I'm no expert but I think they are something like Americaunas or Aracaunas and something else that sounds similar......sorry I didn't do my research. But anyways, they are chickens that lay different colored eggs that look like Easter eggs...hence the name...
An Araucana and an Americana are usually the breed of chicken refered to as EE's. They lay green, yellow, pink, tan, etc. colored eggs. They colors are usually a soft muted version of the color and quite pretty. Martha Stewart raises EE's and supposedly got some of her paint line colors from the eggs she gets from hers. I took a sage green egg from one of mine to Lowes and had them match some paint to it and painted my kitchen that color.
There are posts miles long about the differances, basically it's a cross with Ameracauna or eh whatever the other blue egged chicken's called. The gene that causes tuffs in the origional chickens can lead to high mortality in the offspring, so in the 70's they were crosses with domestic chickens to keep the egg color gene, but not have huge chick losses. Basically you can't show an EE as it's not a breed, but a crossed chicken, but if all you want is pretty eggs, you're good.
Yes I know I completely simplified it, but there's 20 page long posts if you want to get the finer points.
An Easter Egger is a crossbreed bird that has the blue egg gene somewhere in its background, but may lay any color egg itself, be any color itself, etc. . There is no standard for an Easter Egger. Hatcheries sell EEs, but not Ameraucanas or Araucanas (two different breeds). Those you get from a breeder and they each do have a breed standard. So many threads on this issue! It'll take you half the weekend to read them all.
John Blehm, a veteran Ameraucana breeder addresses the issue:
"Aren't Ameraucana, Araucana, and Easter Egg chickens the same?
No. Ameraucana (often misspelled "Americana") and Araucana chickens are both relatively new breeds and both lay blue eggs. They are different breeds with different characteristics that are defined in the APA and ABA standards. Easter Egg Chickens are not a "Standard" breed. They are mixed breeds (aka mutts or barnyard chickens) that happen to posses the gene for blue eggs.
How do I know I'm really getting Ameraucana chickens?
If they are advertised as Americana, Americauna, Ameraucana/Araucana or Easter Egg chickens, you can be sure they aren't the real thing. If they can't get the name right, they don't know what they have. Also beware of the fine print that says their chickens "are recommended for egg laying color and not for exhibition" or "Our flock is multi-colored with a wide range of colors and feather patterns" or "**Breeds marked this way are production strains and Should Not be used for 4-H". Those disclaimers and similar ones mean they are selling mutts, not Ameraucanas. Many hatcheries, both big and small, will sell anything that doesn't lay a white or brown egg as an Ameraucana or Araucana. Educate yourself about Ameraucanas before you buy."
Thanks for the info... As a newbie from England I had no clue what an EE was... And they seem to listed and talked about quite often... I think I'm clued up to what they are now...!
Next year I think I might get some fertile Araucana ( which are more prevalent over here!) as eggs to put under my Sussex.... They are quite popular over here as an almost pet bread with the farmers wives... however a farmer down the road just lost hers to mink and foxes...
Yes it's always really nice to see posts clarifying the differences between those three groups!
However, please keep in mind your geographic location if you are going to buy Araucanas, the standards that most of the above posts describe are the American version, not the UK or Australian version.
The UK standard will not have the famous (in the US anyway) cheek tufts, as it is a lethal gene when inherited from both parents, and thus considered a fault. They also have a different shape skull, resulting in a tiny crest on the top of the head. Additionally, in the UK both tailed and tail-less birds are acceptable, whereas in the US only tail-less birds are showable.
There are more differences between the standards, but those are the ones that I could think of off the top of my head. I hope you enjoy your Araucanas, I reeeeeeeeeally wish I had UK ones! I like the gene-set of them better than the lethal genes floating around in the US standard. I'd feel terrible if I made a genetic error that ended up killing an entire hatch.