A Heritage Breed that originated from Chile, the Araucana Chicken is most well-known for its unique eggs. Ranging in colors from blue or green to pink or yellow, their eggs are prized and were advertised in the 1970s as the ultimate Easter eggs. This breed is also unique because of its lack of a tail. It was first introduced to the APA in 1976. Raising Araucana Chickens can be a fulfilling pastime.
A Deadly History
Variants of the Araucana breed were bred and raised by native Chilean tribes. In the early 1900s, an animal scientist named Dr. Ruben Bustros began developing the Araucana Chicken into a standard breed. After years of crossing two breeds, the Colloncas and the Quetros, he developed the “perfect” rumples, blue-egg-laying chicken.
There was a big problem with the Araucana chicken bred, however. The gene that produced the bird’s unique neck tufts also caused chick mortality. If a chick inherited two copies of the gene, the mortality rate was nearly 100%. This is still a risk today, although some breeders have tried to breed the tuft out. Still, breeding two Araucana chickens does have risks. A lethal allele combination will cause some of the resulting chicks to die. Up to a quarter of a hen’s chicks will inherit the allele and die before hatching. Even if only one copy of the gene is inherited, the chick has a 20% mortality rate. This is a risk a pertinent breeder must be aware of before breeding Araucana Chickens. Because of their allele issue, the Araucana is more difficult to incubate and hatch than most other chicken breeds. The rumpless trait also makes it difficult for this breed to reproduce.
Colorful Egg Layers
The Araucana Chicken is most famous for its colorful eggs and for this reason it’s often referred to as the Easter Egg Chicken. The breed is available online through hatcheries, but as it is often mistaken for the Ameraucana Chicken you’ll have to be diligent and make sure you’re actually getting the correct breed. This medium sized bird comes in a variety of colors, including black, silver, white, buff, black breasted red, golden duckwing, and blue. These chickens have tufts of feathers on the sides of their heads and necks and a pea comb too. They come in standard and bantam sizes. According to the American Poultry Association’s Standards, pure Araucana Chickens must lay turquoise or blue colored eggs. Any other color is a disqualifier, but they are not uncommon, especially when the Araucana is crossed with any other chicken breed.
Easy To Care For and Useful Too
The Araucana Chicken is a great dual-purpose bird which lays around 180 eggs annually. They are smart, broody, love to forage, and have friendly dispositions. Excellent fliers, these birds do well free-range and can escape from predators better than some other chicken breeds. They bear well in confinement too, if need be. The Araucana chicken is beautiful, unique, and unlike any other. It’ll make an unusual but useful and friendly addition to your backyard or small farm.