Raising Araucana chicken

Araucana chicken is a beautiful domestic chicken that lay blue eggs. Famous for their hardiness, distinctive featherings, and blue-shelled eggs. Araucanas are exceptionally rare. 

The word Araucana can be spelled as “ar-uh-Kah-nuh”. The Araucana chicken is from South America. A wild foul that produces pale, blue, green or pinkish eggs. Now Araucana is famous in the United States for its blue-colored eggs, ear tuffs, and no tail.

Araucana chicken origin

The Araucana chicken originated from Chile. A region called the Araucania of Chile. In Spanish, the Araucana chicken is called as “Gallina Mapuche”.

The Araucana chicken breed standards vary from country to country. Some Araucana is rumpless (no tail and tail-bone), tufts of feathers on the ears. The United States breed standard has two breeds one which is tailed, bearded and muffed called Ameraucana and other which has tufts on ears and is rumpless called the Araucana.

The Ameraucana breed and the “easter egger” both are hybrids that are derived from the Araucana. Even they lay blue or green color eggs, that are found in the United States.

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Araucana chicken facts

The Characteristics of Araucana chicken varies a lot depending on the full-sized and bantam Araucanas. The rumpless or tailed Araucanas.

The American Poultry Association has recognized five plumage varieties black-breasted red, silver duck wing, black, white, and golden duck wing. For bantams, the buff is added to the list.

The Araucana rooster large weighs 2.7 to 3.2 kg and bantam weighs 740 to 850 g.

The Araucana hen large weighs 2.2 to 2.7 kg and Bantam weighs 680 to 790 g.

The skin color fo Araucana is white.

Araucana eggs are a blue or green color.

Araucana rooster comb is a pea type.

Araucana chickens can live for more than 10 years. The diet, genetics and other factors do affect their lifespan.

Araucana chicken colors are black, golden duck wing, black-breasted red, silver duck wing, and white. For bantams, the buff color is added.

In North America, the ear-tufts and rumpless Araucana can be seen. The autosomal dominant lethal alleles have caused the ear-tufts and rumplessness.

The Australian Poultry Standards recognize only tailed Araucana. But for the exhibition, both rumpless and tailed can be exhibited. Both the tailed and rumpless are accepted in British standards. But the British Araucana has beard and muffs, that can be treated as separate breeds.

Araucana chicken temperament

The temperament of Araucana chicken is a friendly, energetic personality, very active. The Araucana chickens are good foragers. The Araucana chicks mature faster than other breeds like Orpingtons and Rhode Island Reds. The mature feathers grow faster for Araucana chicks.

Many of our friends after looking at the active, tough and ear-tufts Araucana, they ask are Araucana chickens friendly? Yes, the birds are very friendly to humans. The Araucana can be cuddled and kissed. Though they are active which run around the farm, yet they are accessible and friendly.

Are Araucana Roosters aggressive? Like all roosters, few of them be aggressive towards other roosters. The problem arises when the chickens are free-ranging, check out for that aggressive one. Always be above the pecking order. Keep him away during free-ranging.

So many farmers have reported that some of Araucana rooster so bad, that it attacked everyone in sight. They prefer Easter eggers.

I have searched interest to figure out what other farmers are saying about Araucana temperament. Most of them love their Araucanas, but few have serious issues with them. The Araucana breeders who have negative experience claim that they are nervous and flighty at times.

But the dedicated breeders who love to raise Araucana claim they love them because they are active and yet friendly. Even they say the chicken is good with strangers who cuddle and kiss them. It all depends on under whose hands they grow into.

The half-dozen Araucana blue eggs cost around $6.

Araucana chicken breeding

The ear tuft genes are lethal, results in a high mortality rate. Hatching Araucan chicks can be trouble for big hatcheries due to the tuft gene. But the small breeders figured out how to breed.

If two Araucana chickens having ear tufts are mated, then the mortality rate is high since the embryo has two ear tuft genes which are lethal. The best practice is to mate a bird with an ear tuft and a bird without to get good results. Some cases are found that the embryo with one tuft gene has head deformities.

Araucana chicks have trouble during birth, but once they are out they are tough birds. They can tolerate hot summers and cold winters.

How big do Araucana chickens get?

Araucana chickens fall into the category of standard small-sized chicken.

The standard Araucana rooster weighs 2.7 to 3.2 kg (5.9 to 7 lbs) and Araucana hen weighs 2.2 to 2.7 kg (4.8 to 5.9 lbs).

The bantam Araucana rooster weighs 740 to 850 g(1.6 to 1.8 lbs) and Araucana hen weighs 680 to 790 g(1.5 to 1.7 lbs).

The standard small-size chickens are bigger than bantam chicken but much smaller than Brahma chicken(Chicken that can grow 30 inches tall)

Though Araucana is smaller in size compared to most of the chickens, they grow super fast. From chicks to mature chicken they tend to grow faster than any other breed of chicken.

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Are Araucana chickens good layers?

Araucana chicken lay around 3 eggs per week. At six months old, Araucana hens can start laying eggs. Araucana eggs are not big, they are medium size. The chicken can’t be used as dual-purpose, as their meat content is low. But their eggs fetch a good price at the market.

The Araucanas are seasonal layers. The Araucana egg production will be low during winters but it will regain during the start of Spring. Also, the free-range chickens do get fewer nutrients compared to the one on the feed, also they tend to experience some stress if they encounter any predators. These factors affect egg frequency and numbers.

The interesting fact is Araucana chickens lay blue eggs. Many love their eggs and even consider them for their Easter basket.

The blue color eggs are due to the insertion of a retrovirus into the chicken genome. This gene activates to produce blue eggs. For more information read the virology blog.

Normally like any chicken the Araucana eggs take 21 days to hatch. The tuft gene can intercept their hatching, but most of the regular breeders have found a way to avoid this gene problem mortality.

Araucana hens are known for broodiness like silkie, shamo, Iowa blue chickensumatra chicken. Araucanas exhibits very good parenting traits. They love to hatch their own chicks. But do remember their hatching percentage is low due to tuft gene. Never get disappointed if only a few chicks are hatched.

Do Araucana eggs taste different?

In recent times the interest in the blue eggs has gone up. Most of the farmers market hosts the Araucana blue eggs now. Due to their color and rarity, most folks show interest in buying them.

Everyone’s question is the same – Do blue eggs taste different? Are blue eggs safe to eat? Yes, they are safe to consume and they taste no different from regular eggs. Most of the breeders to raised them free-range, its an added advantage that you are consuming free-range healthy eggs.

The blue eggs make perfect decor for their dining table, but they do come at the premium price. The half-dozen blue eggs cost around $6.

Can Araucana chickens fly?

Araucana chickens love to fly. Walking is always secondary, they fly up to 12 feet just to roost. looks like they fly when they feel good or happy. Sometimes all the flock starts to fly and land at the same time.

What are Araucana chickens used for?

Araucana chickens are small-sized breeds. The quantity of meat is low. But their blue eggs are pretty famous. Most of the breeders love Araucana for their priced blue eggs.

Araucana chickens are used for blue egg production. They are pretty hardy birds, even the chicks can survive harsh winters.

The ear tufts make them look unique and their friendly temperament will make any breeder own a few on their farm. They are perfect for free-range, as they are active and attentive towards predators.

Araucana chicken History

The history of Araucana chicken is not well documented before the 20th century. In 1914 the famous aviculturist from Spanish Salvador Castello saw the bird in more numbers among the Mapuche people of the Araucania region of Chile and named them “Gallina Araucana”

In 1921 at the First World’s Poultry Congress in Hague, Salvador Castello reported his observations on the new species he discovered.

In 1924 at the Second World’s Poultry Congress in Barcelona, the systematic name Gallus inauris was proposed and adopted. But later the Araucana was included to normal domestic chickens, Gallus gallus domesticus.

The Blue eggs of Araucana made them a very unique breed. Later on, in 1933, the famous British geneticist Reginald Punnett showed that the blue egg is due to the gene “oocyan”. When the oocyan genes are mixed with brown eggs breed, then the shades of olive and green are produced. For example, the “Easter eggers” of the United States have dominant oocyan genes.

The British Araucana was mainly developed by George Malcolm in 1930 in Scotland. In 1940, he bred the bantam Araucana and the Lavender plumage variety. Later in 1969 or 1974, the British-type Araucana was standardized.

In the 1930s the Blue Araucana eggs were taken from New Zealand to Australia, later the breed was standardized in the 1980s.

In 1976 the Araucana with ear-tufts and rumpless was standardized and 1984 the Ameraucana(bearded, tailed and muffed) was standardized in the United States. The Ameraucana breed of the United States is similar to the tailed British type.

Overall the Araucana breed’s conservation status is “not at risk”. The numbers are steadily growing due to interest in the blue color eggs.

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