Annes Page

By Anne, Jan 11, 2012 | |
  1. Anne
    My name is Anne. I live in Bellingham, WA with my husband and two sons (ages 3 and 7 months) on 6 acres that we call "Willow Hill Farm." On our small farm we have over 50 fruit trees, a large garden, a few beef cattle, and a whole bunch of chickens.
    I raise ARAUCANAS. Believe it or not, most people have never seen a real Araucana. Most "Araucanas" in the U.S. are actually non-standard colored egg layers, sold by feed stores and hatcheries under the wrong name. These "Easter Egger" birds bear almost zero resemblance to the Araucana.
    ARAUCANAS are RUMPLESS (missing their last vertabrae and therefore lacking tails) and ideally should also have TUFTS (bunches of feathers that grow near the ear-area). TUFTS are very different from the MUFFS and BEARDS (fluffy poofs around the ears and below the chin) of Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers. Araucanas must have a pea comb and should lay blue eggs. They come in several different color varieties (black, white, golden duckwing, etc.) in both Large Fowl and Bantam sizes. The majority of Araucana varieties should have WILLOW (green) legs and YELLOW skin, though there are exceptions. Unfortunately, Araucanas are so rare that it can be difficult to find birds that are a standard color. Many of my flock are non-standard or mixed colors.
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    This is my Araucana hen "Quetzal" showing off her lovely tufts. Tufts are a lethal gene, meaning that if an embryo inherits two copies of the gene, it will die in the egg. This means that no living bird can be "pure" (homozygous) for tufts; therefore, only a portion of the chicks from each hatch will be tufted. This makes Araucanas challenging to breed. Show-quality Araucanas are very rare.

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    For comparison, here is a picture of the MUFFS and BEARD on an Easter Egg Chicken I used to have. See how different they look from tufts? In the U.S., it is a disqualification for an Araucana to have muffs and a beard. In some other countries, they are a requirement.

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    This is "Galeno," my Golden Duckwing Araucana rooster. He is rumpless and tufted, but is not showable because his legs and skin are the wrong color for his variety.

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    This is "Pigpen" my blue-buff pullet (not a standard variety).

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    My red-shouldered black (non-standard) rooster, "Diablo," with two Golden Duckwing pullets.

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    Tufts are usually visible at birth. You can clearly see the tufting on this two-day-old chick.

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    Araucanas make great moms! In this picture my "clean faced" (non-tufted) silver duckwing hen "Devante" babies her 6-week-old chicks.

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    "Aries", my black-breasted-red cockerel, shows prominent tufts and brilliant (though incorrect) coloring.

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    "Harry," a blue-gold (non-standard) cockerel.

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    A week-old chick with prominent tufting.

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    A mixed-variety cockerel with long, wispy tufts. Tufts can be any size or shape, and can be on one or both sides of the head. Sometimes parent birds pass on their tuft type to their offspring; other times, the tufts of the offspring bear no relation to that of their parents. No matter how big or small, a bird with tufts of any sort will always carry the tufted gene and has the potential to pass the gene to its offspring. In extremely rare cases, a bird that appears clean-headed may actually have tufts that are so small they are not visible, or tufts that have grown internally, but still carries the tufted gene and can produce tufted offspring. Most of the time, however, a clean-headed Araucana does not carry the tufted gene and has no possibility of producing tufted offspring.

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    My "clean faced" (non-tufted) Araucana hen "Brownie" with her chicks.

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    Golden Duckwing rooster with small tufts.

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    Two Golden Duckwing pullets (one has very small tufts, the other is "clean faced" or non-tufted).

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    "Wilbur" a 5-week-old Golden Duckwing chick.

    For more pictures and information, please visit my website:
    www.araucanasonline.com

    If you are looking for a truthful, comprehensive explanation of the differences between Araucanas, Ameraucanas, and Easter Eggers, try this link:
    http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/issues/2/2-3/John_W_Blehm.html

    For a complete Araucana resource, please visit the Araucana Club of America website:
    http://www.araucana.net/

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