ameraucana color question

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by pyronym, May 23, 2016.

  1. pyronym

    pyronym New Egg

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    May 23, 2016
    So i'm researching for my first backyard flock. I'm hoping to have blue eggs so i've been looking for reputable ameraucana breeders(not hatcheries) that are somewhat local to me(Maryland). it seems that most breeders have either black, blue, splash OR they have buff, wheaten, etc... I'm interested in having a mix of colors staying withing one breed but keeping with the blue eggs. I'd love to have some wheaten or blue wheaten but i also like the black and blue.

    Whitmore farms http://www.whitmorefarm.com/ is close enough but they only have black blue splash.

    Is there some reason that the breeders i'm finding only seem to have black type or brown type birds but not both? I thought about getting a different breed(welsummers or marans) so i can have some buff/wheaten birds but i don't know that want to end up with olive eggs. I worry that eventually if i'm not careful with the breeding that i'd eventually end up with all olive eggers. If i saw green eggs at a farmers market as a non chicken person i'd think there was something wrong with them or they were rotten.

    Any thoughts? I feel like it'll be hard to tell the black birds apart since they're all black and the idea of a bunch of black birds just seems boring. is there enough color variation in the black birds that they are easily identifiable? I have 2 young children and i want them to be as excited as possible about the birds so they are more apt to take an interest in them and i feel like the wheaten/mix colors seem to be the most fun to me but i do like the blues and the iridescent colors on the black roos.

    Planned setup. I have .9 acres. 70% will be fenced in 50% of the fenced area is wooded. I will be building a leanto style shed/coop and leaving the trusses exposed at the front and rear but covered with hardware cloth to keep out predators and an overhang so i don't have to worry about soaking rains. there will be an attached secure pen for them with adequate room to be safe when no one is around and when we are home they will be able to roam the entire fenced area if they like minus a small section i will be fencing off to keep clean for the kids unless that's really isn't needed.

    Whitmore recommended "If you want 10-12 hens + 2 cocks, which is a good starter flock, I recommend you get 25 chicks. I would get 13 Ameraucana to ensure you get enough blue egg layers, and 6 Welsummer and 6 Delaware."

    if i want to get a good mix of colors should i just get different breeds and get over the olive eggs or should i just get as many different colored ameraucanas as i can since i'm really just looking for pretty blue eggs? i'm looking to cull most of the roos as food only keeping the ones that i really like as my initial roos start to age. Maybe i should get ameraucans and mix them with cream leghorns that way i'll get different colors that all lay blue eggs.

    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Most serious breeders do not have the time or space to specialize in more than a few breeds at the most. While all members of the same breed, different color breeding stock of Ameraucanas must be kept separate for breeding purposes, as each individual color can not be crossed with others without loosing the look. That means keeping usually several roosters of each single color, each rooster requiring a separate pen, to ensure you get enough diversity to breed good quality birds.

    I would say that if you plan on keeping more than one rooster they are very likely to require separate housing, as eventually most roosters will start fighting, and eventually one will likely be seriously injured or killed. One rooster should easily be able to take care of 12 hens.

    There are other blue egg layers - Cream Legbars, Araucanas (likely to be more rare than Ams), and if you are not planning on a breeding operation Easter Eggers (they are quite pretty and excellent layers of blue, green and pale tan eggs)

    You might consider a few Cochins and/or Silkies, as they are docile and make good birds for children. Both are available in many colors and have a unique look.

    And welcome to BYC [​IMG]
     
  3. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    You may want to check into McMurray's whiting true blues. They all lay blue eggs, but come in a variety of colors and patterns. While they may say sold out for the season, some do occasionally become available as hatch dates near. I ordered 6 on 5/12 that hatched 5/16. All 6 have completely different down colors.

    If you decide to stick with Ameraucanas, just be aware when you cross varieties the offspring are considered Easter Eggers.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    If you get a couple different varieties of Ameraucana and then cross breed them, you will be producing Easter Eggers. If you want a wide variety of looks, but none of the restriction of breed standards, Easter Eggers are a great choice. Most will even lay better the 'pure' Ameraucana. And if you source from a hatchery, you will likely be receiving birds that are descended from the same birds that were used as the foundation of the recognized Ameraucana breed. And while there is always a chance of a hen laying cream, brown, or pink; most will lay shades of blue or pale green.
     
  5. pyronym

    pyronym New Egg

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    May 23, 2016
    So crossing a black ameraucana with a buff Ameraucana the cross is considered an ee? Guess I'm confused.
     
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Yep. Crossing color varieties produces a genetic hodge-podge that will not breed true.
     
  7. pyronym

    pyronym New Egg

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    Ah I see so really it's more like a strain/race than a breed there's a black blue splash strain/race and the buff wheaten would be another strain/race. I was looking at it like they are both true ameraucanas but they'd be considered ees because if you crossed the mix back to either side you could still have the other show up
     
  8. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    In order for a bird to be considered a specific breed, it must meet the physical description of the breed, and be a recognized color of the breed or breed true at least 50% of the time. This is true for any breed of chicken.
    You can not cross different varieties within a breed, and still call them 'purebred'. That's just not how it works with chickens. There are a few exceptions, like the Blue/Splash/Black varieties, because the Blue gene is simply a modifier for the black, and the offspring do breed true at least 50% of the time.
    But for the most part, the crossed chicks would be carrying a combination of genes that would express in unpredictable ways. And it would take several generations breeding back to a standard coloring before you could accurately predict the chicks coloring.
     
  9. pyronym

    pyronym New Egg

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    Thank you! I get it now. I was thinking about it like dogs a pure bred English style boxer mixed with a pure bred american style boxer is still a purebred boxer it just might have either English or American features. So in talking about the chickens(still new to thislol) if I mixed a black ameraucana with a buff the birds would have "pure" amerucana blood and would still lay blue eggs and would still have the peacomb but the off spring would be considered mutts for the simple reason that I couldn't be sure what the cross' offspring coloring would be like on a consistent basis. I wouldn't be able to represent a black bird as a black ameraucana because the blue hen hatched from a blue egg mixed with an actual purebred black blue or splash could hatch an egg with a buff or wheaten or whatever color chick

    I'm looking for consistency with my eggs. I don't mind if I breed some mixes as I wouldn't be planning on showing them. But if I bought wheaten birds and black birds and crossed them their offspring should still lay blue eggs similar to their parents as they should be inheriting 2 blue egg genes. So if I hatched only a group of blue eggs their offspring would lay blue like 99.9999% so for me just an oddly colored ameraucana that consistently lays blue eggs and whose offspring will consistently lays blue eggs and so on and so forth I just couldn't reliably guess the off springs color down the road.
     
  10. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Breeding for color can be very complicated. While in certain circumstances you can cross a different colored bird in for specific purposes, for example to improve type, those crosses must be done very carefully, and it will take generations before the offspring will be standard again. In general, once you cross colors, the offspring are no longer up to the standard and can not be called purebred Ams.

    That is all completely separate from the blue egg gene. Egg color is not dependent on feather color. There is a gene for blue eggs, and true blue egg layers carry one or two copies of this gene, with no brown egg modifier genes present. Birds that lay greenish eggs have genes for brown egg color mixed in. If you want to have strictly blue eggs, and are not concerned about purebred birds, as long as you select blue egg hens and cross them under a blue egg rooster, you will get hens that lay blue eggs.

    The Blue-Black-Splash color (Andalusian Blue) is a unique interplay between two separate genes. The blue gene dilutes the black gene, and the amount of dilution depends on whether there are one or two copies of the blue gene (with most genes the effect of a modifier gene is either on or off, with no in-between). So a black bird with no blue gene influence is black, with one blue gene influence blue (grey colored), and with two blue genes influence splash (white with grey spots). Since interbreeding B-B-S birds produces other B-B-S birds, it is a "color" that breeds true, with 3 possible outcomes.

    This color group should not be confused with the other blue color, called Self Blue or Lavender, which is a light gray color that breeds true, producing only other lavender colored birds.
     

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