There are many breeds of chickens and one of the most versatile for your backyard is the Ameraucana chicken. Find out why this type of chicken is so versatile and just what makes their eggs so special.
What is an Ameraucana Chicken? Ameraucana chickens are a hearty backyard chicken that is best known for the blue eggs they produce. While Ameraucanas and Easter Egger chickens are often confused for each other, they are different breeds and you should go through a certified breeder to ensure you get the right chickens. Ameraucana chickens are friendly and social, especially with other chickens. They are happy to be live in the backyard and are extremely healthy. You don’t have to worry about health issues, and as long as their coop is dry, they are fine living outside in the winter.
Ameraucana Chicken Origin and History
Ameraucana chickens originated as a breed called Araucana chickens in Chile. Araucana chickens lay blue eggs but also have a lethal gene mutation that can cause fatalities.
Araucana chickens were brought to the United States in the 1970s and this gene mutation was bred out of them, although the distinguishable blue eggs remain. As a result, their original name was combined with the word America, to form the new name of Ameraucana.
In 1984, the Ameraucana breed was officially recognized by the American Poultry Association.
What are Ameraucana chickens good for?
Ameraucana chickens make excellent backyard pets. They are great at laying eggs, of which the color just happens to be blue.
These chickens are smart, docile, and social, making them great pets.
Ameraucana Chicken Characteristics
Size and Weight
Female Ameraucana chickens weigh about 4 to 5 pounds while male Ameraucana chickens weigh 6 to 7 pounds.
There is a bantam breed of Ameraucana chickens. In this breed, females weigh about 1.6 pounds while males weigh about 1.8 pounds.
Ameraucanas make great backyard chickens. They are lively and friendly, although they do scare easily if there are loud noises or sudden movements.
If you have a flock of Ameraucanas, you may hear a chattering noise, as if they are talking to each other. However, while they are happy with other chickens of the same breed, they don’t always like other farm animals, so it’s best if they remain backyard animals.
While Ameraucanas like to be social, they don’t always like to be picked up and pet. If you have small children, they are good chickens, but there are friendlier breeds you might like better.
Color and Appearance
Ameraucana chickens have quite a plethora of colorings. They can be a mixture of brown, white, black, and even blue. As a result, it is often hard to describe exactly what this breed looks like.
Because of their thick feathers, Ameraucana chickens are quite hardy. They do well in backyards that are exposed to winter conditions, making them one of the most versatile chickens.
Around their faces, Ameraucana chickens have a beard and a muff. As a result they can look a bit silly.
For eyes, expect a deep red color that is quite sharp. For legs, expect a black or slate blue color with no feathers.
As a whole, Ameraucana chickens are not very broody. While you might get the odd hen who becomes broody, this is not a regular occurrence.
For egg production, Ameraucanas are late starters. They won’t lay eggs until they are 4 to 5 months old, and some may not start producing until they are 7 months old.
If your Ameraucanas still aren’t laying eggs, you can put golf balls in their nesting area to try and kickstart their production.
Of all the breeds of chickens, Ameraucauna are some of the healthiest. Unlike their ancestors, this breed is quite healthy and there isn’t anything special to be aware of.
While you always want to be careful about predators, Ameraucana chickens are quite smart and are not aggressive. They don’t go looking for a fight and therefore live longer.
Ameraucana chickens will live to be 7 to 8 years old. This is at the higher end of the age spectrum for backyard chickens, which is why they are a good breed to have.
Because Ameraucana chickens are such a healthy bird, their meat quality is great. While their main purpose is as a backyard chicken that produces eggs, there is still a market for Ameraucana chicken meat.
You can use Ameraucana chicken meat in any recipes.
Poultry Uses or Purpose
Ameraucana chickens are mainly raised for their egg production. While they don’t produce as many eggs as other breeds, you can still expect about 150 to 200 eggs per year.
This isn’t enough to sell to a supermarket but depending on how many chickens you have, it is enough to feed your family as well as create a small road-side stand.
While there was a belief that blue eggs are higher in nutritional value, this has now been dispelled as a myth. However, blue eggs are just as nutritious as brown eggs or white eggs.
Furthermore, the blue eggs are nice to look at, which may make them more sellable.
Poultry Breed Standard
Ameraucana chickens are different from Americana chickens, also known as Easter Eggers. Easter Eggers are also blue egg-laying chickens but they are a hybrid chicken, bred by an Ameraucana and another breed.
While there is nothing bad about Easter Eggers, they are not a pure breed and therefore cost less than Ameraucanas, usually around $5. You don’t want to be scammed out of your money.
According to the American Poultry Association there are universal breed standards of Ameraucanas.
The pea comb should be red. If there is a wattle, it should also be red as well as small, although it can also be non-existent.
Their eyes should have a reddish bay color and have both a beard and a muff. The standard for an Ameraucana tail is carried upright at 45 degrees to the body.
The eight colors recognized for Ameraucanas are blue, black, blue-wheaten, brown-red, white, wheaten, buff, and silver.
Do Ameraucana chickens lay edible eggs?
|Egg color||Light blue|
|Egg size||Standard medium size|
|Egg quality||Good size of yolks and white |
Similar to white and brown eggs
|Egg yearly production||3 to 4 eggs per week|
150 to 200 eggs per year
Raising Ameraucana Chicken: Benefits
There are many benefits of raising Ameraucana chickens. They are quite friendly and docile, which makes them quickly become part of the family.
While some Ameraucana chickens don’t like being picked up, each chicken’s temperament is different and if you raise them from chicks, they will quickly become used to different family members.
Ameraucanas produce a good amount of eggs which are a lovely blue color. They are nutritious and delicious.
One last benefit of Ameraucana chickens is that they are very healthy birds. They don’t need special treatments and therefore require a lot less work than other breeds.
Requirements of Raising Ameraucana Chicken
Your Ameraucana chickens should be fed like all other chickens. They need daily fresh pellets as well as access to grit and fresh water.
These chickens love table scraps such as vegetable peels, grains, and bread.
Just watch out for food that has hidden sugars in them. While apples can be a tasty treat, they have a lot of natural sugars. The same goes for a lot of cereals and grains.
Ameraucana chickens are a good size, so they need a bit of extra space to move around. They need both a coop and an area to move around as they don’t like to be confined.
While Ameraucanas do well in cold climates, their shelter should protect them from the elements. Make sure a part of their space is windproof and there is a roof to protect them from rain and snow.
The coops for Ameraucanas should be windproof and waterproof. As long as they are protected from the elements, they don’t need a heater in the winter.
How much are Ameraucana chickens worth?
Ameraucana chickens cost about $15. If you buy unsexed baby chicks, you can purchase them for as little as $10. If you wait to ensure you are getting Ameraucana hens, expect to pay at least $20.
Their affordable price is just one of the reasons so many people choose this breed as a backyard chicken.
If the price is closer to $5 for hens, then you are probably being sold Easter Egger chickens instead.
Is the Ameraucana Chicken Right For You?
Ameraucana chickens should definitely be considered if you’re looking for backyard chickens. They are social and like other chickens of the same breed.
While they don’t produce a lot of eggs, it is a steady amount that you can enjoy year-round. Furthermore, the blue eggs they lay are gorgeous.
If you have small children this might not be the right breed for you, as they can be a bit timid around loud noises. However, all chickens are different and if you raise them from chicks, they can grow and become accustomed to a busy household.
Ameraucana chickens lay beautiful blue eggs and are friendly birds. Their smartness and social enjoyment make them a great backyard chicken.