What are the major differences
between Ameraucana and Araucana chickens?
What are Easter Egg chickens?
Aren't Araucanas the
"original" breed of colored-egg chicken?
Are Ameraucanas just mongrels
produced by crossing Araucanas with other breeds of domestic chickens?
Who decided which attributes the
Ameraucana breed would consist of?
Which varieties are recognized by
the American Bantam Association and by the American Poultry Association?
Where can I get a list of
Ameraucana breeders to try to obtain hatching eggs and/or birds?
Are blue eggs, from Ameraucanas
and Araucanas, lower in cholesterol than white and brown eggs?
What are the major differences between Ameraucana and Araucana
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
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.
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)
What are Easter Egg chickens?
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, lavender
Ameraucanas breed true and are not Easter Eggers.)
Aren't Araucanas the "original" breed of colored-egg
Although the APA
Standard claims some Araucanas came from South America, the ABA Standard is
correct in stating that Araucanas, as described in the our Standards,
originated in the United States.
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,
primarily in the north central U.S.,
to provide a colored egg fowl possessing more practical and true-breeding
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
agreement among fanciers could not be reached, certain American Poultry
Association 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 its' traits via
Which varieties are recognized by the American Bantam
Association and by the American Poultry Association?
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
Where can I get a list of Ameraucana breeders to try to obtain
hatching eggs and/or birds?
Click here for
the ABC Breeders Directory. This website also features the ABC Forum. The
sub-forum Ameraucana Marketplace is designed to provide a place to
buy and sell Ameraucana chickens, eggs and related items.
Are blue eggs, from Ameraucanas and Araucanas, lower in
cholesterol than white and brown eggs?
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.
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