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Chicken Scratch Poultry

Friday, February 21, 2014

Breed Information - Ameraucana & Rumpless Tufted Araucnana, Two Very Different Breeds

This week let's talk about the two most mislabeled and misunderstood breeds in the poultry industry, the Ameraucana and the Rumpless Tufted Araucana.  They are two totally separate and different breeds.   The big hatcheries can't seem to understand them and for many years sold a mongrel bird they call an Ameraucana/Aruacana and claim this is a true breed.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  After many complaints from their customers they now call whatever junk they have created an "Eater Egger"


Let's begin with the Rumpless Tufted Araucana.  What a fascinating bird!  They are a blue egg layer, can be tufted and are Rumpless  meaning they do not have a tail or even the oil gland at the tail.  Tufts are unique to the Araucana breed.  Tufts are a group of feathers that grow from a flap of skin located near the ear.  Tufts can be many shapes and sizes and they may only have a tuft on one side of the face and can have no tufts at all or "clean faced".  A double tufted bird is an awesome sight.  Double tufts are very difficult to obtain on the Rumpless Araucana.  The Tufted gene is a lethal gene and will cause 25% of the chicks to die in the shell before they can hatch.  Rumpless Araucana are also a difficult bird to breed, due to the lack of a tail, fertility is difficult to obtain.
 Araucanas lay a beautiful blue egg.  The blue egg color in any bird is created by a liver bile pigment that is deposited throughout the shell, even the inside of the shell is blue when you open the egg. You will not find this in a brown egg layer, the inside of the egg will be white.  Brown egg layers deposit color on the outer part of the egg shell only.
Our Araucanas are good layers during the winter months but when it gets extremely hot outside the laying slows down.  This breed will go broody even more so than the Amraucana.


The hens are very sweet and a little on the shy side and a rather quite bird.  Our Araucanas are standard sized birds but the hens are small.  The fact that the birds are rumpless can cause short backs which can in turn cause hens to become egg bound. We have not had a problem with this ourselves but I have heard from other people who have.  When the chicks are tiny you really need to watch them, they will be the first to get pasty butt.  Since the little rump is so round the poop sticks to the chick. Keep a good watch and keep those fuzzy butts clean.
Golden Duckwing Araucana Rooster

The Rumpless Araucana make great foragers and free range well.  They are a light bird and can fly short distances if needed.  We keep our chicken run covered because they can fly over.  They are a very beautiful bird and come in many colors.  You can not get this bird from a hatchery, buyer beware, purchase from a reputable breeder.

Ameraucana

The Ameraucana is also a fabulous breed but a total and separate breed from the Rumpless Araucana.  The Ameraucana has a beard or muff which looks like amazing puffy cheeks.  The Ameraucana has a tail, slate gray legs (not yellow or orange) and always lays a blue egg.  Every bird will lay the same blue colored egg. When the egg is cracked open the inside shell will be the same color as the outside.   They will not lay green, pink or brown eggs, that is a mute the large hatcheries have created and pass off as an Ameraucana.  Our Ameraucanas come in Black, Blue and an occasional splash bird.
Ameraucanas are good layers, they do slow down production during the coldest months.  They will occasionally go broody, which means they will want to hatch eggs.  We don't see much broodiness from this breed though.
This breed is very shy and skittish here on the farm but I get totally different revues from our customers. I think it has to do with the fact this is a breeding farm verses a pet in the backyard.  Our customers say they are the most friendly bird they have ever had.  I always think they must be kidding.  We aren't able to hand raise our birds with having so many and it makes a huge difference.   Even those folks who have our roosters say they make the greatest pets.
The Ameraucana chicks are so very cute with their little chubby cheeks.
The Ameraucana and the Rumpless Araucana are two of the most difficult birds on the farm to guess the sex on.  Just when I think I have all of my hens separated into the breeding pens, one of my hens will begin to crow.    Even at the age of 4 months they will have me scratching my head thinking are you a rooster or a hen?
What a great breed!  Those robin egg blue colored eggs are amazing and a farm favorite.

Have a Great Weekend!
Angie

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