Ameraucana Chickens and Easter Egg Chickens
Americaunas and Easter Egg Chickens
Ameraucanas and "Easter Egg" chickens are often referred to interchangeably. They are not the same bird, however. What makes distinguishing them difficult is that both Ameraucanas and Easter Egg chickens lay eggs in shades of blue. According to the 4-H Poultry Showing Guide, Ameraucanas may also produce green, aqua and occasionally pink eggs as well.
This breed isn't as popular as other egg-laying breeds, perhaps because it doesn't lay eggs in great quantities. The breed is, however, very popular with people who enjoy unusually colored eggs and children in the 4-H poultry program across the United States.
Not only does this beautiful bird lay various colored eggs, it also has many varieties to choose from. The following are the varieties common in the U.S.:
- Blue Wheaton
- Brown Red
My favorite characteristic of the Ameraucana breed is their muff and beard. This gives them the appearance of having "fluffy cheeks." They are quite beautiful, especially the rooster, which carries its tail at a 45-degree angle.
Other characteristics of the Ameraucana breed include:
- Slate-colored shanks and feet
- Pea comb
- Females carry their tail at a 40-degree angle
- The muff and beard form three, well-rounded, separate lobes
- Wattles are very small or completely absent
Caring for Ameraucana Chickens
The care of this breed is the same as many other breeds. When possible, let them be free range chickens. The roosters can be a little aggressive, so keep them separate from your hens unless you're breeding them, and then for a short time only. They don't play well with other roosters either, as has been my experience with the breed. I haven't had any trouble with cannibalism with this breed, but that isn't to say it wouldn't happen.
My own personal experience with the hens has been that they (and an occasional rooster) enjoy layer crumbles sprinkled with a little bit of crushed oyster shells from my local feed store. With chicks, I buy chick feed to start, followed by feed for growing chickens when they're older, sprinkled with a small amount of chick grit. There are so many types of feed out there—choose from what your feed store has locally. I don't have a preference when it comes to chicken feed as the ingredients are essentially the same everywhere.
My formula for success has been to give chickens plenty of room, a clean pen, plenty of fresh water and food, access to the outdoors in the warmer months and to collect the eggs daily. Generally speaking, if the chickens have these things, they're less susceptible to disease, boredom and less likely to hurt each other.
Buy From a Reputable Hatchery
If you plan on showing these birds, buy your chicks from a reputable hatchery. Some places will sell birds which are mixes of Ameraucanas or Araucanas, which have been bred with other breeds. The end result is a bird that doesn't have the standard breed characteristics required for showing; essentially a Heinz 57 bird.