If you want eggs like no others, the Ameraucana Chicken may be the fowl you’re searching for. This unique breed was developed in the United States in the 1970s and officially recognized by the APA in 1984. It lays distinctive eggs with blue shells, not brown or white like the average chicken. The Ameraucana Chicken is quite rare and available only from breeders. Yet, beware. The majority of Ameraucana Chickens sold by commercial hatcheries are not true Ameraucanas but rather mixed-breed mongrels. If you have your heart set on an Ameraucana, you’ll certainly have to do your homework!
The Ameraucana Chicken is a medium sized bird that comes in a variety of recognized colors: white, black, blue, wheaten, blue wheaten, silver, brown red, and silver. Both bantam and large varieties are available. They are generally cold-weather hardy birds and are docile, although not broody. The chicken has a full tail and a muff and beard. Its legs are blue or black. An egg-laying chicken, the Ameraucana Chicken produces around 250 eggs annually and starts laying at 5-6 months of age. While it lays colorful eggs, the Ameraucana Chicken is not an Easter Egg Chicken. An Easter Egg Chicken is not a recognized breed but rather a mixed-breed bird with a gene for blue eggs. The Ameraucana Chicken is a recognized breed. Breeders and hatcheries sometimes falsely advertise Easter Egg
mixed breed chickens as Ameraucana Chickens, so be wary.
A Short History of the Ameraucana Chicken
The Ameraucana Chicken was the result of much careful breeding, developed from the Chilean Araucana. This unique bird laid lovely blue eggs but had a lethal allele combination that resulted in the death of chicks before hatching or during the incubation period. In developing the Ameraucana Chicken, the blue egg laying capabilities were retained while the genetic flaws were removed.
Buying Your Ameraucana Chicks
As this breed is rare, the Ameraucana Chicken is fairly hard to find. There are many hatcheries selling chicks they claim to be Ameraucana Chicks which are in fact selling mongrels. This is so common that, according to the website www.afowlshome.com, 99% of chickens sold as Ameraucanas or Araucanas by commercial hatcheries are in fact mixed breed chickens. Rather than producing pure blue-shelled eggs, these mongrels lay blue, green, pink, and other colored
eggs. The Ameraucana Breeder’s Club provides a list of certified breeders from which purebred Ameraucana Chickens can be purchased. Their website is: http://www.ameraucana.org/. While it isn’t vital that your birds be purebred for your backyard flock, if you want to show your birds you’ll certainly want to make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for.
Caring For Your Chickens
Before purchasing your Ameraucana Chicks, prepare a heated box for your new chicks and take care to keep them warm, fed, watered, and clean. Once they are fully feathered and growing large, you can introduce them to your chicken coop. Your chickens will need a safe coop, a chicken run to protect them from predators, laying boxes for their eggs, and feed and water. Clean out your chicken’s coop regularly to help keep them free from diseases. Allow your chickens plenty of sunshine, fresh air, and exercise. The healthier your chickens, the happier they’ll be and the longer lives they’ll live.