Your Experience Raising Araucanas?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by ClareScifi, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 30, 2011
    Someone told me her favorite chicken is an Araucana. She also has Silkies and Buff Orpingtons.

    I am thinking of getting some Araucanas, and I'm seeking stories of first-hand experiences Araucana owners have had with these chickens.

    For example, how long have they tended to live for you? Are they cold hardy, heat hardy, and disease-resistant?

    If you have had any problems with them, I'd love to hear what the problems were.

    Thank you so much for your help.
     
  2. nivtup

    nivtup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Shelton Washington
    Solid birds, hardy in all conditions here in the PNW.

    A great challenge to breed.You really really need some Araucanas.

    They seem to be a sturdy bird. WE have had them for a few years now, and still have some of the original stock. Still laying.
     
  3. cashdl

    cashdl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Willits
    They are a fun hardy decently broody bird that tends to lay year round. I do not recommend them for everyone. They are difficult to breed and can be heartbreaking to raise as the birds with the nicest tufts and coloring are few and far between and seem to fall prey to calamity before the cleanfaced ones will. Its Murphys law for sure.

    Be sure your friend is talking about the real araucana and not a bird that was purchased at a feed store.

    They are difficult to find and can be expensive to purchase. Everyone wants pullets. But if you like a challenge they are the most fabulous breed to have.

    Lanae
     
  4. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She did get hers at a feed store, and I don't care about their looks, so maybe EEs would suit me just fine?

    To the person who has some of the original stock, what did the ones who died, die from, and same question to cashdl about the pretty ones she had who also fell prey to calamity. What sort of calamity?

    Thanks in advance,

    Clare
     
  5. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    EE suit most people just fine, cashdl was just mentioning the feed store issue because many hatcheries (and the feed stores that get their chicks from them) still label their Easter Eggers as "Araucanas" or "Ameraucanas" and they are three totally different breeds. Not that one is necessarily better than the other, but it's always good to know what you're getting into.

    EE seem to be a mixed bag depending on which hatchery you get them from. A lot of people say that their EE lay very well and others say that they are poor layers in their experience. With small pea combs and very small to nonexistent wattles they are typically very cold hardy. Pea combs tend to be slightly less heat hardy than larger single combs, but my EE have all done well with the 90-100 degree heat + 80% humidity that we get here in the summer time. Disease resistance is probably also a pretty mixed bag. For the most part, they seem to be a very healthy type of chicken. Although I will say that out of the 5 EE I ordered, at least 2 had some issues that were probably genetic. One had a cross beak, which kept her from eating enough to thrive although she was able to eat enough to produce eggs and be a very reliable layer. Cross beak seems to be more prevalent in EE and silkies, although it may just be that those are the breeds who's owners talk about it online more than others. The other one was an internal layer, which can happen with any breed but is more common in hatchery birds because the hatcheries focus on high egg production which can often lead to an increase in reproductive cancers and issues like internal laying. Of the two dozen or so eggs she laid, maybe one of them was anywhere close to normal. The others were all large, soft shelled, and frequently misshapen and covered in a slimy membrane.
     
  6. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the great info, AinaWGSD!
     
  7. cashdl

    cashdl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Willits
    Araucana tend to get pasty butt as chicks. Last year I had a real problem with it but none of my batches seem to be a concern this year. Also the tufting gene is a lethal gene with two copies, but with just one copie of the gene it can still cause problems, such as difficulty eating and swallowing, and the chicks can sometimes just be weaker. Last year cocci was really bad here also, but this year I have taken to using the deep litter method and I have not had a case of it. I start hatching in earnest in January so have hatched well over 200 chicks so far this year. Out of the 200 hatched I am only keeping maybe 5 that at this moment look good enough to grow out for further evaluation. The rest get sold locally to people who want blue egg layers.

    As far as the pretty ones that seem to fall prey to calamity its because you get excited by them and fall in love with them. It is almost always the double tufted rumpless ones that are the perfect color that die. Case in point. I had a black roo chick that was 6 months old. He was completely black with no red which is rare and two huge tufts. So sweet and loved to be held. I refused to fall in love with it because I figured it would die. In fact I left it in the grow out pens for the 5 to 6 month olds. The grow out pen is the only truly free range pen I have, and they are penned up tight at night. So everything is going along fine and one day I decide to clean him up and trim his behind fluff and find a pen to put him in. My daughter was helping me. We gave him a bath and cleaned him up. I put him down and went to move chickens around in pens. He never goes far and is free range anyway. What does he do? He literally walked up to my brother in laws guard dog that keeps the deer out of the garden and climbed in its mouth. All the chicks steer clear of this dog. It is chained up to a tree and they all know better. This chick had 10 acres around my house that it played in its entire 6 months and I never worried about the dog. All I figure is it commited suicide because all the sudden I was showing interest. The dog didn't get any of the ugly chicks just this one. These are chicks that would steal food from the dogs dish and that day it got its revenge.

    I know it sounds weird but truly in the araucana world breeders do not get attached to chicks before they are of breeding age, because chances are something will happen to them.

    Also even with non tufted chicks there is a 20% mortality rate.

    Lanae
     
  8. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, I am so sorry, Lanae! That is just awful. I have heard so many bad stories about dogs killing chickens lately, and my chooks have had some close calls with them, too.

    Araucanas sure sound like a fun breed! I am leaning in that direction.

    It's always your favorites that die-- whether chickens or kittens. You are right.
     
  9. cashdl

    cashdl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Willits
    You should come join us over at the Araucana Anyone thread.

    Lanae
     
  10. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the invite, Lanae! I will!
     

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