What is an Ameraucana?
So what exactly is an Ameraucana? This question confuses even experienced Chickenistas. Many people confuse Ameraucanas with Araucanas and Easter Eggers. So what’s the difference? Read on…..
This is not an Ameraucana! This is one of our Easter Egger Roosters.
1. Easter Egg Layers or Rainbow Layers (above) are by far the most common blue egg layer sold by most commercial hatcheries, local feed mills, farm supply stores and backyard breeders. This type of chicken is commonly referred to as an “Araucana” or “Americana/Araucana”, but the fact is these chickens are neither a purebred Araucana nor an Ameraucana. They are a mixed-breed/mongrel variety. Some hatcheries are starting to correctly refer to them as “Easter Egg Layers” or “Rainbow Layers”, but many people and hatcheries still erroneously call them “Americanas” (often seen misspelling of Ameraucana) or “Araucanas”.
Easter Egg Layers typically lay an olive or khaki green egg or a pale beige egg sometimes referred to as “pink”, but many lay pastel blue or green eggs as well. Our Easter Eggers lay many lovely shades of green and blue. But laying a blue egg does make them an Ameraucana. Although they come in countless different colors and patterns, they often resemble Ameraucanas with similar feather color and patterns. Some, but not all Easter Egg Layers, sport muffs and/or beards but there is usually no consistency in type or coloring since they are a mixed breed and do not breed true to type. They often have a variety of comb styles and wattles. They may also have yellow beaks and yellow or “willow” (greenish-yellow) shanks and feet and this along with the light to dark green egg shell color may indicate they carry a brown egg breed genetics. These chickens are very popular and make nice backyard layers but they definitely are not an A.P.A. recognized breed nor do they breed true.
If you find chicks at the local feed store labelled “Ameraucanas”, I promise you that they are Easter Eggers. We adore our Easter Eggers and there’s definitely a treasured place for them in any laying flock. The eggs are gorgeous! But it is basically like getting a mutt from the pound. Nothing wrong with that as long as you are aware that’s what you’re getting. If you want a pure breed, you need an Ameraucana or an Araucana.
2. Araucana are not that common in the United States . While the APA claims some Araucanas originated in South America, those described in the APA standard were developed in the US. They are a blue egg laying, “rumpless” (no tail) bird that sport ear tufts, clumps of feathers growing at or near their ear openings and no muff or beard. Despite their somewhat small numbers in the US, it is their name that is most frequently and erroneously used in reference to Easter Egg Layers and Ameraucanas.
3. Ameraucana (above) were developed in the United States and have been recognized by the American Poultry Association since 1984.
Currently the APA only recognizes these 8 specific colors: black, blue, buff, white, silver, brown-red, wheaten, and blue wheaten.
Ameraucanas have a pea comb, a lack of prominent wattles, bay colored eyes (reddish brown), red ear lobes, slate (blue colored) shanks (blacks can have black colored shanks and feet) and feet, and the bottoms of their feet are white. They have horn (neutral and not yellow) colored beaks. They lay various shades of pastel blue to blue-green eggs. They have white, not yellow skin. With their pea combs and lack of wattles, they are very cold hardy. They are mostly non-aggressive and easy to handle birds. They come in both standard (large fowl) and bantam size.
According to the Ameracauna Breeders Club:
The Ameraucana Breeders Club defines an Easter Egg chicken or Easter Egger as any chicken that possesses the blue egg gene, but doesn’t fully meet any breed descriptions as defined in the APA and/or ABA standards. Further, even if a bird meets an Ameraucana standard breed description, but doesn’t meet a variety description or breed true at least 50% of the time it is considered an Easter Egg chicken.
Caution should be exercised when purchasing what some hatcheries, online auction sellers or breeders are claiming to be “purebred Ameraucanas”. Unfortunately many breeders and hatcheries still aren’t breeding according to the APA Ameraucana standard and have off colored plumage, beaks and shanks, single combs, missing muffs and/or beards and so on. These people are not necessarily being deceptive, they are rather uneducated about the breed. On the other hand some hatcheries have been enlightened by ABC members but apparently seem indifferent about the false advertising and continue to sell their birds under an erroneous and misleading name.
Always ask a lot of questions BEFORE you buy.
Refer back to the Ameraucana description provided here to verify the correct type and coloring which may help in determining whether sources have real Ameraucanas or not.
It is advisable to buy from an experienced breeder that is a member of the Ameraucana Breeders Club.
Huckleberry Farm is a member of the Ameraucana Breeders Club and a member in good standing of the American Poultry Association.
It should also be noted that Ameraucanas do not lay white, pink/beige, brown, olive,/khaki green or dark greenish brown or tan eggs but rather varying shades of pastel blue or blue-green eggs.
~Adapted from an excerpt on the Ameraucana Breeders Club website