With large expressive eyes, Ameraucana chickens could just be the inspiration for the angry hen stereotype in cartoons.
But there’s more to this rare chicken than their eyes, multicolored feathers, and the lovely blue eggs they lay!
You’ll see online that lots different types of chickens are sold as Ameraucana chickens.
This breed of chicken is easily confused with the Araucana chicken and Easter Eggers – especially since both breeds lay blue eggs.
Araucana vs Ameraucana vs Easter Egger are common subjects in forums and threads, but Ameraucana chickens have a few stand out characteristics that separate it from the other blue egg layers.
From afar, you’d see a beautiful creature that does not look like the average chicken in the coop. Now, let’s inspect the Ameraucana chicken from head to toe.
About Ameraucana Chickens – Breed Characteristics, History, & Personalities
For a little bit of storytelling, Ameraucana chickens originated in the United States.
Agricultural scientists created this breed, hoping to preserve the genetics of the South American, blue-egg laying Araucana chicken – but also to eliminate its lethal gene that can kill the chick while inside the shell.
Eventually, the Pratt Experimental Farm in Pennsylvania got the right genes together sometime in the early 70’s.
And yes, most breeds of chickens are not considered “true chicken breeds” by most people until the American Poultry Association (APA) says so, and eight varieties later it was finally recognized by APA and American Bantam Association (ABA) in the 1980s.
Ameraucana chickens have a beautiful curved beak, large eyes, and a red “pea” comb. This pea comb, together with the wattles and the round earlobes, should be red.
Ameraucana chickens also appear to have a “beard of feathers” and adorable muffs that sometimes almost cover their face.
This makes them charming – giving you more reason to own and breed one, if the chicken gods would permit you to find Ameraucana chickens for sale.
If closely compared the Araucana and Easter Eggers, Ameraucanas will also have a well spread, full tail. (Araucana chickens, on the other hand, are “rumpless.”
This chicken breed also sports a few uncanny characteristics like having blue slate shanks and bottoms.
Are Ameraucanas Cold Hardy?
Most chicken breeds (like Silkies) are cold hardy, and Ameraucanas are no exception – ours have always done better in winter than summer.
Our Ameraucanas don’t really like going out in the snow, but because they have small pea combs and smaller wattles, they are resistant to frostbite on these areas.
They also lay well during colder seasons.
Offering your flock extra treats during the colder months can lift their spirits and provide extra protein.
Can Ameraucana Chickens Fly?
Ameraucana chickens can fly short distances and enjoy the view from a tree branch. They’re smaller and lighter framed than other heavier chicken breeds (like buff orpingtons and brahmas, for example), so it’s easier for them to catch some air for lift off.
They won’t fly long distances or even leave your farm, though.
How Long Do Ameraucana Chickens Live?
While backyard Araucanas can live more than 10 years, the actual lifespan of your Ameraucana chick can vary greatly depending on its diet, genetics and exposure to predators.
What Is The Difference Between Easter Eggers And Ameraucana Chickens?
Easter eggers are hybrids, usually a mix between Ameraucana or Araucana chickens and a brown egg layer, such as a Rhode Island Red.
They come from different breeds with one parent having the blue egg laying gene.
Unlike Ameraucana chickens, Easter Eggers don’t just lay blue eggs – they can lay brown, green, or even pink eggs – a veritable rainbow of egg colors.
If you’ve heard of lavender Ameraucana chicken eggs, you’re likely thinking of Easter Eggers. Both make wonderful pets!
The Ameraucana chicken egg color is blue – not lavender, however.
Also, they do not breed true, so even if you breed 2 Easter Egger chickens together, there’s no telling what characteristics the offspring will have. No two Easter Eggers look exactly the same.
Personally, I like this “grab bag” approach to breeding, but the bottom line is breeding two Easter Egger chickens together can have some surprising and offbeat results.
Types of Ameraucana Chickens
Be ready to have a colorful flock when you have these clucking in your coop or grazing in your backyard. Each variety come in different sets of color.
So, What Colors Do Ameraucana Chickens Come In?
The recognized Ameraucana chicken colors (all Ameraucana chicken breeds colors) are:
- brown red,
- buff silver,
- blue wheaten,
- wheaten, and
Some breeders are also working on new varieties like black gold and also lavender! How wonderful would those be?
The blacks and blues are the most common Ameraucana colors.
The black Ameraucana chicken is purely black with shiny coal black feathers aside from the red wattles, ears, and comb.
The same is true for the white Ameraucana chicken – except it’s snow white and not black.
Don’t expect sky-blue chickens to grow from a Blue Ameraucana chicken, though.
The blues of this breed are more of an ashy blue. This color is derived from the black Ameraucana chicken that has been diluted with the blue gene.
The Ameraucana recognized variety, buff, is also quite interesting to look at, with its contrasting golden buff color and blue legs.
You might also be confused with the wheaten and blue wheaten color. It’s quite simple: blue feathers on blue wheatens will replace the black feathers on regular wheatens for both hens and roosters.
Just be aware that when you raise Ameraucana chicks, you’ll only be able to distinguish what color they will be as adults when they start feathering out. This is especially true if you get them from a hatchery, rather than a local dealer where you can see the parent stock.
Until then, you can only fantasize and stare at an ameraucana chicken color chart hoping they would turn out to be the colors you want to have.
I want the Ameraucana recognized variety blue myself.
Expect in general that males would have more orange tint with blue and gray shanks.
Anyway, no matter what color your chicks turn out to be they’re guaranteed to have blue eggs in different shades as long as they are genuine/pure breeds.
There is also a “standard” size and bantam size for this breed.
A standard Ameraucana chicken can weigh up to 4.5 – 6.5 lbs and stand up to 18” tall. Ameraucana bantam chickens are the cuter versions that grow half the size of a standard – and bantam chickens in general tend to be more cuddly with their humans than regular-sized chickens. You can buy the bantam versions from these hatcheries.
Are Ameraucanas Good Egg Layers?
There is no questioning the capabilities of the Ameraucana for egg production. They are one of the most productive egg laying breeds known to give at least 250 to 300 eggs a year, weighing approximately 53 – 60 grams.
Those are some nice, big, blue eggs!
Do Ameraucana Chickens Lay Eggs Everyday?
On the average, they produce 3-6 eggs a week, more in their first laying year. The exact amount they’ll lay – and whether they lay consistently – will depend on their diet and environment. It’s always best to provide a high-quality layer feed with at least 16% protein and plenty of calcium.
Note that chickens who do not have a good diet, or who free range for most of their nutrients, or have experienced some sort of stress, might not lay as well. You can explore reasons chickens stop laying eggs here.
What Age Do Ameraucana Chickens Lay Eggs?
They start laying eggs at about 6-7 months old, although it can depend on certain factors, such as the individual chicken, her diet, the time of year, etc. Pullets that reach the 7 month mark during the darkest days of winter might not lay until spring, since 12-14 hours of light is needed to spur egg production. Once your hens do start laying, offer them a high quality layer feed with plenty of calcium.
Some breeders would say that it’s quite a long time before they start laying, but pretty colored eggs are worth the wait. When your hens start producing eggs, make sure they don’t go through too much stress like change in environment or feeding. Stressed hens might just stop laying.
Their eggs aren’t only coveted for their unique and gorgeous blue color. Ameraucana chicken eggs are one of the healthiest, with low cholesterol and rich flavors.
This breed can be misunderstood because there is a variety of Ameraucana chicken temperaments. Looks are deceiving for this breed.
A lot of breeders would testify that it is a friendly breed and easy to tame. They can be fun to watch when they start being curious and explore the backyard.
To give a piece of advice though, you might need to think twice about picking them up for a cuddle. These mild chickens are also easily spooked when they are not used to having humans around and can be broody.
The exception are well-handled bantam varieties.
In Ameraucana flocks, males are dominant. They protect hens when in they’re in trouble, but they can be aggressive too. It is a good practice to separate the males from females when they’re not breeding if the roosters are being difficult.
While they enjoy free-ranging and enjoying mother nature’s treat, this is a breed that doesn’t mind confinement. They can easily adjust and thrive cooped up, as long as their environment is set up to reduce stress.
You can provide them treats and toys to keep them entertained.
Starting to think Ameraucana chickens are for you? Let me know – leave a comment below! (Feature image courtesy of Royale Photography [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)])
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.