Two of my so-called Ameraucanas: Poor Gert got hit with the ugly stick.

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by FeelingPeckish, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. FeelingPeckish

    FeelingPeckish Chirping

    Jan 30, 2012
    Central Texas
    This is a bad picture of her as I thought she was going to die this past week, so I grabbed a parting shot (she looked very ill one afternoon and was hiding in the nesting boxes, but then snapped out of it by the next morning and is now back to normal)- but I wanted to ask has anyone else come across such poor feather quality and weird coloring in a bird being passed off as an Ameraucana? And if so, did the chicken live to be a fully mature adult? Maybe she is not an Ameraucana, but a mix of that and something else?

    That's "Nancy Grace" on the left (she's stark raving and makes a lot of noise and big to-dos out of nothing) and Gert on the right, in case you weren't sure which was which! Gert is super sweet and very tame, but also at the bottom of the flock-- hence her missing tail feathers. You can't tell here, but some of the darker feathers are blueish. I love her to pieces, but am worried her poor genetics might result in a premature death, her comb is not red like her peers (refer to looney).

    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  2. Veer67

    Veer67 Songster

    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  3. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Crowing

    Apr 8, 2008
    Both your birds are Easter Eggers, not Ameraucanas. It's unfortunately almost more common to find EEs sold as Ameraucanas than to be sold actual Ameraucanas, so you're in good company.

    Both birds look like standard EEs, although you're right, Gert has a unique color pattern. Because an EE is just a mutt chicken that carries the blue egg gene, she could have almost any kind of chicken in her heritage, although she almost certainly has some Ameraucana in there somewhere which is giving her the beard and (hopefully) a blue egg gene.

    I don't think she's going to die prematurely or anything based on her coloring. I think she just has a unique color pattern and isn't as mature as Nancy Grace which would account for the pale comb.

    Based on her posture and fluffed up feathers in that photo, she doesn't look like she's entirely healthy to me, however.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  4. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Crowing

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    Your birds are Easter Eggers...a very common mixture of Ameraucana or Araucana genes on one side and any other breed on the other. Many hatcheries and unscrupulous breeders and the ignorant will pass them off as Ameraucanas.

    They are basically mutts. If they don't have cross beaks, or other obvious defects, I wouldn't be worried about their genes and longevity.

    Unless very carefully done, pure breeds tend to be less hardy than mutts thanks to the selective breeding to get a particular color or conformation which eliminates some of the genetics causing greater likelihood of deformities and susceptibility to disease. For that reason, always purchase a pure breed from a reputable breeder with good breeding records.

    Conversely, due to the extra mixture of genes, hybrids and mutts tend to be hardier and more disease resistant. They are also more colorful and unpredictable as to outcome as the lottery of genes falls here and there between one bird and another. I have found them to be a great addition to my flock, and a great guessing game as to what they will look like when they are growing up.

    I'm glad Gert is better now, but sad she is getting so picked on by the other hens. I would recommend that you manipulate your flock a bit so that she is less stressed. Stress is bad for birds and can cause illness.

    If she was only lingering in the nesting box with no other sign of illness (no nasal discharge, sneezing, nicking, head shaking, wet litter diarrhea, runny eyes), she may have been contemplating brooding...they will look very listless and "spacey" and want to sit and sit in the nesting box when they go broody. You could mistake them for being sick. (As a newbie I once took the temp of a hen because I was worried she was sick only to find out she had merely become broody.)

    Watch her. If she has plucked the feathers out from her chest and really wants to sit in a box, contemplate giving her some eggs to hatch. Broody hens are wonderful....I never discourage a good brood....I use them to hatch my chicks and am forever free of heat lamps and brooding duties.

    Lady of McCamley

    EDITED TO ADD: WalkingOnSunshine is right to note the pale comb...Gert may be younger and simply not mature enough to be laying yet...but she may be starting to contemplate laying which would be another reason for her to linger in the nest box. Watch her to make sure she isn't egg bound. The start of the laying process can be difficult for some hens. But she doesn't appear to be badly sick or deformed....just a uniquely colored EE.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  5. popsicle

    popsicle Songster

    How old are they?

    Easter Eggers are such a mixed lot that any color is possible. I have one that has a hot pink comb and one with a very light pink comb, they're both the same age and both lay eggs.

    You could maybe give the poorly-feathered one some extra protein to see if that helps. Cat food, hard boiled eggs, etc. Last time I was at the feed store they even had a feed labeled "feather fixer"--I didn't look into its contents though.
  6. FeelingPeckish

    FeelingPeckish Chirping

    Jan 30, 2012
    Central Texas
    Thank you all for your responses and clarification of what they are, I was thinking they were likely "mere EEs," but mentally keep sticking by what the hatchery called them!

    I do hope she is just oddly colored and otherwise healthy and will mature normally (as I mentioned, she is acting normally now, but I will assure she gets some extra protein (and maybe put some pinless peepers on the most aggressive girls she has to deal with). My wariness is based on another pullet I had whose "bad feathers' and non- maturing status resulted in her premature death. We think she had a syndrome. My sincere thanks again!
  7. FeelingPeckish

    FeelingPeckish Chirping

    Jan 30, 2012
    Central Texas
    Thanks for your response, they are about 6 months old? born April 9th or so. I'll be sure to let her have first dibs on the cat food tonight.
  8. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    I agree, they are Easter Eggers. Pretty birds!

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