'Tis the season for chicks, and many eager chicken keepers are rushing out to buy new peeps for their flocks. All over the country, feed stores and farm supply outlets are filling up bins of fluffy chicks, giving their customers a chance at breeds like barred rocks, rhode island reds, cornish cross, and more. For some, there is even a bin of ridiculously cute chicks, supposedly full of the rare and highly-coveted "Ameraucana" breed, for little more than the cost of a barred rock or rhode island red pullet! Buyer beware: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. The vast majority of chicks sold in the US under the label "Ameraucana" are actually "Easter Eggers"--mutts bred by crossing an Ameraucana with pretty much any other breed of chicken to produce a chicken that could lay any color of egg from pinkish brown to blue to olive green. Many a newbie has been taken in by this scam, and I should know--we bought five gorgeous "Ameraucana" chicks, only to find out a few weeks later we'd been mislead. That being said, I wouldn't change a thing. My Easter Eggers--mutts or not--are without question the BEST chickens in my flock. They are colorful, full of personality, healthy, and lay well all through winter. Their pea combs don't get frostbite in winter, and they don't overheat in our brutal Kansas summers. Knowing now that those "Ameraucanas" at Orscheln's are actually "Easter Eggers" won't deter me one little tiny bit from buying them. If anything, knowing what they are has made them all the more desirable for me! So, it boils down to this: If you want to get the chicks, get them, but do so knowing that they are not purebred Ameraucana. I can say fairly confidently that you won't be disappointed by your purchase. If you want purebred Ameraucana, be prepared to pay and be prepared to wait--availability of this highly-coveted breed is very limited, and it took me years to finally acquire a pair of my own. Purebred chicks can be purchased through the Meyer Hatchery website, and by extension, My Pet Chicken, but they are mostly sold out for the year. (I was fortunate enough to receive notification of an overhatch, and managed to nab two chicks on a day they otherwise wouldn't have been available.) Keep an eye on their site as the new year approaches, and reserve your chicks early to make sure you get the breeds you want. You can find more information on the Ameraucana/Araucana/Easter Egger facts here: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2011/09/ameraucana-easter-egger-or-araucana.html You can purchase true Ameraucanas (As well as more delightful Easter Eggers if you want them!) at the Meyer Hatchery page and My Pet Chicken.