Is the Ear Tufts gene a death sentence to Ameraucanas? My parent flock of LF Lavender Ameraucana hens died in their first year and half from apparent respiratory distress. They all had ear tufts. I tried everything to save them. I was able to hatch 10 out of 40 eggs before the last ones died early this year. 6 of these were boys, leaving me with 4 pullets which are now approximately 25 weeks old. I now have a pullet showing the same symptoms of the parents respiratory distress. She is the only one that has ear tufts, the other three do not, and appear fine. What ever the illness, it is not effecting any of my other mixed flock. Only the Ameraucanas. The distress appears to be symptoms of Gape Worm, stretching the neck out, and open beak gasping. Could this be genetic? Note: the original flock Roo is still alive and well.