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A Blue Ameraucana cock
|Country of origin||USA|
|Weight||Male: 6.5 lbs.|
|Female: 5.5 lbs.|
|APA||All other breeds|
|Blue egg layer breed|
Gallus gallus domesticus
The Ameraucana is a breed of chicken thought to have been developed in the United States, though it is not clear exactly where they were developed (the Ameraucana Standard chicken is often classified under "All Other" as place of origin). The name is a portmanteau term of American and a related breed, the Araucana. Ameraucanas come in both a large and bantam variety. Eight colors are officially recognized for poultry shows by the American Poultry Association: Black, Blue, Blue Wheaten, Brown Red, Buff, Silver, Wheaten and White. There are several project colors, including Lavender.
Ameraucanas are one of only three chicken breeds to lay blue eggs; the others being the Cream (Crested) Legbar and the Araucana. They bear many similarities to the Araucana, including a pea comb, a beard, and muffs. However, unlike the Araucana, the Ameraucana has a tail. Despite this, some countries, primarily England and Australia, recognize the Ameraucana as a tailed variety of the Araucana instead of its own unique breed.
There are two size variations of this breed; a large variety, and a Bantam, or smaller variety. Bantam cocks weigh 30 ounces and bantam hens weigh 26 ounces while large fowl cocks weigh 6½ pounds and large fowl hens weigh 5½ pounds. Hens of this breed tend to be very broody.
They are exceptional egg layers laying about 250 eggs a year. They lay light blue eggs with the occasional green and start laying at about 5 or 6 months old.
Confusion with Easter Egger chicken
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 description as defined in the APA standards. Further, even if a bird (that possesses the blue egg gene) meets an APA 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.
The American Poultry Association's American Standard of Perfection contains breed and variety descriptions of all recognized standard breed poultry in North America. This means if your bird does not meet a color requirement, it is an Easter Egger. However, it is highly unlikely to see an Easter Egger which meets all APA standards yet doesn't have the correct color. They are almost always mixed birds, or those descended from the Quechua.
While many hatcheries claim to sell "Ameraucanas", "Americanas", or "Araucanas", very few of them meet true APA standards.
The characteristic muff and beard of the Ameraucana are present in U.K. Araucana as these traits are present in the Mapuche and Quechua de Artes founder stock imported into Europe from the Falkland Islands. The fully feathered faces of the founder stock are of vital importance as they insulate the birds against the frigid cold of southern coastal South America. Winds from Antarctica bring the temperatures to below zero for months at a time. Blue egg laying chickens brought to the Falklands by Argentinians, traded from Mapuche and Quechua speaking Indians, were later exported from the Falkland Islands by British guano and fishing fleets. The Ameraucana is descended of U.K. Araucanas brought into North America during the World Fair in Montreal's 1967 Expo. Molecular data retrieved from specimens of known provenance in the Falklands, U.K., Shetland Isles and Canada, proved to be closely related. Consequently, the Ameraucana is probably closer genetically to the South American founders than the North American Araucana. In about 1976 a group of people imported some Chilean Araucanas. At least one of these people kept his flock breeding only among themselves. Chicks from their blue eggs looked similar to the British tailed Araucanas and the Ameraucanas, however most do not meet the standards of true breeds. They resemble Falkland island birds, originating from the founder birds of Chile (Quechua).
- Gail Damerow (1 March 2012). The Chicken Encyclopedia: An Illustrated Reference. Storey Publishing, LLC. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-60342-776-0. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
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