickens.

Pictures Of Araucana Chickens

araucana
David Goehring / Flickr (Creative Commons)

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