Frequently Asked Questions

What are the major differences between Ameraucana and Araucana chickens?...

Both breeds lay eggs with shells colored various shades of blue, have pea combs, and should have red earlobes. Beyond that few similarities exist in specimens meeting the requirements of recognized poultry standards. Perhaps 99 percent of chickens sold as Araucanas (or Ameraucanas) by commercial hatcheries are actually mongrels (aka Easter Egg chickens), meeting the requirements of neither breed.

According to the American Poultry Association (APA), the Araucana breed must be rumpless (no tail) and have ear tufts. Ear tufts are clumps of feathers growing from small tabs of skin usually found at or near the region of the ear openings. This feature is unique in the U.S. to the Araucana breed. This trait is nearly always lethal to unhatched chicks when inherited from both parents. Tufted Araucanas, therefore, are always genetically impure, i.e., they don't breed true and will always produce a percentage of "clean-faced" offspring.

The Ameraucana breed, on the other hand, has a tail and sports muffs and beard in the facial area. These characteristics are true-breeding. Other requirements of both breeds may be found in the APA's Standard of Perfection and in the American Bantam Association's (ABA) Bantam Standard.

What are Easter Egg chickens? ...

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. By definition an Easter Egger is not a breed of chicken. (Some have claimed that any variety that isn’t recognized, by the APA/ABA, is an Easter Egger, but that is not true according to the definition above. For example, self-blue Ameraucanas breed true and are not Easter Eggers.)

Aren't Araucanas the "original" breed of colored-egg chicken? ...

Although the APA Standard claims some Araucanas came from South America, the ABA Standard is correct in stating that Araucanas, as described in the APA/ABA Standards, originated in the United States.

Historical evidence does not support the notion that only one type of chicken laid colored eggs in their native South America. No genetic linkage exists that would require colored-egg chickens to be tufted or rumpless. It is true the first recorded imports from Chile combined the traits of rumplessness, ear tufts, and colored eggs - but those birds resulted from a single breeder combining several strains and subsequently misrepresenting them as native fowl. An artist's depiction of the earliest imports in a 1927 National Geographic article served to perpetuate this myth. The Ameraucana breed was formulated and standardized to provide a colored egg fowl possessing more practical and true-breeding characteristics.

Ameraucanas were recognized as a separate and distinct breed in the early 1980's by the APA and by the ABA

Are Ameraucanas just mongrels produced by crossing Araucanas with other breeds of domestic chickens? ...

No. As far as can be determined no tufted-rumpless fowl were used to create any of the eight recognized varieties of Ameraucanas. The Ameraucana breed has specific requirements with regard to shape, weights, coloring, comb, earlobes, and so on. While it is true that commercial hatcheries continue to cash in on crossbred mongrels by advertising them as Araucanas or Ameraucanas, it takes much more than eggshell color to make a true breed.

Who decided which attributes the Ameraucana breed would consist of? ...

Ameraucana bantams were bred first to conform to a proposed standard, then achieved standard recognition through the normal qualifying processes. The small group of breeders who developed Ameraucanas selected its' traits via majority vote.

Which varieties are recognized by the American Bantam Association and by the American Poultry Association? ...

Currently, eight varieties have been recognized by both organizations since 1984. They are: Black, Blue, Blue wheaten, Brown red, Buff, Silver, Wheaten, and White. These same eight specific color patterns are recognized in both large fowl and bantams.

In January 2016, the Ameraucana Breeders Club petitioned the APA for acceptance of the self-blue (lavender) variety in large fowl. The petition was accepted unanimously by the APA Board of Directors at their annual Board Meeting in Modesto, CA. Plans are underway now to meet the required numbers at APA shows in 2016 and 2017, with hopes for the first qualifying meet in 2017

Where can I get a list of Ameraucana breeders to try to obtain hatching eggs and/or birds? ...

The Ameraucana Breeders Club offers several options for searching for breeders of true Ameraucanas.

We are also in the process of adding a new page to our website that will showcase our member's websites and FB pages.

Are blue eggs, from Ameraucanas and Araucanas, lower in cholesterol than white and brown eggs? ...

No. This is a very common question because years ago some hatcheries claimed that these eggs were reported to be lower in cholesterol and higher in nutritional value than other chicken eggs. William O. Cawley, Extension Poultry Specialist at Texas A&M University, wrote a paper, POULTRYDOM'S MYSTERY CHICKEN - THE ARAUCANA, 10/79, that sets the record straight.

What color on the ABC Egg Color Reference Chart is the most desired? ...

Officially, other than "blue" egg shells the club has not and probably won't try to define any other criteria of egg color.  The ABC Egg Color Reference Chart is only a reference and can be used to reference or compare colors.  It gives us a common tool to use in discussing egg color.

The ABC is working on a new concept egg color card, which should be out shortly.

Why aren't my Ameraucanas laying blue eggs? ...

There are many potential answers to that question and the first one would be, are you sure you have true Ameraucanas? There are many people who sell their EEs as true Ameraucanas, sometimes unknowingly, and the poor person who buys them doesn't realize until they start laying, or chicks start hatching, that they don't have the real thing.

If you're satisfied that you have real Ameraucana (got them from a reputable breeder, etc), then the next question would be where in the laying cycle are they? Hens, later in the laying cycle (either seasonal or lifetime), will produce lighter eggs than at the start of the laying season. If you are seeing light colored eggs at the beginning of the laying cycle, then chances are the hen is not carrying both copies of the blue egg gene. It's a fairly simple thing to correct, though, just be sure to breed her to a cock bird that came from a strong line of blue egg layers.

If, however, the issue is not depth of color, but the addition of color (brown over blue is what creates the green eggs credited to the "Olive Egger" chickens), then chances are you have a parent that is not a true Ameraucana, or a newer variety where egg color hasn't been the focus of the breeders. Since all Ameraucanas are, relatively, a new breed, and some of the varieties are newer than others, some of the varieties haven't completely lost all the undesirable traits from the breeds from which they were developed. So you might see greenish eggs and other undesirable traits in Ameraucanas that came from the "parent" breed

The APA and ABA Standards call for a blue egg, but there is a lot of room in that description, with acceptable colors varying from very pale blue to deep blue, and nearly white to a blue egg with a slight green tinge. Brown, tan, or cream-colored eggs, however, should never be accepted in your Ameraucana breeding pens.