Ameraucana Chicken Breeds: The Definitive Guide

Ameraucana Chicken Breeds

These days many of us can now keep chickens in our backyards, and this breed is a hardy one that the whole family will love. The Ameraucana was accepted into the American Poultry Association in 1984, so it is a relative newcomer. There are eight recognized colors but more about that later. It is good at laying eggs, producing around four eggs a week.

They originally carried what is known as a tufting gene with ear tufts. If both parents had this gene, their chickens would die before they hatched. The breeding program in the USA caused two types of chickens to emerge as they bred out the fatal tufting gene. And so the Araucana and Ameraucana chickens emerged. The interesting part is they still lay blue eggs, and who could resist a blue egg for breakfast?

Ameraucana Hens
Our Ameraucana Laying Hens

Difference between Easter Egger Chickens and Ameraucana: American Poultry Association

These chicken breeds are interesting as the Easter Egger also has slight beards and muffs. They are bred by mixing an Araucana or Ameraucana with another breed. Try mixing them with a Rhode Island Red that many of us have at home, and it will be interesting to see what you come up with.

You will still get the blue eggs, and a variety called an Olive Egger will lay green eggs. After 1984 when the standard Ameraucana was recognized, a Bantam Ameraucana variety emerged a couple of years later. This new breed of Bantam is a small hen, and is one that has a wide chest and a small body.

Their pea comb and wattles are red, and their eyes are reddish brown. They are cheerful-looking little birds and will peck happily around the garden.

There is now an Ameraucana Breeders Club that works to preserve the species. Unlike the Araucana, the true Ameraucana does not have ear tufts, and this may be how you differentiate between the two breeds of chickens.

The Ameraucana is not a heavy chicken, and a hen weighs about 2.5 kg. Their meat quality is great, but the main purpose is egg production for domestic use. There are universal breed standards for Ameraucanas. The chickens do vary in temperament, and they will become used to different members of your family. Don’t pick them up, as they generally don’t like it.

Araucana Chickens History

Back in 1920, in South America, Araucana chickens were bred using two ancient chicken breeds called Collonca and Quintero. These chickens had ear tufts and the deadly gene causing chicks to die before they hatched. In the late 1920s, the Araucana was imported to the United States, and this is where the lethal gene was eliminated. At this point the American Poultry Association recognized Araucana and Ameraucana as two separate breeds of chicken. Fortunately, they still lay lovely blue eggs.
My two Ameraucana hens foraging

Features of Ameraucana Chickens

The feature that makes Ameraucanas different from other chickens is their fluffy face feathers. It’s possible to have a blue Ameraucana Chicken with dark gray feathers. The Ameraucana comes in eight different colors and are beautiful birds. They are Black, White, Blue, Blue Wheaten with dark brown through to the tail, Wheaten, Brown Red, Buff, and Silver.

The variety of colors make it a beautiful bird, and because it is hardy, it is able to survive outdoors during the winter weather. The bird has a friendly temperament but doesn’t enjoy being handled.

Your chickens will live for about 8 years, and sometimes longer. Like a lot of birds, the breeding appears to have been random, although they were thought to originate in the time of the Mapuche Indians.

The hens were crossbred in Pennsylvania with other types of birds. Some ended up with ear tufts, beards, and some of the chickens were rumpless .

The Ameraucana is considered a rare breed of bird in most places.  In Australia, it is seen as the same as the Araucana.
My Ameraucanas (center frame)

Free Range Ameraucanas

The birds like to be left to their own devices and free range around your property, and the blue eggs are quite a novelty. The children like to take them along to school for their news presentations. All the families want to try the blue eggs, so if you have a few hens, sell the eggs, so everyone can try them.

They are quite hardy, and you could easily keep a couple in the garden, with a small shed to keep them safe from predators at night. Having chickens is a good form of biological pest control in our vegetable gardens. For those with time and space to grow their own vegetables, allow the chickens to roam around pecking at the earth and eating small insects and bugs.
Our two Ameraucanas and Rhode Island Red as chicks

Housing Your Chickens

Keeping your chickens away from feral cats and foxes at night is very important. They need a rain protected coop with a perch and some straw underneath to peck in and a water tray and the all-important laying boxes. Leave the coop open, and they will put themselves to bed on the perch with their heads under their wings, and later you can go down and close the door for the night.

Let them out again when the sun comes up or a bit later in winter. Overnight is usually when they lay their eggs and you should have some pretty blue eggs to collect. If you have a rooster, sometimes the neighbors will complain, as the rooster normally starts crowing at about 5 am telling everyone to get up!! Every week the chicken coop needs raking out, using the dirty straw for the vegetable garden, and laying fresh straw down.

The used straw is a great composting material or it can alternatively go straight onto the garden bed, depending on what is being grown. Your vegetables will thrive with the chicken straw.

When they have bred, try to keep the mother and chickens away from the rest of the hens, and place them in an individual coop until they are older.

Many people make little ‘A frame’ coops with wire across the front to house the hen and chickens, until the chicks grow strong enough to be with the rest of the flock. During the day let them out to peck in the earth.

No history of the Ameraucana could be complete without understanding some of the history of the
Araucana breed. But one should first understand that the Araucana as we know it, was never a
“pure” breed, even in Chile.

Ameraucana Breeders Club

Your Ameraucana And The Dust Bath

A dust bath provides your chicken with a way to stay clean, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.  Hens like a dust bath, as an Avian vet explained, that it helps to condition their feathers and if you have a patch of light dusty soil in the yard. Leave it for them to wallow in.

Lice and mites don’t attach to the feathers when they have dust baths every day. They immerse themselves in dirt and wallow in it for a long time.

The chickens appear to find the dust bath relaxing, a kind of social gathering for the chickens. During the hot weather, the dust bath is also cooling, and when the chicken does not have a proper area for dust bathing they will wallow in the garden beds.

So to avoid the hens from trashing your garden you will need to provide a dust bath for them. Choose an area down the back of the garden where the chickens can immerse themselves in dust and bathe in peace. You could dig out an oval area in the turf and fill it with dust.  The chickens can then bask and dust bathe in the sun undisturbed.
Ameraucana (second from left and right)

Easter Egg Chickens

Although the Araucana and Ameraucana Chickens lay blue-green eggs, the Easter Egg Chicken is also popular. and many people say that it is their favorite chicken. The Easter Egger was developed by breeding Araucana chickens with other breeds. This led to Easter Egg Chickens laying many different egg colors including blue-green, olive, as well as brown eggs, and white eggs.

The Easter Egg chicken also looks quite different from the other breeds. The temperament of the Easter Eggers is extremely friendly, and this is a chicken that the children will be able to play with. In fact, they can pick them up and nurse them and the chicken will actually sit there and not try to move away. This is very unusual in chickens, and they make good family pets. The other huge advantage is that they thrive in a cold climate, and seem to enjoy winter.

To get your children used to them, buy some chicken treats and let the kids feed them. They can free range through your garden at home and eat all the bugs. When you have chickens they are the best biological control for pests, and you hardly ever need to spray.

The Easter Egg Chicken is quite heavy, often over 4 lbs in weight, and they are very good at laying eggs. You can’t predict the color of the eggs as they are hybrid egg layers. This is because the Easter Egg Chickens are not a chicken breed. They are hybrid chickens developed from breeding Araucana chickens with other pure breeds. The hen often looks like a rooster because of the large neck and beards, the body has a regular pattern of feathers.

Care And Feeding

The Ameraucana is a unique breed of chicken and seems to remain very healthy. In winter, as long as it is not snowing, they can remain outside all day. It is important that their coop is kept dry, and having a perch to sleep on at night is also important.

Always store the chicken feed in a rodent-proof containers.  You don’t want any contamination from mice and rats. Some people keep a cat to deter rodent pests. The best defense is to keep chicken feed from falling on the ground in the first place. Standard five gallon buckets with a good lid on it work well at keeping rodents out. No-waste type feeders are good at keeping the feed from getting thrown around and kept off the ground.

Nowadays we buy specially formulated food from the feed store, but, there was a time when making the dinner for the hens was like making a cake. Mixing pollard and grains with a small amount of water, with shell grit to prevent weak shelled eggs from forming. The complicated mix was stirred and put into the chicken’s troughs at feeding time twice a day.

They certainly grew big and strong and seemed to live longer than eight years. The chickens don’t seem to have health issues and are happy outdoors during the day.

Chickens are Omnivores and can digest plants and meats, however, they do require a balanced daily feed. They will forage for grass seeds on your lawn, but sometimes they can turn into egg eaters.

This can occurs when there is something missing in their diet.

You don’t want them to develop a taste for eggs, as they will keep eating them.

They are easy to feed with a complete poultry layer pellet or crumble found at any livestock feed store. If they aren’t old enough to lay eggs yet,  you should consider a chick starter feed to aid in their growth.

When they approach laying age, you can switch to layer feed as they will need the added calcium for egg production. The added calcium can also be given in the form of crushed oyster shells or crushed chicken egg shells from your own eggs.

Random Points Of Interest And Characteristics

  • The Ameraucana appears to be quite intelligent, and they will follow you around, especially if you are carrying their food bucket.
  • If you live on a farm they have no real interest in other animals.
  • If you are waiting for your Ameraucana to produce eggs, they often don’t start laying until they are seven months old.
  • Some chickens will fight with one another, but not Ameraucanas who seem to be less aggressive towards one another than many other breeds.
  • Once spring comes, the Ameraucana and Araucana will peck around the yard, keeping the bugs under control.
  • Ameraucanas are a relatively new breed, having been developed in the 1970s in the United States.
  • They are a hardy breed of chicken, and can handle cold temperatures as well as heat.
  • They are large birds, though smaller than most other breeds of chicken. They average 5 to 6 pounds when fully grown.
  • They are easily distinguishable by their slate blue  color legs and blue earlobes.
  • Ameraucanas are friendly birds and make excellent pets for children who want to raise chickens. 
Ameraucan chicken cooling off in a water heater pan
Ameraucana chicken keeping cool in a water heater pan.

Hot Climates And Keeping Chickens Cool

Your Ameraucana Chickens should be fine in a hot climate, but make sure that there is plenty of shade available to them, from trees if possible. A clean water supply should also be available at all times.  As the day heats up they will often go take a dust bath to cool down.

Once the temperature goes over 100 degrees F the chickens can become heat stressed. When it’s hot, don’t lock them in their coop.

They should be allowed to roam to find a cool spot for themselves. During the super hot summers in the southwestern desert in Phoenix, Arizona where I live it can get up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.

This heat is no joke for most animals that live outside, including chickens. I have found a way to keep chickens cool during extremely hot weather by placing an aluminum water heater pan in a preferably shady area, filled with water, where the chickens can access it.

After they learn that is safe to stand in, they will return to it to cool off when they get hot. I had to place a chicken in the water filled pan at first to let them know its safe as chickens can be timid about stepping into water containers.

By just standing in an inch or two of water, the chickens feet will cool down and also cool the chickens down. They may be panting like a dog from the heat and when they get into the cool water you will see them stop panting as they cool off. Pretty cool! Pun intended.

Once one chicken understands it’s ok, then they will all eventually get it. You can find these pans at the big box stores or from Amazon. I use the aluminum water heater pan instead of the black plastic pans because the black ones will absorb the sun’s heat faster and heat up the water more than the lighter colored aluminum pan.

Cooler water means cooler chickens. I don’t have the pan plugged as you can see in the photos, so I just fill up the pans with water until it reaches the drain hole which is sufficient for the chickens to get their feet wet.

Chickens cooling off in a water heater pan
Chickens keeping cool in an aluminum water heater pan.

Egg Production

Ameraucana hens are bred and raised for egg production and are blue egg layers, and some people say that they lay between 200 and 280 eggs per year. So for a small family, this is enough eggs for domestic consumption. The beautiful blue eggs that they lay have the same nutritional value as other eggs. The only difference is that they are pretty blue color.

Ameraucana Bantams

The bantams also like to free range around the yard, and in Summer try to avoid being locked in their coop at night. They need to be locked up to avoid foxes, feral cats, and other predators, but the bantams appear to be becoming aggressive and resist all attempts to be provided a secure coop. They have attacked several people, and become very shrill when approached, so for now they are best left to their own devices.

American Poultry Association

The American Poultry Association founded in 1873, is the oldest poultry organization in North America.

In 1849 a poultry show was held, and this led to the foundation of a regulatory body being formed to oversee poultry.

A year after formation, in 1873, a book of standards was published for breeders and poultry enthusiasts to refer to in both the USA and Canada.

The American Poultry Association oversees the new breeds and advocates for its members. It also notifies of any outbreaks of disease that could damage the poultry industry in the USA.

In order to be considered an Ameraucana Chicken by the APA, the chicken must meet certain criteria in regards to appearance and temperament.

Ameraucanas must have muffs and a beard, both feathers that protect their face and earlobes from the cold.

They come in many colors, but all Ameraucanas have slate blue legs. The breed standard for Ameraucanas also includes a requirement that they have small pea combs. This distinguishes them from other types of chickens, like Leghorns, which have larger single combs. Finally, all Ameraucanas must have four toes on each foot.


The Ameraucana chicken is a great choice for backyard farmers or homesteaders looking for a versatile, friendly breed. They are also a good choice for those looking for an egg-laying chicken that lays beautiful blue or green eggs. Ameraucanas are active and have a lot of personality, making them a fun breed to have around.

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