It’s not very often you come across a chicken that dazzles and commands attention. So, if the chicken has blue plumage, a beard, muffs, and lays blue eggs, you know you’re in for something truly special!
But, the Blue Ameraucana chicken is not just great for showing or adding some blue spice to your egg carton. The chicken is dual-purpose and good for the table too!
What’s more, the Blue Ameraucana chicken is docile and sociable. So, you’re not just looking at a stunning bird that turns heads. You’re looking also at a bird that’ll make an amazing backyard pet while constantly supplying you with those precious blue eggs which are in high demand!
If you’ve been considering the Blue Ameraucana chicken, here’s everything you need to know to make sure you’re making the right call.
Where does The blue ameraucana chicken come from?
The Blue Ameraucana chicken was developed in the United States. The American Poultry Association only standardized the breed in 1984.
So, you could argue it’s a relatively new breed. But, the history of the bird dates as far back as the 1920s. And in recent times, the breed’s ancestry has been the subject of a lot of heated debates.
Some say the Araucana chicken is the parent stock of the Blue Ameraucana chicken. Others opine that breeders didn’t want the lethal ear-tuft gene present in the Araucana. So, they developed the Ameraucana through selective breeding.
These assertions aren’t true. Let’s dig deeper to find out why.
confusion of names
Both Ameraucana and Araucana chickens are blue egg-laying chickens that the American Poultry Association (A.P.A) recognizes. It doesn’t help that their names sound rather similar. But, they aren’t the same breed.
While the A.P.A standardized the Ameraucana in 1984, they admitted the Araucana into the Standard in 1976. This doesn’t mean the Ameraucana came from the Araucana.
Before 1976, all chickens that lay blue eggs were generally called Araucana chickens. It didn’t matter that they had tails or were rumpless; that they had tufts or were tuftless; that they had beards or not. They were all lumped in one category as Araucana chickens.
But where did these Araucana chickens come from? To understand their origin, let’s go all the way to the early 1990s.
The true story
What happened was Dr. Reuben Bustos of Chile bred the Collonca chicken with another native chicken breed called the Quetro chicken. The Mapuche natives were at the time, keepers of both chicken breeds.
The Collonca was a rumpless breed that laid blue eggs. The Quetro, on the other hand, sported ear tufts – a group of feathers that grow near the ear on each side of the chicken’s head. This combination gave rise to the Collonca de Arêtes – a breed that was both rumpless and had the tufted gene.
Due to Dr. Reuben Bustos’s inability to maintain his stock, the Collonca de Arêtes soon phased out. But the original parent stock – the Quetro and Collonca breeds – was still in existence.
However, the Mapuche clan, keepers of these breeds, had collapsed at the time. So, the Quetro and Collonca chickens copulated with different other chicken breeds.
The result of this was mixed breeds that showed great diversity in how they looked. Some sported beards, others didn’t. Some had tufts, others had none.
A couple of them had tails while others were rumpless. Still, they were all capable of laying blue eggs. And it was these mixed breeds introduced into the United States in the 1900s that became the parent stock of the standardized Araucana and Ameraucana chicken breeds.
How did the blue ameraucana chicken come about?
After the introduction of the mixed breeds into the United States, people started developing the birds anyhow they deemed fit.
Some breeders developed these blue egg-laying chickens to be rumpless and to have tufts. Others grew them to have muffs and beards. People also developed them mainly for their egg color.
Still, all the breeders classified their blue egg-laying chickens as Araucana chickens despite their telling physical disparities.
In 1976, though, the A.P.A decided to standardize as ‘Araucana‘ only the rumpless, tufted variety of the blue egg-laying chicken population.
This development didn’t go down well with breeders who had developed their blue egg-laying variety to grow muffs and beards. Up until this time, they’d also referred to their birds as Araucana chickens.
After much agitation though, these breeders were able to convince the A.P.A to accept their breed into the Standard.
So, in 1984, those blue egg-laying chickens developed to have beards and muffs were recognized by the A.P.A under the new name, Ameraucana.
Is the blue ameraucana chicken an easter egger?
Not quite! The Easter Egger is simply a chicken that can lay blue eggs but falls short of an Araucana or Ameraucana.
The Easter Egger derives from the same parent stock that both Araucanas and Ameraucanas come from. Remember those mixed blue egg-laying chicken breeds introduced into the United States in the 1900s?
So, the Easter Egger can fit any physical description at all. It’s just that the chicken doesn’t fit as a breed recognized by the A.P.A.
Therefore, a chicken may have all the seeming physical features of an Ameraucana, Still, the bird may not qualify as one if she’s been bred in a color not recognized by the A.P.A. Such a chicken is an Easter Egger.
What Does the blue ameraucana chicken look like?
The bLue Ameraucana is a medium-sized chicken. Cocks weigh about 6 1/2 lbs while hens weigh about 5 1/2 lbs.
The Bantam-sized versions though are much smaller with cocks weighing about 1.875 lbs. Hens, on the other hand, weigh about 1.625 lbs.
Don’t expect the Blue Ameraucana chicken to be draped in sky-blue color. You’ll most likely come across a Blue Ameraucana that’s grayish-blue or even dark black!
It’s because the blue coloration in the bird is a recessive gene that simply dilutes any black feather color. Where the chicken in question doesn’t receive any copy of the blue gene, her black feathers will continue being black.
Both the male and female Blue Ameraucana chickens sport small, red pea combs and wattles. Wattles, in most cases, are barely noticeable.
Ear lobes are also small and red while eyes have an auburn color.
Whether male or female, a standard Blue Ameraucana chicken always has a beard accompanied by unique sideburns called muffs.
Muffs, which are fluffy-like feathers growing from each side of the chicken’s head appear full and well-rounded.
Beards, growing under the chin, are also visible and puffy.
The bird also has a beak that appears curved.
The legs of the Blue Ameraucana chicken are of medium length. More importantly, the color of the legs should be slate blue.
The Blue Ameraucana chicken also has only four toes.
A standard Blue Ameraucana cock has his tail well-spread and of medium length. His tail is also carried at 45-degrees above horizontal. For his female counterpart, her tail should be carried at 40-degrees above horizontal.
is the blue ameraucana chicken aggressive?
The Blue Ameraucana chicken is not fighty. But, like any other chicken breed, personalities differ from bird to bird. And once every while, you may find a Blue Ameraucana chicken that’s not very friendly.
Still, the bird is generally sociable and easy-going. She’ll fit in well with other chicken breeds with no issues.
Bear in mind though, that roosters can appear more dominant and territorial. So, you don’t want to keep two or more roosters in a single coop.
The Blue Ameraucana chicken is particularly inquisitive and loves to forage. So, while the breed isn’t at all against confinement, she’s at her very best when left to free range.
You’ll also come to soon realize that while the chicken may love seeing you around, she isn’t exactly the lovey-dovey kind of pet. She scares easily and doesn’t take well to cuddles or petting.
How loud is the blue ameraucana chicken?
This chicken breed isn’t a noisy one and shouldn’t create too many problems for you. Especially where neighbors are close by.
Aside from the odd noise when she lays an egg or is upset, the Blue Ameraucana hen is quiet for the most part.
Her male counterpart, though, can be more annoying.
Cocks will begin crowing when they’re about 4 months old. It’s not easy to tell if a male Blue Ameraucana chicken will be too loud or too quiet. It largely depends on his mood and personality.
If you’re in an urban area, it may not be advisable to keep Blue Ameraucana roosters because of the noise nuisance they’ll create.
How many eggs does the blue ameraucana hen lay in a year?
Generally, a Blue Ameraucana hen will start laying when she’s between 5 and 6 months old. Of course, it may vary from chicken to chicken. Depending on her nutrition and the time of the year, she may lay sooner or later than this period.
The Blue Ameraucana hen is not an egg-laying heavyweight like the Leghorn or Rhode Island Red.
Still, she does an impressive job and will typically lay about 3 to 4 eggs every week. In a good year, you should get about 180 to 200 blue eggs from her!
When she begins laying, her eggs will appear rather small. But, after she lays her first 2 to 3 eggs, the rest that follow should get up to size.
Though a cold hardy breed, the Blue Ameraucana hen won’t lay as regularly in colder climates as she does when it’s warm. She also tends to go broody and generally makes a good mother.
Why do blue ameraucana chickens lay blue eggs?
The Blue Ameraucana chicken is one of the very few chicken breeds that lay light blue eggs. Why does she lay blue eggs? Well, because she’s special! Really, yes.
All eggs start with a white color in the body of any hen. However, in hens that lay colored eggs, a pigment is deposited onto the egg during the egg formation process.
In the Blue Ameraucana hen, this pigment is oocyanin. As the egg makes its way through her oviduct, oocyanin is applied, causing the egg to turn blue!
But, the pigment is added very early during the egg formation process. So, you’ll realize that both the outside and inside of the eggshell are blue.
Are blue eggs better than other eggs?
Well, if by ‘better,’ you mean healthier than or nutritionally superior to say, white or brown eggs, then you’re rather mistaken. There’s no research to prove that.
The color of an eggshell is simply for decorative purposes.
Of course, a blue egg would appear more special or even pricier than the more common brown or white egg. However, their nutritional content is the same.
Is the blue ameraucana chicken hardy?
The Blue Ameraucana chicken is a resilient breed and will flourish in whichever climate she finds herself in.
She’s an exceptional cold-hardy breed. And because of her tiny pea comb and almost non-existent wattles, she’s not prone to frostbites!
How long does the blue ameraucana chicken live?
Ideally, the Blue Ameraucana chicken should live till she’s about 7 or 8 years old. And for chickens, this is a ripe, old age.
Still, how long your pet Blue Ameraucana chicken lives will depend greatly on her genetics, nutrition, and exposure to accidents.
If she doesn’t succumb to predators, diseases, and has access to good food/water, she could go on till she’s even 10 years old!
If you’re looking for the perfect snuggle bug, then the Blue Ameraucana chicken isn’t your guy.
Still, the presence of muffs and a beard make her a delightful creature. And her calm disposition means she’ll do great as a backyard pet.
Chances, however, are that you’re looking to raise the Blue Ameraucana chicken because of her eggs. For that, you’re bang on the money! And you can bet she’s going to keep those magical blue protein balls coming till she retires.