Ameraucana Chickens lay blue eggs! Need I say more? This top-tier foraging chicken is friendly, curious, and entertaining. A wonderful addition to a mixed flock, you can enjoy them for their plentiful eggs, as a table bird, or just to watch and enjoy as they explore their world.
This year, one of our main goals was to collect a rainbow of colors in our egg basket, so I started researching which chickens lay colorful eggs. Time and time again, I came back to Ameraucana chickens as the best choice for adding blue eggs to your egg basket.
We free-range our chickens, so the fact that they’re excellent foragers was also a big draw.
Lastly, ameraucana hens are usually used for breeding chickens that lay green eggs (olive eggers), when cross bread with a dark brown egg-laying chicken breed (like Barnevelder Chickens or Bielefelder Chickens). There aren’t any purebred chicken breeds that lay green eggs, so if we wanted to add those to our basket, we’ll need Ameraucana’s in the coop and a second generation of chicks.
What are Ameraucana Chickens?
In the 1930s, Ward Brown Jr saw a painting of a chicken with blue eggs. Several decades and dozens of crossbreeds later, the Ameraucana chicken was born. The main line came from the Araucana—a chicken from Chile that occasionally laid blue eggs (but had a number of genetic defects that made it less than ideal).
By 1984, when they became standardized, the blue-colored eggshell had stabilized and is now considered normal for the breed. Ameraucana’s are a much healthier breed than their ancestor, the Chilean Araucana, and they lay more dependably too.
Ameraucanas are a u-shaped chicken with an upright tail and a sleek muff that blends into its beard. While there are 9 standardized varieties, the Black Ameraucana is by far the most popular.
Pros and Cons of Ameraucana Chickens
We decided to add Ameraucana chickens to our flock, and we’re confident that the pros outweigh the cons, but I’ll let you decide for yourself:
- Excellent foragers
- Light blue eggs
- Cold and heat hardy
- Good layers
- Tender meat
- Docile and curious
- Do not enjoy being handled
- Less meat than average
- Hatched chicks prone to cross beak
Ameraucana Chicken Characteristics
Curious and energetic, you’ll want to keep an eye on these birds if you have a doggy door! Exploring is a passion for them, and their reactions to their world will leave you laughing. While they don’t like to be handled, they’re friendly and don’t startle easily.
With trim muffs and clean legs, they find themselves comfortable in any climate in any season. Many people raise them as dual-purpose birds as their foraging skills and lighter weight make them a low-cost option. Males will weigh in at about 6.5 pounds, and hens at about 5.5. But where they really shine is through their plentiful blue eggs!
- Breed Name: Ameraucana (Pronounced: UH-MEH-RAU-KAA-NUH)
- Breed Type: All Other Standard Breeds
- Temperament: Active and docile
- Size: Medium
- Eggs Per Year: 150-200
- Egg Size: Medium
- Egg Color: Blue with occasional green tints
- Lifespan: 7-8 years
- Time To Maturity: 5-10 months
Ameraucana Breed Standard
You’ll be able to tell if you’re looking at an Ameraucana by the color of its eggs. While some breeds, like the Easter Egger chicken, also lay blue eggs, the Ameraucana is the only one that won’t have multiple egg colors in its clutch. Muffs, beards, and a pea comb all will help distinguish the Ameraucana over another breed.
Chicks in this breed are not autosexing, and you may not know your hens until they’re mature enough to lay—potentially up to 10 months old! However, males may begin to try crowing and will have longer neck feathers as early as 3 months old.
Energy and an explorer’s heart define them, and they won’t handle extended confinement well.
Provided enough space to roam, you’ll find them a docile and friendly bird that will happily come say hello. They get along with flockmates and children but will begin to get flighty if picked up and handled.
With a short pea comb and clean legs, there’s no fear of frostbite in this breed. Their muffs and beards will help keep them warm in the winter, but aren’t full enough to cause trouble in warmer climates.
An all-around ready for any weather bird!
You’ll find they lay an average of 3-4 eggs per week during the egg-laying season. While they will lay less often during molting season, they will lay well into the winter if they’re well cared for.
A beautiful light blue egg is what you’ll find in your nesting boxes. Occasionally your eggs may be complemented by a few pale green-tinted eggs.
You won’t find an abundance of meat on Ameraucanas. But they’re such excellent foragers their feed costs are low enough to make them worth it.
While their meat is generally tender, owners report it’s most flavorful at about 14-16 weeks old.
Ameraucanas are not inclined to be broody birds. But, when they do hatch their eggs, your hens will become attentive and highly protective mothers to their chicks.
Top-tier foraging skills for these birds! You’ll find they stay alert and are predator savvy—this despite the beards that obscure a bit of their vision.
Foraging is a necessity for this breed and is something you should plan for rather than possibly offer to them.
The majority of the heritage for Ameraucanas comes from Chilean Araucanas that were suspected to have some Dominique, Rhode Island Red, and Barred Plymouth Rock mixed in. After being brought to America, they were lightly crossed with several other breeds: Rhode Island Red and Barred Plymouth Rocks again, then Red Cuban Game, Silver Duckwing Game, Brahma, Cornish, Silver Spangled Hamburg, Ancona, and White and Brown Leghorns.
The goal of all these crosses was to maintain the blue eggshells while breeding out some lethal genetics inherent to Araucanas. They were successful, and Ameraucanas are quite healthy in general.
Common Health Issues
Like all chickens with muffs and beards, you’ll want to check them for lice and mites regularly.
If you’re raising your own Ameraucanas, be aware they are more prone to developing cross beak than other breeds. Cross beak (when the top and bottom portions of the beak become misaligned) will make it difficult for a chicken to eat and drink. Birds with this condition will be much higher maintenance.
Tips for Raising Ameraucana Chickens
Space will be your biggest consideration when introducing Ameraucanas to your yard. They will want to be out foraging at least every other day and will not take well to longer periods of confinement. A standard 4 feet square of coop per chicken will serve them well. You could even get away with less if they can free range daily. If not allowed to roam, they will need at least 8 feet square.
In colder climates, you’ll want to make sure to provide a watering option that won’t get their beards wet. Consider something that’s raised off of the ground and won’t dribble too much.
Standard feeding regimens will suit them well, though during their molting season you’ll want to increase their protein intake up to 20%.
Ameraucana Chicken FAQ
You can find a few more questions and a quick review below!
Are Ameraucana chickens friendly?
They are friendly and enjoy getting to explore with their humans or flock mates. However, they don’t take handling well and can become flighty if picked up too often.
Roosters in this breed are polite and not prone to aggression. Though owners have reported, this is heavily dependent on the individual chicken and its environment.
Are Ameraucana chickens good egg layers?
About 3-4 eggs per week will find their way into your nesting boxes. While some hens can lay up to 200 eggs per year, you’ll be more likely to receive closer to 150.
What color egg does an Ameraucana lay?
A beautiful light blue egg is the hallmark of this breed. Occasional eggs will come out with a pale green tint to them, which if anything, adds to the charm!
Are Ameraucana hens broody?
Not particularly. You might have the occasional hen that will brood, and if she hatches chicks you’ll find she is an attentive parent.
How big are Ameraucana chickens?
Medium sized, your hens won’t likely weigh more than 6 pounds and your roosters will grow to a max of 7.
Are Ameraucana chickens good eating?
They have oh-so-tender meat! So while there isn’t much of it, you’ll find them a tasty and cheap chicken to raise for the table because they’re such excellent foragers.
Are Ameraucana chickens autosexing?
No, they are not. You may even find it difficult to tell your chickens apart until the hens start laying, anywhere from 5-10 months old.
Are Ameraucana chickens cold-hardy?
Cold has no hold on these birds! Provide them with a way to drink water without getting their beards wet, and you’ll be set for the colder months.
How long do Ameraucana chickens live?
On average, they will live 7-8 years long. While it can take some time for hens to mature (up to 10 months!), you can expect at least 4 years of eggs once they start laying. Hens will reach their sunset years and stop laying anywhere from 5-7 years old.
Are Ameraucana chickens easy to raise?
Yes, but with a caveat: if you’re hatching your own eggs your chicks will be prone to cross beak. If a chick has genetic cross-beak issues (from the way the egg formed, for example) it will be apparent once they are free of their shell.
Like all chickens, they will need proper housing and care. As foragers, they likely will seek out most of their food on their own. Make sure chicks have regular access to a 20% protein mash until 16 weeks. From there you can drop down to a 16% protein during most of the year. Ameraucanas will usually molt in autumn and will need access to a 20% protein diet during this season.
Chicken Breed Guides
Looking for more chicken breed guides?
- Salmon Faverolle Chickens
- Barnevelder Chickens
- Jersey Giant Chickens
- Bielefelder Chickens
- Orpington Chickens
- Marans Chickens