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.
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, lavender Ameraucanas breed true and are not Easter Eggers.)
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.