Ameraucana hens are the famous blue and green egg layers. Developed in the United States, the name means American-Araucana. Araucanas are Chilean birds known for their large ear tufts and for laying green or blue eggs, a gene which they apparently passed on to Ameraucana birds (though some think they got it from another South American source).
Not all Ameraucanas lay blue or green eggs. I have had five of these hens at various times; one laid white eggs, another green-brown olive eggs, and the others light blue eggs. I have heard that some even lay brown or pink tinted eggs. So be prepared that if you only get one or two of these birds, you are not guaranteed to get blue eggs (though blue seems to be their most common egg color).
Besides laying exotic looking eggs at an above average rate, these birds are sweethearts. They are quiet, trusting, and very easy to keep in small yards. In a mixed flock, the Ameraucana often becomes the owner’s favorite. If you are looking for some chickens the kids will love, you cannot do better than these. Some varieties of Ameraucana have beards as well as ear tufts which makes them look like they are wearing muffs.
The Ameraucana is recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA), but the recognized breed must meet certain coloring requirements to be labeled an Ameraucana. Those that do not meet these standards are called “Easter Eggers” instead. Some hatcheries will sell “Ameraucanas” that are actually non-APA compliant and should properly be tagged as “Easter Eggers”. But in practice, most of us do not worry about professional breeding standards as long as they keep laying those beautiful eggs!
These are fairly light, medium sized birds. Hens weigh around 5 pounds.
There are many variations: Black, Blue, Brown, Silver, Wheaten, White, and more. Most commonly, the hens have brown or gold-laced black feathers. The neck usually contains more black than the rest of the body.
Ameraucanas/Easter Eggers are prolific egg layers, producing right around 5 eggs per week. Eggs, which are medium sized, can be blue, green, white, brown, or tinted pink.
These are calm and lovable birds. They make some of the best pets.
They have small (”pea”) combs, which are less subject to frostbite than many other breeds, so Ameraucanas may be a good choice in cold climates. Here is a picture of some of my Ameraucanas, digging up and improving the soil in a raised bed.