Before you buy "Ameraucanas"....

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by PrairieChickens, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. PrairieChickens

    PrairieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,679
    289
    201
    Jun 29, 2012
    Kansas
    '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.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

    5,658
    911
    316
    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    I'd add to this that hatchery chicks are not show chickens. Maybe you get one but that would be like winning the lottery. Mostly, they are "breed representative". Chances are they will look a good bit like the breed should but don't expect them to be an exact match to the pictures in your breed book. They will likely be good layers and fine for backyard flocks. That's what they are meant for.
     
  3. PrairieChickens

    PrairieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,679
    289
    201
    Jun 29, 2012
    Kansas
    Right.
     
  4. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,534
    174
    186
    May 18, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    Only adding that the BYC Buy-Sell-Trade forum is another spot to look for true Ameraucana's from knowledgeable BYC members.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,143
    3,357
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Here are a couple of articles I fine really interesting, especially the history of Ameraucanas. It puts to rest many misconceptions about Ameraucanas.

    EE/Ameraucana/Araucana comparison
    http://apa-abayouthpoultryclub.org/Edu_Material/Easter Eggers vs.pdf

    Ameraucana History
    http://www.ameraucana.org/history.html

    If you look at Cackle’s EE write-up, they say their EE flock started in 1971. The Araucana standard was approved in 1976 and he Ameraucana in 1984. Cackle had EE’s before the Araucana or Ameraucana had standards. No wonder their EE’s don’t meet the standards. It also shows that Araucanas and Ameraucanas were developed from EE’s, not the other way around.

    http://www.cacklehatchery.com/araucana.html
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,532
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    One thing I find interesting....folks who know nothing about chickens, let alone any specific breed, buy Ameraucanas from the feed stores then get all bent out of shape when they find they don't meet the breed standard. Thing is, none of those folks knew there was a breed standard before they bought the chicks. They went to the feed store, saw a sign that said these chicks lay blue or green eggs, and wanted those. That's still what you get with Easter eggers. As stated above, no one buys a chick from a bin at a feed store looking for a show bird or one that's bred to the SOP. Easter eggers fill a great niche. MMM hatchery does state their birds are for production, not show....I believe other hatcheries are starting to say the same thing. No one should be disappointed in getting an Easter egger.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  7. PrairieChickens

    PrairieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,679
    289
    201
    Jun 29, 2012
    Kansas
    I agree that you shouldn't feel disappointed in getting an Easter Egger, but it is nice to know what you are actually getting. Like I said, I'd buy more EE's knowing that they're not actually Ameraucanas, but when I first found out the "Ameraucanas" I had bought were not what I thought they were, that was very disappointing at the time. I got over it when I realized how great my Easter Eggers are, but I would like to help other newbies avoid that pitfall if I can.
     
  8. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

    5,658
    911
    316
    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN

    Oh, but they do! How many posts have we seen from people who bought their 4H project chicks from a hatchery and then are upset that they cannot show them because of DQ faults? I find it amazing that someone would not stop to think about the $2 price tag or even Google where to buy a show chicken but it seems to happen repeatedly which is why I added it.
     
  9. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

    5,658
    911
    316
    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN

    Personally, I'd be disappointed if I got a brown layer since blue/green eggs are really the main draw. It's why I wouldn't buy from a backyard breeder crossing their hatchery EEs.
     
  10. Holas

    Holas Out Of The Brooder

    30
    3
    26
    Feb 22, 2014
    Thanks for the info. I just got my first chicks a few weeks ago and got some chicks labeled as ameraucana.. at least now I know to call them Easter eggers
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by