Posted by Sherry Klaus, Thu, Feb 11, 2020
I have now been raising, breeding and showing the Ameraucana breed of chicken for five years. I have come to love this purebred breed for its very docile temperament, unique physical traits and fun personality. Finding the right breed for me, however, was a journey that consisted of first raising other breeds and doing my research.
How It All Started
While I now primarily raise Ameraucana chickens, I first fell in love with this hobby while raising Easter Eggers, which are known for laying a variety of colored eggs. Easter Eggers are oftentimes a hybrid, or mix of breeds, with one breed usually being the Ameraucana. Therefore, Easter Eggers and Ameraucanas are different, but do share some similar qualities. Raising Easter Egger chickens spawned my interest in pursuing other breeds, which led me to the Ameraucana.
A Purebred Breed
I joined the breed club “Ameraucana Alliance” to learn more about the Ameraucana breed. The fact that Ameraucana chickens are purebred means that they are true to distinct standards set by the APA (American Poultry Association). This standard is similar to those set by breed clubs for dogs, cats and horses.
Easter Eggers and Ameraucana breeds are often mistaken for each other because they can have both beards and muffs. A beard is a cluster of feathers found on the upper throat of some fowl. Muffs are a cluster of feathers that project away from the face and travel below and around the sides of the eyes, extending from the beard and covering the lobes. Beards and muffs are genetic traits that are always present in the Ameraucana and sometimes present in the Easter Egger fowl.
Hatchery vs. Breeder
Prior to joining the breed club, I had purchased only from hatcheries. Once I started learning more about the Ameraucana and the benefits of purchasing from breeders I began purchasing solely from breeders, though there are both hatcheries and breeders that can mistake Easter Eggers for Ameraucanas. The hatcheries and breeders that mix Easter Eggers and other breeds of chicken cannot guarantee blue eggs from the offspring of this mix. The offspring’s egg color can be among several shades of brown, blue or green.
The Ameraucana currently comes in eight (soon to be nine) recognized color varieties. Those colors are White, Blue, Wheaten, Blue Wheaten, Black, Buff, Silver, Brown-Red and soon to be Self-Blue (also known as Lavender). Ameraucanas also come in a smaller version of these larger fowl. The smaller-size breed is called a bantam. I have raised White Ameraucanas for five years, as well as Lavender (aka Self-Blue).
I am now working with Blue, Black and Splash. Splash is diluted from Blue and not recognized by the American Poultry Association. It’s a common color produced from breeding Blues. Breed clubs and I are hopeful that this color will achieve recognition by any and all poultry associations someday soon.
Should you choose to purchase these birds, you will not be sorry. They are beautiful birds with bright and cheerful eggs and make for wonderful addition to any flock.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT AMERAUCANA CHICKENS
- They lay blue eggs and can vary in shade of blue
- Their pea combs generally do not get frostbitten because they are small, making them a great breed for cooler areas
- They are known for laying 270 eggs a year
- They are known for their beards and muffs
- The Ameraucana is a medium-size breed and eats less
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