Colorful egg basket from an Ameraucana

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by mustangsaguaro, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. mustangsaguaro

    mustangsaguaro Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 30, 2007
    San Martin, Ca
    Not sure if this is the right place to post this. If it is not please let me know and I will move it to the correct place. I had someone come by yesterday to buy one of my Lavender Ameraucana roosters. In the end she didn't buy him. She was hemming and hawing of should I or shouldn't I. She wants a variety or colorful eggs from her hens. She was planning on using him w/ her so called Wheaton Ameraucanas. Well, after speaking w/ her I found out her Wheatons are actually Easter Eggers as she got the birds from the feed store. I explained to her the difference between what hatcheries call Americana's and what a 'TRUE' Ameraucana is. She said her hens lay a nice blue egg and she wanted a male so she could hatch out chicks that would lay more colorful (blue/blue green eggs). Well, I explained to her the way one should go about breeding 'TRUE' Ameraucanas. And since I already knew she had EE whatever she used to breed to her hens were going to still be EE. She then got off on a tangent of well maybe then I should use a different breed of rooster for her hens. I then explained to her that if she took another breed (Maran, RIR, Leghorn, etc), that she would not know what color eggs the chicks lay until they are old enough. I explained to her that the chicks could lay blue (no guarantees), brown, white, etc. if she used something other than an already known breed that carries the blue egg gene. Am I correct on this or am I totally off. From what I gathered from her is she wasn't concerned about a purebred. But then she stated something about breeding colorful eggs from a heritage breed chicken. I told her an EE from a hatchery is by no means a heritage breed chicken. This woman was just all over the place. My question is did I tell her the right thing in regards to getting blue/blue green eggs from the offspring. She would need to breed to a known blue egg layer to her current hens.

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It gets real confusing with hatchery EE’s. Not all hatcheries are exactly alike since they have different people selecting the breeding birds, but you are not going to get Ameraucanas or Araucanas from any hatchery I know of. What you are most likely to get are chickens that lay blue, green, some shades of brown, and maybe but not likely a white egg.

    I don’t know how many hens that lady had. I don’t know if she had enough for averages to mean anything.

    I think I followed what you said but with her being all over the place it’s hard to be sure. And I think what you told her was right.

    There are a couple of different things working here. You probably already know both of these but maybe I can help your confidence in what you told her.

    Egg shell color comes from two different things. There is one gene that determines if the base color is blue or white. Blue is dominant so if just one of that gene pair is blue, the base color is blue. Green is just brown in addition to that base color. There are a whole lot of different genes that influence brown. Which ones are present and how they go together determines the actual shade of brown or green. This is a simplistic way to look at it:

    Base blue + no brown = blue
    Base blue + brown = green
    Base white + no brown = white
    Base white + brown = brown

    So it she wants to keep some blue eggs, she needs a rooster from stock that would lay blue or white eggs. If she uses a rooster from stock that lays brown or green eggs, she will only get green or brown eggs.

    The other part of it is that since the blue gene is dominant, you don’t know if that specific chicken has one or two copies of the blue egg gene if it lays blue or green eggs. If you cross a hen with two blue egg genes, it doesn’t matter what the rooster has, the offspring will get a blue egg gene from its mother. Same thing if the rooster is the one with two blue egg genes.

    But if the hen (or rooster) has one blue egg gene and one white egg gene, there is no telling which of those genes any specific offspring will get. There are several different scenarios, but the more blue egg genes in either parent, the greater the chance of at least one blue egg gene showing up in the offspring.

    If yours are true Ameraucanas, yours should all have two copies of the blue egg genes and no brown at all. So if her hens are laying blue or green eggs and she crosses them with one of your true Ameraucana roosters, the offspring should be guaranteed to get at least one blue egg gene and no brown from him. They should all lay blue or green eggs.

    If she crosses her hens with a rooster from a white egg laying breed, like leghorn, she should get some blue and green egg laying offspring, but also may get some white or brown.

    If she crosses them with a rooster with brown genes, she will get some green eggs but also maybe some brown.
  3. mustangsaguaro

    mustangsaguaro Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 30, 2007
    San Martin, Ca
    Thanks for the explanation. I think this might help her decide whether or not she wants to go w/ the rooster or not.

    In regards to your one comment. All my Ameraucana's are 'TRUE' Ameraucanas. I hatched them from eggs which I got from other breeders that are on the ABC website.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by