Ameraucana, Araucana, and Easter Egger Chickens
Many hatcheries sell ‘Ameraucana’ chickens or various misspellings of this name. There is a considerable amount of confusion about this ‘breed’ of chicken. The terms Ameraucana, Easter Egger, and Araucana are often used interchangeably despite the fact that they are not one and the same.
To add to the confusion, most hatcheries listing Ameraucana and Araucanas are actually selling mixed breed chicks that do not meet the specifications for either. These mixed breeds are what we call ‘Easter Eggers’ or ‘Easter Egg chickens.’ All of these chickens produce eggs with colorful shells (well, except for the roosters, of course). They come in shades of green, blue, tan, pinkish, brown, buff, and white…hence the name ‘Easter Eggers.’
Color Your Easter Eggs Without a Kit
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True Auraucanas are ‘rumpless’ – having no tail or tail feathers. They also must have pea combs and ear tufts (small feathers growing from the flap of skin next to their ear hole). These ear tufts are specific to the breed raised in the United States. The genetic makeup that results in these tufts also causes a very high mortality rate in the offspring of two genetically pure Araucanas. Because of this, purebred chicks are extremely rare and costly, if available at all.
These birds, on the other hand, have no ear tufts. Instead, they have a beard and muff. These are fluffy feathers around their chin and their ears, but not growing from the flap of skin behind the ear. In addition, they have normal tail feathers. Ameraucanas also have a pea comb. They come in a variety of colors, lay colorful eggs, and are very easy-care birds, making them a great addition to the home flock.
Easter Egger Chickens
Easter Eggers may be a mix of either of these breeds along with any other breed. They may or may not have a pea comb, beard, and muff. Some will lay eggs in beautiful shades of green and ‘blue’ or they may lay eggs in the more common shades of brown, white, and tan. The birds themselves may be almost any color, but they all seem to have quiet, easy-care temperaments. Chances are, if you order either Ameraucanas or Araucanas, you are actually ending up with Easter Eggers.
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If you aren’t planning to show or breed your flock, Easter Eggers will do just fine. Expect 3 or so eggs a week each from hens in good laying condition. They don’t tend to go broody, which is good if you just want eggs. I have found my Easter Eggers to be very easy-care, shy, and docile birds…and I love the colors of their eggs!
Easter Egger Customers Love the Fun Colors!
I have a number of egg customers who really enjoy getting a green egg or two in their cartons each week. There have also been people who got one dozen from me and then didn’t want any more. I suspect that they thought the green eggs went bad and threw them out. If you are planning to sell eggs from your home flock, you may want to check with your potential customers to be sure that they understand that there is nothing wrong with your green eggs. Sometimes it just takes a bit of education to turn them into loyal customers.
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Adding Easter Egger Chickens to Your Flock?
Another thing to consider when choosing breeds of layers is how many eggs to expect from each hen per week. Easter Eggers are not a highly productive breed, but what they lack in laying propensity, they make up for in character and conversation starters. They are also active foragers and like to spend much of their day scratching up their own grub. I have several Easter Eggers in my flock, including my rooster Brutus. He tried, unsuccessfully, to chase off a fox last fall and lost half his tail feathers in the process. Now that’s a plucky rooster!
Have you ever raised any of these breeds of chickens? I’d love to hear about your experiences!
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I have an Amerecuana rooster with production Rhode Island red hens the offspring lay the blue/green eggs but are also awesome egg layers. the ones that hatched out in late November have been laying almost daily just like the hens do. My flock gets to come and go as they please from coop to fenced yard, I have had the production reds go broody and also have one of the Offspring that soon after starting laying is trying to go broody, So I am assuming that it may depend on the cross for EE’s and if they were broody or brooder raised, noting the one wanting to brood was broody raised and they are 6 months old. While the other group that was brooder raised has not had a single one want to brood and is now 2 years old. I have a couple that are from another group was a Blue Jersey Giant rooster on gold laced Wyondette hens that lay between a green and an olive colored egg and even they were broody raised and are wanting to sit to brood eggs. rare but the production reds were just allowed to e chickens and most do not go broody but I have a couple that do go broody even though they were brooder raised. I do not use extra lighting or a heat source other than they get straw on the floor during the winter but if I am late with extra meal worms they do tend to come knocking on the door demanding them so I started my own colony of meal worms the broodies during the cold north winters tend to stay with the eggs laid until I get out to gather them so very rarely do I end up with frozen eggs even in harsh Idaho winters, though they do make me go shoved an area to run around in out in the yard.
Wow, that’s really interesting Sherry! Thank you for sharing the info. I haven’t really thought about crossing the production reds with anything and hatching the fertile eggs. It definitely sounds like a fun experiment! Maybe someday I’ll try it. 🙂
Hi Lisa Lynn, So nice to see the Chcken Chick on your blog. It was her intelligent website article sharing pros and cons on Diat. Earth that helped me make up my mind not to use it around my chickens – there’s cautions on the label to wear goggles/masks to use it and I can’t put goggles/masks on my little chickens – lol! We resorted to an organic liquid spray (Poultry Protect) for coop treatments.
Just wanted to share that my friend and I have had Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers and other than color differences in feathering or eggshells the temperaments are very nurturing on both. Our beautiful and prolific Leghorns were too aggressive in our small flock and had to be rehomed but we found our one APA Ameracauna is just as good a layer as the Leghorns were and as an adult is very nice to our bantams. Amers/EEs are kooky spooky jittery alert wary birds but are sweet as pets and would rather flee than fight in flock politics. I’m zoned for only 5 hens so rather than an EE I wanted another Ameraucana since our current Amer girl is so sweet-natured and I chose the guaranteed bluer eggs rather than the green or pink shades that EEs will lay. Thanks for letting me share!
I have enjoyed all of mine too, Sylvester 😉 I’ve had both the ‘pure bred’ and Easter Eggers and they have all been very well behaved birds…although some have been more standoffish than others. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
Hi Lisa! Thanks for linking up with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week! Just a couple observations: not all Araucanas have ear tufts, while all Araucanas carry the GENE for the trait, not all express it- they can have two, one or none. And Easter Eggers are not an ABA recognized breed, rather they are a hybrid/mutt/mix/mongrel. I have Blue and Black Ameraucanas, Easter Eggers and Olive Eggers and I love them all!
Have a great week and I hope you’ll join us again!
On Thursday I bought 6 “Ameraucaunas” from our feed store. I don’t much care one way or the other if they’re Auracaunas, or Ameraucaunas, or a mixture, so long as we get lots of eggs. It would be cool if they were green-ish or blue-ish, but as long as they’re eggs, and plenty of em I’ll be happy. 😀
I understand completely 🙂 Now I have all the eggs we can use or sell each week…with a couple dozen extra to boot. But I’m contemplating a few more Easter Eggers, just cuz I like the green eggs so much. 🙂
Best wishes with your little chickies!
Love learning all this new-to-me information. We bought some local eggs recently and there was a pretty blue egg in among the brown ones. A rather lovely surprise.
Thanks so much for joining in this week!
I love the blue eggs 🙂 I’ve never had a true blue…but I’d love to get some hens that would produce them. Thanks for stopping by!
My ameraucanas (or Easter eggers, perhaps, since they were hatchery birds) are some of the best layers I have, and I’ve got marans, buffs, and sex links too. Most of my wintertime eggs are green/blue, though the birds that lay them only make up about 1/3 of the flock.
My egg customers love the variety of colors. 🙂
That’s awesome that you have such great productivity from your EE hens 🙂 Mine are not super productive, but I like them anyway. I checked around and it looks like the typical Ameraucana hen lays about 3 eggs per week. You hit the jackpot!
Interesting! Happy Easter! Visiting from MHC.
Thanks for visiting Diane!
Ameraucanas are and always be my go to chicken. I love their green and blue eggs 🙂
Seeing all of these beautiful hens makes me long for the ones I lost in our fire.. Thanks so much for sharing Lisa 🙂
I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, Yolanda. That must have been devastating. Hugs and Blessings to your family.
Very interesting post! Your blog is a great resource for would-be chicken keepers (and those of us who want to, but can’t).
Thank you 🙂 I hope you can have chickens someday! They really are a lot of fun…most of the time. 😉