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Our Ameraucana Chickens

Updated on October 19, 2014
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For years, Yvonne has been developing a sustainable homestead complete with chickens, food plants, on-site water, solar power and more.

From Pullets to Hens... Did One Just Crow?

When I was a child, one of my favorite chores was to collect the eggs from the hen house on our farm. When we retired and moved to the country, some of the first animals that I wanted to get were chickens. I wanted to be able to go out each day and gather those healthy eggs from our own free range hens. Every time we would visit the local feed store, I would go and drool over the cute baby chicks.

Unfortunately, several things stood in the way of my little dream and we had to put it on hold for several years. About the time when it looked like we were finally ready to build our movable chicken coop and get some chicks, Hurricane Katrina hit and our whole world was shattered. Now finally, thanks to a gift from a good friend things were put in motion.

Giant Squid Community Fair Winner

Our Ameraucana Chickens won First Prize at the Virtual Giant Squid Community Fair. They thank you for voting for them.

How We Obtained Our Little Flock

We now are proud owners of a small flock of Ameraucana chickens. Many years ago, we raised some chicks that were hatched by the Kindergarten class when we lived in Baton Rouge, but we couldn't keep them in the city so those were given to our friend Margaret, who lived in Covington.

It's funny how things come full circle, because our most recent attempt at keeping chickens began with a plea from Margaret, the same dear friend, who took our Baton Rouge chicks off of our hands so many years ago. She had purchased six baby chicks which had been sexed as pullets (hens) and her husband (a city boy) would not let her keep them. When she tried to give them to her daughter, who already had some chickens, she struck out there, too. So, knowing what nature lovers we were, and also knowing that we had said that some day, we would like to have a few chickens, she asked us to take them.

Baby Chicks First Few Weeks

Here are the 2 1/2 - 3 week old chicks the day after we got them. We kept them on the front porch so that they would be warm and safe. Can you say, "COUN-try"?

At first, we would only fill the bottom part of the feeder, twice a day, but by the time they were 5 weeks old, we had to fill the bottle part up to the top. The bottom of the box was lined with a piece of burlap and newspaper that was covered with a layer of wood chips. They need that kind of surface so that their feet will grow correctly.

Keeping Chickens: The Essential Guide

We really enjoyed reading this book. The full color photos are beautiful and it's filled with good information about raising and keeping chickens.

The Chicks

The two with the white faces now have red feathers.

The cute, fluffy little Ameraucana chicks spent their first 2 months in a giant cardboard box which was covered with large, bottomless cage that had once been a flight cage for Cockatiels. According to our calculations, the chicks hatched out around May 16 (so they may start laying in November). Up until they were about 5 weeks old when they began to get feathers, we kept a lamp clamped to the cage and turned it on when the temperatures were cool. Baby chicks under 3 weeks old should be kept from 85 to 95 degrees F.

Special medicated chick start food is given twice a day and their water bottle is also cleaned and changed at the same time. When the chicks have more feathers than fuzz (at around 6 weeks), they can be moved into an outside coop.

It is recommended that the medicated food be given to the chicks until they are about 4 months old. We were told that there are many diseases that the little ones can perish from if they are not given the medication in the food.

Out in the Chicken Coop

The 8 week old chicks out in the run of their movable coop. In no time, they had eaten all of the weeds and grass.

It took a day or so before they started to use the perches, but once they did, they would go into the "house" at dusk and sleep there until morning. When they were still small, we would close the door to the "house" each night.

Chicken Coop with Outdoor Run

TRIXIE Pet Products Chicken Coop with Outdoor Run, 66.75 x 30.25 x 41.25 inches
TRIXIE Pet Products Chicken Coop with Outdoor Run, 66.75 x 30.25 x 41.25 inches

If you aren't handy with a hammer, you may like this ready-made coop.

 

Why Keep Chickens?

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And They've Got... Personality!

The two youngest chicks.

As the little ones grew, they started showing individual personalities. The two youngest ones, regularly sparred with each other and when their feathers started coming in, they were more red than the other four. These two are also much larger birds. They are very bossy and are always throwing their weight around. We were always afraid that they were roosters and then when they were about 14 weeks old, one of them crowed. We did not see that it is the larger of the two red ones, until about ten days later.

We really didn't want roosters because we are worried that the crowing will wake us up too early. We already have a Cocker Spaniel that goes off at from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. and we don't need another alarm clock. So far, the little rooster hasn't awakened us, but if he does, having him for Sunday dinner is not an option.

Little Roosters?

I saw the one in the back crowing, so I'm certain that he is a rooster. The one in the front is shaped like a rooster, but its tail doesn't stand up as much as the one that crowed, but they both have such brilliant colors compared to the hens. We were told that there is a 10% chance of getting a rooster when you buy pullet chicks, but 2 out of 6 figures out to be 33 1/3%. I wonder if they take returns.

Good news, the feed store owner says that he can find a good home for the roosters. We heard both of them crowing. One is quite good at it, but the other is still learning. Both are loud and start crowing at dawn. Al's only stipulation is that they not end up in the stew pot.

We took one rooster to the feed store on a Friday and by Saturday afternoon, he had found a good home with his own flock of pretty hens. Things have quieted down in our flock since he left and the remaining rooster is tending and protecting his hens. We've decided to keep him unless he gets too attentive to the hens and starts harassing them.

No More Roosters

A few months later...

The rooster crows no more in our movable chicken coop. It seems that our remaining rooster was too vigilant in his duties with the hens. The four hens were missing many feathers on their backs and poor Goldie, his favorite, had claw marks and scratches on her back.

The rooster is in a good home and will has his own harim of hens. Hopefully they are free range, so the hens have room to run.


Keep Chickens!

An informative book for the those who want to keep a small flock in the backyard.

The Hens - Goldie and the Girls

The four hens all have similar coloring, but each one has her own special markings and mannerisms. One has a gold head and neck, so I call her Goldie. Goldie is a little smaller than the other hens, but she doesn't let that bother her. One hen is very dark and a little skittish (Gertie), like a wild bird. The other two hens are very similar, except one has a black beard (Henny) and the other has dark ear muffs (Penny).

Sixth Months Old - First Egg

Here are three of the four hens. From left to right you see Henny, Goldie and Penny. Gertie is a little shy so she's not in the picture.

At six months old, Ameraucana hens can start laying eggs. The most common colors are green and blue, but sometimes the eggs will be light peach or pinkish.

Like clock work, at almost exactly 6 months of age Henny, the hen with the black beard, laid a small light peachy-pink egg in the water bowl. Poor baby, she obviously didn't have any idea what was coming out of her. She skipped the next day, but on day three there was another, slightly larger light pink egg on the floor, near where the water bowl used to be. She skipped day four, then on day five, we found the third egg and it was in the box we had mounted for that purpose. After that she started laying every day in the nesting box.

Easter Egg Chicken Eggs Poster on Zazzle

Source

Easter Egg Chickens


Easter Egg Chicken Eggs by naturegirl7

Seven beautiful and healthy Ameraucana (Easter Egg chicken) eggs. Only one of the four hens is laying and we are getting an egg each day. Hopefully in a couple of weeks as the other three hens mature, they'll start laying as well. We are hoping that one or two of them will lay blue or green eggs since we already have one laying peachy-pink ones.

We are so pleased to announce that 2 of our hens lay green-blue eggs. They were the last to begin laying, but you know what they say about saving the best for last. We love the pink eggs, but now, with all four hens laying we get an assortment of colored eggs. Recently they have been providing us with 3-4 eggs a day. Some of them are still in the small category, but since I am on a low cholesterol diet, that's not such a bad thing.

Henny and Penny lay pink eggs and Goldie and Gertie lay the bluish-green ones. At 10 months the hens are all full size and lay almost every day. The eggs are usually in the medium to large range.

We enjoy soft boiled eggs and have found that they are much easier to eat when you use an egg cup like the ones below.

Hot Weather and Laying

The summer has been hot and the hens that lay the blue and green eggs stopped laying for a couple of weeks. Goldie was trying to set. It's normal for hens to stop laying for a few weeks, but it's so odd to see only pink eggs in the egg carton.


Introducing Our 3 New Ameraucana Pullets

3 New Ameraucana Pullets
3 New Ameraucana Pullets

The color variations of Ameraucanas never ceases to delight me.

These beautiful girls just began to lay blue and green eggs. The white and gold one in the front is Buffy. The one with the mostly gold head is Cinnamon and the one that you can only see her tail is Brandy. Brandy has a black beard. All are gentle hens.

Their eggs are on the small side compared to the adult hens, but each week, they get a little larger. They are still young, after all, and I wouldn't want them to strain themselves.


Cinnamon, Brandy and Buffy the New Ameraucana Pullets

Cinnamon, Brandy and Buffy the New Ameraucana Pullets
Cinnamon, Brandy and Buffy the New Ameraucana Pullets

Chicken Coops: 45 Building Plans

Good plans for both static and movable chicken coops of all sizes can be found here.

Chicken "Tractor" Movable Coop

We were a little late in completing our coop because of weather conditions and a family emergency. We recycled some 16 gauge welded wire flight cages that we had when we used to raise Cockatiels. By cannibalizing the cages we came up with an 8' X 3' X 3' covered run and a 4' X 2' X 3' summer roosting area.

We read that each chicken should be allowed 3 square feet of area in the coop and the run. This current set up has 32 square feet of space for 6 chickens. We put movable pieces of 3/4" plywood around the roosting area and the roof is a piece of sheet metal (which used to be the bottom of the Cockatiel cage), with a large piece of plywood on top.

The whole thing is movable and the bottom of the run is open so the chickens can scratch around for bugs and grass. It doesn't look like much, but it serves the purpose until we can build a larger wooden roosting and nesting area that we'll attach the 8' X 3' X 3' run to, before they are 5 months old and cold weather sets in. There are many predators where we live, so we must keep their coop secure from both air and from digging creatures.

We have drawn up plans for our more permanent wooden nesting and roosting house. It will have a slanted hinged roof so that we can clean it our easily and check for eggs. The dimensions will be 3 feet by 4 feet and about 5 feet tall with 2 foot legs. Two of the legs will have wheels so that we can pick up the attached run and move the whole thing like a wheelbarrow. This way the chickens will have the food of free range hens, but the safety of a cage.

I feel so bad, that now, over a year later, because of an illness in the family, we still have not been able to get the larger, coop built. I've decided to either hire our friend, who is a carpenter, to build it or look into some other modular type structures that I can put together easily. I want my hens to be happy.

Until we can get the new coop built, I am letting the hens out into the garden for a couple of hours each afternoon. Their vitality has improved and they are doing a fabulous job of weeding, tilling (scratching) the soil and ridding the garden of insect pests. As they work through the dormant garden, they also leave fertilizer. As the sun goes down, they go back into the portable coop to roost and I close the door to secure them.

New Hen House

We finally built a new chicken house for our 3 hens. It is a beautiful hen house and greenhouse duplex that makes the old one look like a broken down trailer. Stay tuned for more information!

New Hen House - Greenhouse Duplex - Hens move from trailer to mansion.

Hen house Greenhouse Duplex  Y.L. Bordelon copyright
Hen house Greenhouse Duplex Y.L. Bordelon copyright

Goldie, one of the older hens laying a pink egg in a new nest box

Goldie, one of the older hens laying a pink egg in a new nest box
Goldie, one of the older hens laying a pink egg in a new nest box

Portable Chicken Coop Vid

Ameraucana Characteristics

Ameraucana's have ear tufts and beards and pea combs. They are also called Easter Egg chickens because they lay green and blue eggs. They are medium sized birds and are said to be good layers. They can begin laying when they are from 5 to 6 months old. The first eggs are small, but will increase in size as they get older. Ours started laying at 6 months and now we can enjoy fresh, home grown organic eggs for omelets, deviled eggs and cakes.

Vintage Green Tail Feathers on Zazzle

Source

© 2009 Yvonne L. B.

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    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 7 years ago from USA

      Wow! Nice work!

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 7 years ago

      Nicely done

    • profile image

      Quirina 7 years ago

      What a nice lens, congrats on the purple star! Will check out your other lenses as well...

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 7 years ago from USA

      Congratulations! You've won a blue ribbon at the fair! Stop by the Showcase blog to grab it!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Oh wow. I love your photos, background, products, and content. Great lens and congratulations on winning a blue ribbon at the Giant Squid Community Fair.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 7 years ago

      Another top notch article!

      Congratulations on the Blue Ribbon! I won one, too. Go WiWon Team!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 7 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Chickens are my favorite motif. I have even paper folded chickens.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 7 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Very interesting lens. 5* and blessed.

    • eccles1 profile image

      eccles1 7 years ago

      LOVE this lens !!

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 7 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Wonderful Lens on your Chickens. Congrats on your Purple Star and Giant Squid Awards Nomination! :)

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 7 years ago from Royalton

      The Oviparous Animals stopped by to commend you on such a beautiful and informative lens. Thank you for sharing with us your knowledge of egg layers and congratulations on receiving a well deserved Purple Star Award.

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 7 years ago

      How did I miss this one? Fabulous lens covering everything about keeping chickens. Your photos and personal experience add the perfect touch. Good luck!

    • Kate Phizackerl1 profile image

      Kate Phizackerl1 7 years ago

      Quality lens. Blessed.

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      What an amazing lens about keeping chickens! Thanks for sharing it and it is Blessed by a Squid Angel :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Good to see such a nice site with so much info. We have 3 ISA Browns for over a year now and they are always a real treat. We also love the different personalities that they have and the funny things they do. Talk about pest control! Before getting the hens our Jack Russel Terrier was constantly plauged by fleas every summer so we were constantly treating the yard and flea shampooing her all the time. Now with the free ranging hens there are no fleas in this yard! Needless to say the eggs are a great treat and our neighbors love it when we bless them with those jumbo size eggs. I even have one hen I can place on my knee and she will talk to me for awhile as the others look on.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Interesting lens about chickens you have here! Keep it up!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What I wonderful web site! I stumbled upon yours looking for pictures of Ameraucana chicks similar to the ones our family just got. This is our first foray into raising chickens, and the information was so helpful, plus we were excited to see pics of what our chickens would look like once they were older. Thank you for making such a neat page!

    • EmmaCooper LM profile image

      EmmaCooper LM 6 years ago

      Lovely photos, thanks for sharing :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love chickens and they do for us hungry people. This really is a very good lens. I miss the farm life that I once lived as a teen. The chickens were a big part of the whole. Fresh eggs, fresh chickens, what else can you ask for.

    • GreenChickens profile image

      GreenChickens 6 years ago

      Really nice lens! I've been wanting a few Ameraucanas in my flock!

    • Philippians468 profile image

      Philippians468 6 years ago

      ah the refreshing taste of fresh eggs in the morning! love it! thank you for sharing such a wonderful lens with us all! cheers

    • pheonix76 profile image

      pheonix76 6 years ago from WNY

      Great lens! Thanks for sharing and will be featured on my upcoming hatching chicks lens. :)

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 5 years ago from Connecticut

      Chickens make very interesting pets, and we really like the Ameraucana chickens for the different colored eggs. We have a small, mixed flock of hens (no roosters, thank you!) and collect white, brown, beige, greenish and blue-ish eggs. Our friends enjoy receiving gifts of a dozen multi-colored eggs.

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      vipsspatton 5 years ago

      Love your lens. We have 5 chickens, 1 is an Ameraucana (our favorite, she's so sweet!) - We get 4 to 5 eggs each day. The thing I like the most is what wonderful pets chickens make! Whenever we go near their coop they come running! I swear they'd be wagging their tails if they had them! who would've guessed? PlansForHenhouse.com

    • earthybirthymum profile image

      earthybirthymum 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Amazing photos, I love this Lense :)

    • beckyf profile image

      beckyf 5 years ago

      Hello...This is an excellent lens. We always had chickens on the farm when I was growing up. We always enjoyed "the ladies".

      The reason I'm here today is because I'm participating in the Thanksgiving Quest, and the Quest is to thank one particular lensmaster for something.

      I'd like to thank you for your help in the forum a couple of days ago. Because of your clear post, I was finally able to figure out how to line up photos side by side in the text module, something I didn't know how to do before.

      I like the way my lenses look a lot better now.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      Really enjoyed this article about your chickens. My goal is to start raising a few layers this spring. I am doing the prep work this winter so I will be ready to hatch some chicks in a few months. Thanks for the excellent information. With all the coyotes here, I need to build a really sturdy chicken coop. That will be the first order of business. I like how you combined a coop with a greenhouse. Very nicely done.

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 5 years ago from Texas

      I have several Ameraucanas, and they are so sweet & gentle! Nice article on your birds. I hope they are still doing well

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for the excellent information............

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 5 years ago

      These chickens look good. Seem like a good breed to keep.

    • sudokunut profile image

      Mark Falco 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      This was an informative and enjoyable lens to read. I'd love to have chickens.

    • naturegirl7s profile image
      Author

      Yvonne L. B. 5 years ago from Covington, LA

      I simply must brag a little on my 10 hens. I have a mixed flock of 3 adult Ameraucana hens, 3 Ameraucana pullets, 2 Rhode Island Red pullets and 2 Barred Rock pullets. For the past 3 days, my little flock has laid 8, 7 and 8 eggs for a 3 day total of 23 eggs. Almost 2 dozen in 3 days!

      Normally hens lay 1 egg every 1 1/2 days, but at the present mine are working overtime. About half of them are laying every day. Looks like we'll be having a lot of egg dishes.

      Anyone have any good recipes?

    • microfarmproject profile image

      microfarmproject 5 years ago

      We have 20 chickens. Several of them are Ameraucanas and we really enjoy them. Thanks!

    • Rural Farming profile image

      Rural Farming 5 years ago

      I have some Ameraucnas & they are great!

    • naturegirl7s profile image
      Author

      Yvonne L. B. 5 years ago from Covington, LA

      @Rural Farming: Yes, of the 3 different breeds that I have, the Ameraucanas are my favorite. The Rhode Island Reds lay really well, but they are quite large and peck me more than the others, even though I raised them all as pets.

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      Which goes to show exactly how much I know about chickens. We always had chickens when I was a child but I always thought that you needed to have a rooster in the coop in order for the hens to lay eggs. I guess I always just presumed this because we always had a rooster in the coop.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      really helpful suggestions, thanks !

      Low cholesterol diet plan

    • EMangl profile image

      EMangl 4 years ago

      cute, they must have a falcon in the family - pretty birds :-)

    • profile image

      SkefflingsMakeMoneyOnline 4 years ago

      Lovely birds you have. My Wheaten Ameraucanas are so sweet and gentle and lay pretty green eggs.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      i am new to the new orleans area and am interested in a 4-6 month old ameracauna pullet. can you point me in the right direction?

    • naturegirl7s profile image
      Author

      Yvonne L. B. 4 years ago from Covington, LA

      @anonymous: Are you on the North Shore or the South Shore? I don't know about the regulations for keeping chickens on the south shore. Check with Feed stores or your neighbors if you are in New Orleans. If you want to start from chicks, they are available in the fall during September & October at Marsolan's Feed Store in Covington & at Mid-point in the Folsom area. More will be available in the spring at most feed stores & Tractor supply.

    • naturegirl7s profile image
      Author

      Yvonne L. B. 4 years ago from Covington, LA

      @Redneck Lady Luck: In the country, most chicken keepers wanted their flock to be self-sustaining. With a rooster to fertilize the eggs, an endless supply of chicks was available to replace the older hens or to eat as meat. In the future, when I get more chicks to replace the older hens, I will probably keep a rooster if one of the pullets turns out to be in the 10% mistaken identifications.

    • naturegirl7s profile image
      Author

      Yvonne L. B. 4 years ago from Covington, LA

      @naturegirl7s: Oops, I misread your comment. Sometimes the feed stores will have 5-6 month old pullets, but not often. Talk to your local feed stores. They may know someone who would part with a couple that they got as chicks in the spring.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Love all hens but Easter Egg hens and APA Ameraucana hens are not the same. Ameraucanas are bred to a standard and lay blue eggs only. Easter Eggers look similar but do not have the coloring marks of the approved standard colors. I looked a long time to find a breeder of actual blue egg Ameraucanas. If the feed store is selling "Ameraucanas" they most likely are just Easter Eggers. Pretty birds but NOT actual Ameraucanas. BTW beautiful photos.

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