Frequently Asked Questions about Ameraucana Chickens

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about Ameraucana Chickens...

What is an Ameraucana Chicken? 
A chicken is an Ameraucana when it meets the American Poultry Association's (APA) and/or the American Bantam Association's (ABA) breed description and meets a variety (color) description or breeds true at least 50% of the time, whether the variety is recognized or not. There are actually two breeds of Ameraucana: bantam and large fowl.
Who created Ameraucana Chickens?
The 8 original recognized varieties of bantam Ameraucana chickens were originally developed by three breeders: Mike Gilbert of Wisconsin; Jerry Segler of Illinois & John W Blehm of Michigan. 
Some varieties were created about the same time by different breeders working independently. In those cases the names of both breeders are listed.
Black – Jerry Segler
Blue – Jerry Segler, Mike Gilbert
Blue Wheaten – Mike Gilbert 
Brown Red – Jerry Segler, Mike Gilbert
Buff – Mike Gilbert & John Blehm (co-creators, working together)
Silver – Jerry Segler
Wheaten – Mike Gilbert (The first Ameraucana Chickens)
White – Jerry Segler
These recognized varieties of large fowl (LF) Ameraucana chickens were originally developed by three breeders: Mike Gilbert of Wisconsin; Wayne Meredith of Wisconsin & John W Blehm of Michigan. 
Some varieties were created about the same time by different breeders working independently. In those cases the names of both breeders are listed.
Black – John Blehm
Blue – John Blehm
Blue Wheaten – Wayne Meredith 
Brown Red – Mike Gilbert, John Blehm 
Buff – John Blehm 
Self Blue - what the APA/ABA calls "Self Blue" is really the "Lavender" variety which was originally developed by John W Blehm  
Silver – John Blehm, Mike Gilbert
Wheaten – Wayne Meredith 
White – Wayne Meredith, John Blehm
Who decided which attributes the Ameraucana breed would consist of? 
Because general agreement among fanciers could not be reached, certain American Poultry Association (APA) officials created an Araucana standard and imposed it on the public in 1976 without benefit of the normally required qualifying process. Quite obviously this standard was originally a goal to be strived for, but birds were subsequently developed meeting it's requirements. In contrast, 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 it's traits via majority vote. 
Which varieties are recognized by the American Bantam Association (ABA) and by the American Poultry Association (APA)? 
Eight varieties of bantams (miniatures) have been recognized by both organizations since 1984. They are: Black, Blue, Blue Wheaten, Brown Red, Buff, Silver, Wheaten, and White. These same eight varieties were also recognized in large fowl by the APA, in 1984. The Self-Blue variety of large fowl was recognized by the APA in 2020. The Splash variety of large fowl was admitted in 2023. The Self-Blue variety of bantams was recognized by the ABA in 2021 and the Splash in 2022. 
What Ameraucana Egg Shell Color 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. An Ameraucana Chicken Egg Color Reference Chart is on the back cover of the Ameraucana Handbook, but it is only for referencing or comparing egg shell colors.
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 are Easter Egg chickens? 
The Ameraucana Alliance 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, Splash Wheaten Ameraucanas breed true and are not Easter Eggers.)
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. Many day-old chicks 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. 
Aren't Araucanas the "original" breed of colored-egg chicken? 
Although the APA Standard claims some Araucanas came from South America, it isn't true. The ABA Standard is correct in stating that Araucanas, as described in our 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 in the Midwest of the U.S., 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 tufted-rumpless fowl were used to create any of the recognized varieties of Ameraucanas. Ameraucanas weren't bred up from Araucanas and Araucanas weren't bred up from Ameraucanas. Both were created from Easter Eggers. Both breeds have 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 Easter Egger mongrels by advertising them as Araucanas or Ameraucanas, it takes much more than eggshell color to make a true breed. 
Where can I get a list of Ameraucana breeders to try to obtain hatching eggs and/or birds? 
Check our Ameraucana Directory for eggs and birds. We also offer our Ameraucana Forum with the sub-forum Ameraucana Marketplace.  It is designed to provide a place to buy and sell Ameraucana chickens, eggs and related items. Only club members can post on the Ameraucana Forum.