Ameraucana Chickens are a fairly new addition to the chicken breeds, making their first appearance in the 1970s. It has devoted following breeders and followers in this country and many others and slowly gains more devotees. As we shall see, Ameraucana’s history is somewhat convoluted. The Ameraucana is a cheerful, friendly, and pleasant chicken that is ideal for flocks that want light blue eggs. They are excellent foragers and adore freedom. Additionally, they are relatively quiet and docile, making them a perfect choice if you have particularly close neighbors. While they are not particularly cuddly, they are far from vicious or mean.
The American Poultry Association has accepted it as a member. The Ameraucana was recognized as a distinct breed in 1984, as was the Ameraucana bantam, which the American Bantam Association recognized in 1979. Before that, the Ameraucana chicken first appeared in South America in the 1920s – though it is believed to have existed for much longer.
Chile’s Mapuche Indians were known to raise two distinct chicken breeds: the Quetero and the Collonca. These ancient chicken breeds had existed practically in perpetuity, with documents dating back to the 1500s. The Quetero and Collonca were bred together (it is unknown whether this pairing occurred naturally or as a result of human intervention), and the Araucana was the result.
Genetic History of Ameraucana Chickens
The Araucana is the Ameraucana’s parent bird. Araucanas, as you might imagine, are extremely rare. This is because Araucanas have lethal genes that can kill chickens before hatching while they are still in their shells. This gene makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for two Araucanas to produce a healthy, living chick that survives to hatch.
If both Araucana parents carry the lethal gene – which also results in the Araucana’s distinctive tufted ears – the chick will perish. If not, the chick will hatch and mature into a beautiful blue egg. Ameraucanas have been selectively bred naturally through human intervention to retain the blue egg gene while eliminating the lethal tufted ear gene.
The first Araucana was introduced to the United States in the 1920s, where numerous experiments were conducted at Pennsylvania’s Pratt Experimental Farm. There, scientists conducted experiments involving the crossbreeding of Araucanas with other bird species.
With the Araucana as one parent, the remaining parent breed of Ameraucana chickens is unknown. This varies, but the Ameraucana chicken is typically the result of crossbreeding between two Ameraucana parents or between an Araucana and another dark brown egg gene parent.
Surprisingly, if you travel abroad, you may encounter the terms Araucana and Ameraucana interchangeably. Ameraucanas and Araucanas are considered the same breed in Australia, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.
Ameraucana Chickens Appearance
The Ameraucana chicken’s appearance is variable, with no two chickens of this breed looking identical.
Numerous color palettes are available, including blue, black, white, and wheat. The following are the colors and variants of this bird that are recognized:
- Blue Wheaten Ameraucana
- Brown red
- Wheaten Ameraucana
Whichever variation you choose, this winter-hardy, the dual-purpose breed is one you must consider, if only for its appearance.
Each bird sports a thick muff and a beard that contributes to its puffy, rounded appearance. This chicken’s bright red eyes give it the appearance of being aggressive, but it is pretty docile.
Characteristics Defined by American Poultry Association
The following are the characteristics of an authentic Ameraucana chicken as defined by the American Poultry Association:
- A bright red pea comb, as well as bright red wattles
- Wattles can be small or completely absent.
- Eyes are a red-bay color
- The tail is carried upright at a 45-degree angle to the body, while the legs and feet are blue or slate black.
- Each foot has four toes.
- A tail that is well-spread and complete
- Shanks are not feathered.
- White is the color of the skin.
- There are both beards and muffs present.
- Beak with a curve
Ameraucanas are classified as light fowl breeds in general. On average, a male weighs approximately 6.5 pounds, while a female weighs about 5.5 pounds. Again, genetics and the environment in which the chicken is raised play a significant role in this.
Additionally, there are bantam Ameraucana; these birds typically weigh no more than 30 oz for roosters and 26 oz for hens. Due to the shortage of this breed, it can be challenging to predict the color of your Ameraucana chickens as adults while they are still chicks. You must wait until they reach adulthood and begin feathering out.
This is important if you buy chicks from a hatchery rather than a local supplier to inspect the parent stock.
Ameraucana Chickens Behavior
Ameraucana chickens are a hardy dual-purpose breed known for their obedience. Apart from that, there can be considerable variation among flock members.
Ameraucanas can be scared of others, acting quite skittish around more aggressive chickens or even humans, or they can be confident and outgoing.
The majority, on the other hand, has a gentle, docile, and easygoing demeanor. As is the case with most chicken breeds, the Ameraucana’s personality is heavily influenced by the environment in which it is raised.
It is not the easiest chicken to train if you are looking for a pet chicken breed; it is not a lap chicken and does not usually enjoy being picked up.
Instead, this friendly bird will prefer to socialize with other members of its breed in the coop or run. When housed with different breeds of chickens, the Ameraucana chicken typically occupies the pecking order’s middle position. While it is not aggressive, it is also not submissive.
Ameraucana chickens are not known for their acrobatic abilities. They are small and light in the frame, which allows them to catch some air, but they typically travel only short distances – they are unlikely to escape from your backyard.
Ameraucana Chickens Roosters
Ameraucana Roosters are not aggressive and frequently exhibit a pleasant demeanor. An Ameraucana hen can become broody, but they do not become excessively broody. When a hen becomes broody, she often becomes a protective and nurturing mother.
Ameraucana Chickens Eggs
Indeed, backyard chicken producers frequently choose the Ameraucana chicken breed due to its exceptional egg-laying abilities. While this chicken is not a prolific layer, producing only about three to four medium-sized eggs per week is highly prized for its egg color. These chickens lay stunning light blue eggs that are every bit as nutritious and delectable as brown or white eggs.
While it has been established that blue eggs contain more protein and less cholesterol than other colors of Ameraucana Chicken eggs, the eggs are undoubtedly beautiful to look at! Regrettably, Ameraucana chickens have a reputation for being late layers. You should not expect any eggs until at least 18 weeks, but some people have had their Ameraucanas lay eggs for up to seven months.
They tend to lay during the cold months of the year (including those with limited amounts of daylight). Regularly providing treats to your Ameraucana chicken can also help promote winter laying. These chickens do not lay eggs daily, but the egg’s gorgeous color will make the wait worthwhile when they do. On average, you will receive up to 200 eggs per year.
Is the Ameraucana Chicken Excellent for Meat Production?
Ameraucana chickens can undoubtedly be raised for meat, but the results may be disappointing. These chickens grow slowly, and while they have a reasonable feed conversion rate, they will not produce large quantities of meat. It will taste fine but growing out an Ameraucana will take a long time.
Additionally, because these chickens are small, they will produce little meat even after reaching full adulthood. The white meat may be sparse but delectable, whereas the dark meat may be pretty tough.
Broodiness and Mothering Abilities
Ameraucanas rarely exhibit broodiness. While hens may become broody on occasion, this is not a defining characteristic of the breed and is not something you should consider when deciding to raise Ameraucanas.
As previously stated, Ameraucanas do not frequently go broody, but the hens are known to be exceptional mothers when they do. They are nurturing and protective, and although they are not particularly aggressive chickens, they will do an outstanding job of keeping predators away from their chicks.
Caring for Your Ameraucanas
Ameraucanas are easy-to-care-for chickens that require little specialized care. Their nutritional requirements are identical to those of the rest of your flock.
You’ll want to feed them a primary layer feed – if you have roosters, use a game bird feed to avoid adding too much calcium to the diet, and supplement with oyster shell for your hens only.
Additionally, you can provide them with additional treats or other protein sources during the fall and winter months. This will provide your chickens with the nutrients and calories they require to molt successfully in the fall and to survive the colder winter months.
While designing a coop for your Ameraucana, keep in mind that they require slightly more space than other birds, particularly their diminutive size.
Provide a minimum of four square feet in the coop and ten square feet in the run for each bird. Provide ample opportunities for free-ranging as well.
However, you must ensure that this ranging area provides adequate protection from predators. Ameraucanas have high muffs that obscure their vision when on the lookout for predators.
Assure that your pen is enclosed or provides ample cover for your Ameraucanas if a predator approaches.
Health Issues of the Ameraucana Chicken
The Ameraucana chicken is frequently confused with its parent breed, the Araucana. While Araucanas are well-known for their health problems, Ameraucanas are a relatively healthy breed. On average, they will live about seven to eight years – although you should keep in mind that they will cease to be productive after this time and will need to be housed as pets.
Certain Ameraucanas have been reported to live longer than ten years, but this requires a particular diet, little predator exposure, and superior genetics.
Ameraucanas thrive in moist environments, and climate should not be a significant factor in determining how healthy an Ameraucana will be in your area. Due to their small pea combs and lack of wattles, these chickens thrive in the cold – frostbite is a rare occurrence.
Additionally, they perform well in the heat, not quickly overheating due to their small size. Bear in mind, however, that you’ll want to keep an eye out for heat exhaustion during the hottest months, as their small combs make it more difficult for them to release heat.
Benefits of Raising the Ameraucana Chicken
Ameraucana chickens are known for their obedience and friendliness, making them an excellent choice if you’re looking for a breed that won’t harass your other birds or pets.
These chickens are adaptable to both cold and warm climates, but it is critical to provide weather-appropriate housing resistant to moisture and drafts.
Ameraucana chickens are self-sufficient and excel as foragers. They will roam freely if given the opportunity.
They are not known to be fliers, and they are also quite efficient at consuming food. Due to their moderate size – not too large, not too small – you will not notice a significant increase in your feed costs when raising one of these chickens.
Another advantage of raising Ameraucana chickens is their moderate egg production.
There is undoubtedly a niche market for these eggs – they are uncommon in most supermarkets, which means that your blue eggs will be a hot commodity among your friends and neighbors!
Challenges of Raising the Ameraucana Chicken
There are few reasons to avoid raising Ameraucana chickens. While these chickens adapt well to most environments, they are not ideal for confinement.
They can tolerate brief confinement in the coop on occasion but prefer to spend their time foraging outside. If you choose to confine Ameraucanas, ensure that you provide adequate space (including nesting areas) for these birds. As with other behavioral issues, the Ameraucana chicken’s demeanor is similar to that of different breeds.
Individuals in your flock will exhibit some natural variation – and roosters can be irritable at times – but they are not overly aggressive, and you will not encounter any issues with the Ameraucana more than with other breeds.
The Difference Between Ameraucana and Easter Egger?
The one significant disadvantage of raising Ameraucana chickens that you should be aware of is their availability. Numerous hatcheries and other breeders sell chickens commonly referred to as “Americauna” or “Americana.” Take care with your spelling – this is not a simple grammatical error. Often, it is an entirely different breed.
This is a common marketing strategy employed by hatcheries; in most cases, these chickens are Easter Eggers, not Ameraucanas.
Easter Eggers are a prevalent breed of chicken that is also known for their beautiful blue eggs. It is not, however, a genuine, recognized breed. While there is nothing wrong with hybrid chickens, you should understand the difference – if you prefer to hatch your own Easter Egger chicks, you may end up with a wide variety of birds that look nothing like their parents.
Therefore, when purchasing Ameraucana chicks, hatching eggs, or adult birds, it is critical to pay close attention to the marketing of the birds. Pure Ameraucanas are pretty expensive and will not be advertised as “not for exhibition.”
Even if you have no intention of exhibiting your birds or hatching your eggs, owning a true Ameraucana is essential to you; avoid these breeds. Ameraucanas are occasionally compared to similar breeds such as Salmon Faverolles and Legbars. Legbars have crested heads and lay beautiful blue eggs, but they can be challenging to find in hatcheries. Salmon Faverolles share many of the Ameraucana’s defining characteristics but do not lay blue eggs.
Should I Raise an Ameraucana Chicken?
The Ameraucana chicken is a beautiful and rare breed worth considering for your backyard flock if you can find chicks for sale! Although they are somewhat pricey, having lovely light blue eggs is definitely worth the investment.
The Ameraucana chicken is a beautiful, docile addition to your backyard flock that can brighten up your chicken coop, and its eggs can also add a splash of color to your breakfast plate.
In the United States, the Ameraucana is still considered a rare breed. If you can afford to purchase some of these beautiful birds, they are well worth the investment. As previously stated, the Araucana and Ameraucana are considered the same breed in Australia, the United Kingdom, and several other countries, confusing! The Ameraucana is a stunning addition to any flock, both in terms of plumage and colored egg-laying.