Chicken Breeds: Ameraucana/Americana, Araucana, and Easter Egger
These three breeds, Ameraucana (sometimes spelled Americauna or Americana) chicken, the Auraucana chicken, and the Easter Egger chicken, are all incredibly popular breeds for one reason: their eggs are really pretty! All three breeds lay eggs which are blue, blue-green, or green.
Just to clarify, each individual chicken will lay eggs of one particular color. She will lay the same color every time for her entire life. However, the egg that she lays could be anywhere from blue to green, and with or without white speckles.
Some time mid-century, intrepid chicken breeders brought some truly interesting South American chickens into the United States. These chickens – which weren’t anything special in their home country – carried the gene for laying blue eggs. All of these mongrel chickens were called “Easter Eggers,” as a general categorization like “terrier” or “retriever.”
Over the years, chicken fanciers bred out two distinct strains which were based on these original Easter Egg chickens. The Ameraucana is muffed and/or bearded, meaning that they have a funny ruff of feathers all around their chins. This gives them the appearance of wearing a coat with a very thick, fluffy collar.
The Araucana chicken is “rumpless,” meaning that it does not have a tail, and it has ear tufts. The American Poultry Association officially recognized the breed standard for the Araucana in 1976. The Ameraucana breed standard was published in 1984.
Meanwhile, the mongrel “Easter Egger” chickens continued breeding away, and many hatcheries essentially created their own strains. If you find a chicken for sale at a feed store, it is almost certainly just an “Easter Egger,” regardless of how it is labeled.
Even so, unless you are planning to show your chickens, who cares? Easter Eggers are cheaper and more readily available than either Ameraucanas or Araucanas, and it’s really the eggs that are the important part. The eggs of an Easter Egger (or “EE chicken”) are just as pretty as those from a “real” breed.
Other chicken breeds:
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