Building up your flock of chickens can be challenging if you do not understand the breeds. If you are looking for beneficial and easy-to-care-for breeds, the Ameraucana breed should be on top of your list.
It made its appearance in the 1970s, which means its unique and relatively new among other breeds.
While it may not look like a suitable breed to keep at first, you will be surprised by how useful it is. This breed is great for rural areas because of its skittish nature. However, it does not do well in suburban areas.
In this article, you will learn more about this breed, including its appearance, behavior, and productivity.
- Ameraucana chickens are among the best egg-laying chicken breeds.
- This chicken breed is very easy for maintaining and will get along with other chicken breeds.
- They need enough space and freedom to run freely.
The History of Ameraucana Chicken
The history of the Ameraucana chicken breed is a little complicated since it’s a relatively new breed. American Poultry Association accepted Ameraucana chicken in 1979 for the bantam and 1984 for the standard.
The Americana chicken is a result of breeding a South American bird known as Araucana with several breeds in the US. The Araucana is known to have some serious genetic issues (which is why this bread is rare). These chickens lay beautiful blue eggs.
In the 1930s, several specimens of the Araucana chicken were shipped to the US, and efforts to improve the breed began. The idea was to eliminate the lethal genes while retaining their blue egg-laying capability.
The project was a success, but the chickens they created had mixed characteristics.
Some had ear tufts, some had none or only one, while others were rumpled. Some had beards, while others did not have any. In the mid-1970s, the formal standard of the Araucana breed was selected, and those deviating from the standard were not recognized.
Some people got together to try and improve the chicken varieties that were not accepted as Araucana. This group of people started the Ameraucana club (the name itself wasn’t official until 1979.)
Today (especially in the UK and Australia) the Araucana chickens and Ameraucana are considered the same breed, regardless of their obvious differences .
Ameraucana Chicken Characteristics
The Ameraucana chicken is unique, which is why its behavior and appearance make all the difference.
The Ameraucana chicken comes in a variety of colors. From black to white and blue to wheaten. The bird is often confused with Easter eggers and Araucanas as they are genetically quite similar.
Ameraucanas have a pea comb and wattles that come in a bright red color. Interestingly, the wattles of Ameraucanas are not a necessary feature of this breed.
The face is unique and features a beard and muff, which gives this breed a fluffy look. The beard and muff are so similar you will have to look very closely to see the difference.
The bird has a U-shaped body that is quite compact. Another unique feature is the tail that is held upright. The bird’s legs should not have any feathers, and each foot should have four toes. The color of the skin is white, the same as the sole of the foot.
The chickens have deep red eyes that look sharp and can be intimidating. They feature puffy cheeks and a skittish personality that makes them less scary. They are beautiful and eye-catching.
If you are looking to add some beauty to your backyard, an Ameraucana breed is a perfect choice.
Unlike most birds with a unique leg color, the leg color of Ameraucanas depends on the plumage. There are several color varieties of plumage, ranging from slate blue to black. Here are the recognized color varieties for the Ameraucana.
- Blue wheaten
- Brown red
When it comes to the size of the bird, Ameraucanas are considered a light fowl. The males weigh about 3 kg while the females are a bit lighter. Bantams weigh about 700 – 800 grams for males and 600 to 700 grams for females.
Ameraucana Personality and Behavior
The Ameraucana chicken is very friendly and is great with kids, pets, and other flock members.
However, it can get scared quickly in the event of sudden movements and loud sounds. The bird prefers a quiet environment which is why this breed is best suited for rural areas.
These chickens love to talk to each other. You will often find them having a conversation out in the yard. They do not have a problem interacting with other chickens or humans as well.
However, friendly as they are, they don’t get along with other farm animals. If you have goats, sheep, cows, or pigs on your farm, you might want to build a special section for your Ameraucanas chickens. This will ensure they have a secure and comfortable space.
Ameraucanas enjoy having people around them. However, they do not like being petted or touched like other backyards chickens. The personality of the Ameraucanas is equally variable. They show a variety of behaviors, which is why it’s sometimes hard to pinpoint all their traits.
This is mainly because of the breed’s upbringing and genetic differences between the varieties. Generally, males tend to be a bit more aggressive and territorial. They will protect their zone and fight back if other males intrude.
The females are very social but also need their personal space. As mentioned, this bird does not portray pet-like behavior and would rather mind its own business.
Ameraucana hens are generally quiet, with the exception of the egg-laying song. As much as the roosters are quite aggressive, they are decent compared to other breeds. They only make noise when irritated. For example, you will notice whistles, chirps, and growls when angry.
Even though they are considered ideal for rural areas, they enjoy suit urban environments as well, thanks to their quiet nature.
They are not the biggest chickens but they need adequate space to feel comfortable. Having enough space can lower their stress levels while managing their skittishness. They are generally docile but require their freedom and exclusivity to live in harmony with other chickens.
Ameraucana chickens will lay blue eggs each week with an average of 4 per week. One of the characteristics that stand out the most with this chicken breed is the color of their eggs .
Their eggs have a light blue shell. On average, the hens can lay about 200 beautiful blue eggs per year, which is a fair amount for a small family. They are known to lay eggs all year round. However, they tend to slow down during their molt months.
The winter months also affect their productivity and may slow down to 2 eggs per week. Recovering after these months is relatively slow and will take a while before they start laying consistently. Sometimes, you might have to wait for up to 7 months before they start laying again.
People do not keep them for their exceptional laying capability, but because of their unique blue eggs.
Ameraucana Chickens Care Guide
The Ameraucana chicken is robust in many aspects and can tolerate a wide range of conditions. Considering they have pea combs, frostbite is not a common issue to worry about in the winter. They adapt well to hot weather, too, as the plumage is not too fluffy.
If you intend to keep Ameraucanas for show or exhibit, you need to make sure you get the actual Ameraucana chicken. Some hatcheries sell non-Ameraucanas or Easter Egger and refer them to Ameraucanas.
An excellent way to determine if you’re buying a standard Ameraucana chicken is by checking the price. If you are paying $5 per bird, they are most likely not authentic Ameraucana.
A true Ameraucana chicken can cost $20 and above. Always check the characteristics of the breed before the purchase.
Generally, Ameraucana chickens are healthy and vigorous birds. There are no specific problems known to the breed. Overall, these chickens can live up to eight years of age or even longer with the right care.
With the fluffy muffs and beard, Ameraucana chickens are prone to having external parasites such as lice and mites. Therefore, it is essential to check for these parasites regularly and treat them immediately you notice any infestation.
Like other chickens in your flock, internal parasites can be a problem. Conducting regular fecal tests and treatments will keep these parasites at bay. If you have a mixed flock, you might want to check with your local veterinarian for dosages and treatment frequencies.
Ameraucanas are good foragers and can feed themselves from the backyard. But, it is essential to supplement their food by providing a standard 16% feed. You can feed them one or two times a day, depending on the number of chickens in your coop.
When winter comes or during the molting season, increase the protein content to 20%. This will ensure they get enough to feather while still getting the nutrients they need in confinement.
It is crucial to provide a safe and comfortable enclosure for your chickens regardless of the breed. For Ameraucanas, however, they need a lot more space than other breeds (about 4 square feet per chicken).
If you allow them to free-range during the day, you can get away with a lot less space. By the end of the day, they will most probably be too tired to roam in the coop. Approximately, 2 square feet per chicken is fine.
Another essential thing to consider when deciding the space to provide is the nesting boxes. The standard size is 30 by 30 cm, and these can do just fine with Ameraucana birds. If you build bigger nesting boxes, you will find several nesting together.
Ameraucana chickens don’t like confinement and prefer to roam freely. If you prefer to confine them, ensure the coop is spacious so they can roam around comfortably. Also, provide them lots of perches and other amusements for entertainment.
If you prefer your chickens to run around, ensure they have enough space. That way, they can run around freely. You can add perches of different heights and boxes they can stand on to increase their space and keep them entertained.
The Bottom Line
The Ameraucana chicken is a fantastic addition to your flock. This is a unique breed and will bring a different vibe to your flock. Not to mention the beautiful Ameraucana chicken eggs.
The chicken is a relatively good layer, which will give you a few blue eggs per week. They are very simple and easy to handle which is the reason what many people buy this breed.