Araucana

Posted

Pros: Unique, very people friendly, hardy, good layers in heat and cold, lovely blue to greenish colored eggs, great forager, dual purpose, great personalty

Cons: The lethal tuft gene that results in some productivity issues.

A challenging breed for the newcomer and even challenging for the advanced breeder when breeding towards the SOP but they more than make up for all of their difficulties by providing so much enjoyment and use.  Breeding for the trademark tufts is not for everyone, especially those with tender hearts.  The gene responsible for the tufts (which are not the same as muffs/beard in other breeds) is lethal when the chick get a gene from each parent (also called homozygous) and will die in the shell before hatching.  There is, obviously, no way to tell which chicks will die in the shell as they generally continue to develop until just before hatching so there is no way to candle and cull those eggs early on in incubation and can result in less chicks hatched than most breeders would like to see.  Breeding clean faced to tufted is practiced by many breeders to limit the losses.  Some breeders breed tufted to tufted and accept losses and some breeders breed a tufted rooster to hens that are both clean faced and tufted.  Rumpless and tufts are both unique to this breed and only the South American breeds that the Araucana was founded on have these traits.  The rumpless trait is fairly easy to breed for and is one of the first things that people notice about this unique breed.  It should be noted that the European Araucana breed is tailed and has the beard and muffs.  

 

In general, they are excellent for the farm.  They are a dual purpose breed so the excess cockerels, and we all know there are always excess cockerels, can be butchered for the home for fresh, clean meat for the table or sold for meat birds.  Second, they not only are good layers in both hot and cold climates, their eggs are a lovely blue to blue/green color and can bring a little more money just because people love something different.  Thirdly, these blue egg layers are often used to cross with the "chocolate" colored egg layers to produce the "Olive Eggers".  So, marketability can be very good for the farmer.  They are excellent foragers and not often as subject to predators as some of the quieter, slower breeds.  They can be broody and are good mothers so those who want to raise a few and don't want to bother with incubation or raising the chicks can let mother nature take the reins.

 

Backyard hen keepers in town generally have just a few hens and having a unique, rumpless and tufted or simply rumpless hen is a sight to behold and will have your neighbors asking about your unique hens and pretty blue eggs.  If you're only going to keep 4 to 6 hens, why not have the prettiest on the block??

 

As far as breeders, as I mentioned above they can be a challenge on many levels.  However, this breed has found a new following and the result is more breeders every year.  This breed has been listed on the ALBC (American Livestock Breeds Conservancy) list as "watched" for years.  They are not critically endangered yet the smaller numbers make it more difficult to keep the gene pool strong and healthy so the past few years of increasing interest has benefited the breed immeasurably.    I have witnessed giant leaps in the numbers of breeders who are working to bring their flocks to perfection.  Those lines that are being developed are bringing a lot of improvement to the breed on the whole and will provide future breeders a good number of separate lines to cross and further the breeds health (which is already good) and productivity.   I feel that many breeders will continue to use the clean faced as well as some tailed individuals and I don't think that will ever end.  There will "always" be a few tailed and a few clean faced simply because of the genetics of this breed but I personally feel these non SOP individuals have something to contribute.  The use of non SOP individuals such as the clean faced and tailed or partial tailed is another thing that sets this breed apart from others from a "breeders" standpoint.  Many breeders consider "faults" in breeders as unacceptable, however these are not necessarily "faults" in some breeders eyes but a part of a breed that is simply a little more complicated to work with and to me, that makes getting great hatches with lots of tufts and rumpless chicks, even more sweet.  

 

Not knocking any breed, but I enjoy challenges that make me think and set goals.  To work with a breed that has everything set with culls rare is not as interesting to me.  There are those who feel the Araucana is a mutt because it is not a cookie cutter breed.  That sort of evens things out a bit and part of the reason there are SO many breeds of poultry.  They all have a place and a following.  When choosing your breed, there are so many things to take into account. I hope my review is helpful to those interested in the Araucana.  If there is anything I can help you with, please send me a PM.  

 

 

                    

 

   

Posted

Pros: Great Foragers, Very Friendly, Intelligence

Cons: Aquiring Chicks, Breed Issues

I bought my Araucanas as day old chicks. They were slow to mature,  10 months before attempting to lay.  2 of my hens egg bound attempting to lay their first egg and after 2 days I culled them. I am still waiting for my 3rd hen to lay. I am concerned she will not be able lay either,  and I will end up having to cull her as well. I believe my problems with my hens is a line/breeder problem. Possibly too much inbreeding.

I LOVE Araucana and will again have more...they are WONDERFUL birds and pets! Absolutely facinating!   My advice to anyone seeking to own Araucana...be VERY careful WHO you purchase them from. Get them from someone here on BYC who knows what they are doing!   There is an Araucana thread that is full of info and breeders of Araucana. Araucana Anyone?

Posted

Pros: Blue eggs, cold tolerant, great personalities, active foragers, curious and friendly, and very unique, to name a few!

Cons: Lethality of tufting gene, possible reduced fertility due to rumplessness, no hatcheries have true Araucanas, many EEs mistakenly called Araucanas

When I first started researching chickens, I was fascinated to learn that some breeds lay blue or green eggs. This led me to the breed known as the Araucana. While Easter Eggers are commonly called Araucanas, the true Araucana is a unique and amazing bird. I'd describe them as quirky. I am glad to have the real deal in my flock!

 

As chicks I found them much more outgoing than some of the other breeds I raised. You can tell who is tufted and rumpless from the first day. The eggs are more difficult to hatch than other breeds, due to the lethality of the tufted gene (25% of chicks die in shell if the parents were both tufted). And they seem to be more delicate in general. But the payoff when you get an incubator full of tufted chicks is well worth it! They are easily socialized and at least for me, are the first to come running when I step outside!

 

They do a great job at foraging, always actively searching out food if allowed to free range. They're lighter on the feed compared to other breeds. For example, my marans and australorp are pigs, while the large fowl Araucanas literally eat like birds. Yet they regular producers of nice sized eggs despite being more petite than other large fowl chickens.

 

You can only get them from other breeders, since no hatchery produces true Araucanas. A few sell live chicks, but most sell hatching eggs. So startup can be more difficult than the average breed, but is the challenge is also rewarding.

 

Note on the tufting gene: the tufting gene is dominant and potentially lethal, all live tufted birds are only heterozygous for the trait. Which means they only have one copy of the gene. It is 100% lethal for those who are homozygous, which is why approximately 25% of chicks die in shell if both parents were tufted. Tufted x Tufted results in approximately 25% cleanfaced birds (no tufting gene at all, cannot pass it on), 50% tufted, and 25% dead in shell. Tufted x Cleanfaced results in 50% tufted and 50% cleanfaced, so no lethal gene action.

 

Note on rumpless gene: also a dominant gene. This gene is not lethal, but it may reduce fertility since it can interfere with a proper cloacal kiss (which is required for successful insemination). But there is nothing more unique that a bootyless Araucana!

Posted

Pros: fantastic egg production

Cons: none

Mine are unfazed by weather, as hardy as my Dominique's . They produce big blue eggs about 6 days a week. A little more stand offish than some breeds and not as weary free ranging but do fine. they love grass and will reward you with beautiful eggs.

Posted

Pros: Quirky, crazy, beautiful, unique, great layer

Cons: Hard to come by

I have a Lavender Araucana, and since I am Australian my girl has tail feathers. I really really love this breed. Our girl, Loca, is named because she is "loco" (crazy). She is just the quirkiest animal I have ever owned. She is a fantastic layer, we get 5-6 eggs a week from her and when she is not covered in mud she is a very unique and interesting looking bird. Also what amazes me is how smart she is. We put straw in their run so they can forage through it and she will pick up the straw, put it in the water, dip it and then eat it, softening it so it is easier to eat. She is a smart girl. And of course those blue/green eggs are to die for. I can absolutely recommend this breed, they are amazing chickens. Everyone should own an Araucana. 

Posted

Pros: Look cool / feathers shine in the sun / food wise / child friendly

Cons: A "To die for" chicken

I have a black araucana. she is sooo CUTE!! They are very interested in things and dont squirm when you hold them. try to get a black one, their feathers shine in the sun green and purple! Wicked

Posted

Pros: cold and heat hardy, superb foragers, superb fliers, lay blue eggs, friendly, smart, tough, dual purpose, fast grower, great moms

Cons: Easter Egger confusion, frequently broody (to some that is a con)

As most I started with Easter Eggers, found out the truth, which honestly made me want true Araucanas even more, so, I ordered myself a big batch of chicks from one of the few people out there who actually offer purebred chicks to order.

 

Since then I've never given up or turned away from the breed, and now am one of those breeders and promoters of it. Araucanas, being a small to medium sized breed but very fleshy and well-filled out as well as being rumpless, are a GREAT dual purpose breed and excellent free rangers/foragers. Their lack of tail helps them escape predators much easier, they're super fliers, their colors available often allow them to blend in better, and they're smart, fast, and aware birds with good feed conversion as well as some pretty good growth rate. There really isn't much bad to say about them except for some people, most of them are seriously frequently broodies, but when they're not busy incubating something (even nothing) they're very, very dependable layers of beautiful blue eggs ranging from medium to large in size.

 

I've never met an aggressive or too shy Araucana, however males are a little wild at heart and don't get along with each other or other breed of roosters very well, and, warning - They're skilled fighters. But to people, they can be the greatest pets or just a hoot to watch. Definitely the ladies' man, and definitely love to talk, but are also very alert and protective.

 

With their big (or little) beautiful tufts, unique body shape, and beautiful duckwing, barred, mottled, columbian, splash, or other neat colors they come in, they're such a beauty to the eye, and surely are a very  useful breed. I breed mine for egg production, meat production, and eventually will show mine too. I'll always have some Araucanas around, as there's few breeds that do better than them in a free ranging or pastured environment.

Posted

Pros: grow fast, friendly, egg color, beautiful feathers

Cons: I can't think of any!

My Araucanas (I have two) are my absolute favorites of my flock (and I hate playing favorites but...) They grow fast, they were part of my younger batch and before I knew it they were passing up my barred rock and sexlink (part of the older crowd). When they were chicks I'd get them out to sit on the couch with me and they would crawl up into my hair and stay there passed out until I pulled them out and put them back in the brooder(never pooped on me! haha) and they're always the first ones to greet me in the morning and get a chest rub. I'm a beginner and have never had a problem. The biggest of the two got pretty sassy with me a few times but we worked everything out :hugs I love them and recommend them! If you want a chicken with character an Araucana is for you. Just look at those cheeks! 

Posted

Pros: Friendly

Cons: Flighty

I went to my favorite farm store and bought a variety of Aracaunas. I did this because 3 years ago I bought 5  RIReds and couldn't tell the difference on who was who and who wasn't producing eggs. This year my other 5 girls are one white, one grey and 3 black with specks of reddish brown but with different patterns.

When they were a few weeks old I noticed how much they like to fly! My RIR can barely get off the ground so I never had to clip their wings.

Now that my new girls are older probably about 2 1/2 to 3 months they still love to fly and great escape artists. They also have become super friendly. I moved them out of my shed weeks ago and made a smaller pen in the big pen so they can get used to the older hens and vise versa. I can't wait to see how they do free range. Right now I will just let the big girls out and let the little ones in the big pen during the day.

Araucana
Description:

Araucana is a very rare breed with much controversy and numerous challenges. Hatcheries add to these challenges by misrepresenting their mongrel Easter Eggers as Araucana and Ameraucana chickens. Araucana and Ameraucana chickens are breeds, which are recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA). Easter Eggers are not a recognized breed because they are a cross of different breeds to produce various plumage colors and eggshell colors. Easter eggers are a novelty for backyard folks who enjoy pretty chickens that lay various colored eggs. Enthusiasts typically breed Araucana and Ameraucana to a standard of perfection to preserve their historical value. The origin of the Araucana is still up for debate, however many believe they came to America from South America, sometime during the 1920’s or 1930’s. The primary reason for breeding Araucana was because of their ability to lay blue eggs. They are often considered dual-purpose fowl and make good table fare. For a smaller standard size breed, hens typically lay nice medium sized eggs. The Araucana have two distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from the other breeds. They are rumpless (have no tail and the complete absence of a tail bone) and they have tufts (often called “earrings”), which grow from a protuberance (or fingerlike appendage)called a peduncle around the ear lobes or neck area. Tufts can be bilateral, unilateral and even trilateral. The tufted trait is a lethal gene on Araucana, which makes it difficult to breed. Two copies of the tuft gene are fatal and results in chicks dead in the shell, typically around days 18-21 in incubation. Even a single copy has been known to reduce hatchability, making this breed very difficult to propagate. The rumpless trait has produced challenges for breeders as well. This includes backs that get very short, from excessive rumpless to rumpless breeding, which results in future generations being unable to breed naturally. Rumplessness does not occur consistently in breeding Araucana, which results in chicks hatching with partial tails and even full tails. This can make for a lot of culling and very few selections to choose from for the show ring.

Details:
DetailValue
Breed PurposeDual Purpose
CombPea
BroodinessAverage
Climate ToleranceAll Climates
Egg ProductivityMedium
Egg SizeMedium
Egg ColorBlue/Green
Breed TemperamentFriendly,Flighty,Bears confinement well,Quiet
Breed Colors/VarietiesAPA recognizes: Black ,White ,BBR, Silver & Golden Duckwing. There are also many none standard colors, we have Lavender araucana in development ourselves.
Breed SizeLarge Fowl
APA/ABA Class
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Chicken Breed Info:

Breed Purpose: Dual Purpose
Comb: Pea
Broodiness: Average
Climate Tolerance: All Climates

General Egg Info:

Egg Productivity: Medium
Egg Size: Medium
Egg Color: Blue/Green

Breed Temperament:

Friendly, Flighty, Bears confinement well, Quiet

Breed Colors / Varieties:

APA recognizes: Black ,White ,BBR, Silver & Golden Duckwing. There are also many none standard colors, we have Lavender araucana in development ourselves.

Breed Details:

The APA requirements demand a tufted and rumpless bird as an example of the perfect Araucana. That does not mention other traits that must be accomplished as well, like plumage color, skin color, shank color, body type and eye color. Few breeders put focused efforts on breeding to the standard of perfection because of all of the challenges presented. However, this still remains a fun and exciting breed for backyard flock owners and breeders alike. For more info and pictures visit our site www.Hinkjcpoultry.com

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