Who doesn’t love a great blue egg laying breed like Araucana chickens?
Blue eggs are one of those fun perks of owning backyard chickens….but not all blue egg layers are the same. (Even though they’re easily confused and mis-marketed).
If you’ve been wondering what this super cool (and rare) breed of chicken is about, then read below to learn all about Araucanas, including their particular breed characteristics and how to spot the real deal from their closely related kin, Ameraucanas, Easter Eggers, and Cream Legbars!
Araucanas are a chicken breed native to Chile and have distinctive tufts of feathers (called peduncles) that protrude near their ears.
The tufts are present at birth (so if your Araucana doesn’t have them as chicks, they won’t develop them), and chickens can have no tufts, or just single tuft, or two tufts. Two tufts are considered ideal for the breed.
Araucanas are rumpless (meaning they don’t have tail bones like most chicken breeds)) with small pea combs. They’re possibly the only chicken breed native to the Americas, and the name Araucana comes from the Araucania region of Chile.
Araucanas are commonly confused with Ameraucanas, a breed developed in the United States in the 1970s, based on the Araucana breed, but they are two distinct breeds. The name Ameraucana is a cross between American and Araucana.
Adult males weigh about 5 pounds while hens lay about 4 pounds, making them one of the smaller breeds of chickens.
It’s important to remember that if you’re looking to raise purebred Araucanas, to buy chickens that adhere to the traditional characteristics of the breed.
They should lay blue eggs, be recognized colors, exhibit the tufts, and be rumpless. You can use these characteristics to be sure the chickens you’re buying are truly the correct breed.
There’s definitely characteristics that differentiate Araucanas, Ameraucanas, Easter Eggers, and Cream Legbars! As always, it’s best to seek out a reputable breeder (more information on this at the end of this article.)
Ameraucana who also displays the tufts:
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This is Hawk, an Ameraucana. <3 She's about 2 years old, and lays blue eggs! Finally, blue eggs on the farm! We tried getting blue eggs for years, but forces of nature always worked against us….until Hawk! What color eggs have you always wanted, but just can't seem to get?
Both full sized Araucana chickens and bantam breeds are recognized, and recognized color varieties in the United States include black breasted red, silver duckwing, golden duckwing, black, and white.
The bantam variety also include buff as a recognized color.
Eggs laid per year and color
Araucanas lay blue eggs, and on average they lay 260 eggs annually. The blue laying gene is a genetic anomaly possibly caused by a retrovirus or way back in the evolution of the Araucana breed. (You can tell of an Araucana egg is truly a blue egg by looking at the interior of the shell.)
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Got this blue egg today for the first time. Pretty sure it was Hawk who laid it, although there's two pullets about the same age I bred that are candidates, but they're olive egger crosses so most likely they would lay dark green or brown eggs. This one looks kind of like a large robin's egg.
Raising Araucana Chicks
They can be a bit tricky to hatch yourself, and according to the Araucana Club of America “Where most breeds get hatch rates of 90%; Araucana breeders get successful hatches (double tufted & rumpless) of anywhere from 55% to 25%, including the posthatch period.”
What its like owning Araucana chickens
Araucanas are a fun chicken breed to own and despite their smaller size, they can lay nice big eggs.
Not all Araucanas enjoy a lot of human attention, so it’s important to spend time with them frequently when they’re chicks and spend a lot of time feeding them treats if you want lap chickens.
They don’t require special feed, are docile, and the hens don’t get aggressive during brooding.
Where you buy Araucanas
You can buy Araucanas at most major hatcheries however you should also seek a reputable breeder to ensure you’re getting true Araucanas and not Ameraucana or Easter Egger chickens.
You can buy hatching eggs, baby chicks, and started chickens. For a full list of Araucana breeders, you can visit the Araucana Club of America at http://www.araucana.net/breeders/.
For more information about Araucanas in the United States at Araucana Club of America.
Image of Araucana: By User:Anne Cushing – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24475773
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.