Creating a homestead can be a difficult process if you’re not sure what type of livestock can help sustain your rural lifestyle. One of the most beneficial is to invest in is the Ameraucana chicken.
This unique chicken breed is fairly new and only made its first appearance in the early 1970s.
While it may not seem like an ideal breed to keep in your backyard, you’ll be surprised by its uses.
The Ameraucana breed of chicken is known for being ideal for rural areas due to its skittish nature.
It doesn’t do well in suburban areas and is susceptible to stress when placed with other livestock.
This sounds like a downside, but when living isolated, the chicken produces many different resources that become valuable.
Many people enjoy the Ameraucana breed because of its puffy and comical cheeks, while others love the chicken’s disposition.
The chicken’s personality aside, they are very bright and curious birds that make amazing pets.
Lastly, they work well in multiple climates and are very versatile.
Let us learn more about the Ameraucana breed to help you understand if it’s right for you or not.
History of the Ameraucana Chicken
The Ameraucana breed of chicken was first bred using a type of blue- or green-tinted egg-laying chicken called the Araucana, so the Ameraucana is commonly confused with the Araucana breed.
The Araucana is a popular chicken breed from South America and has slight defects that cut down its life expectancy.
On that note, the Ameraucana chickens were bred in the USA in the early 1970s to help remove a genetic defect that the Araucana suffered from, which was an ear tuft that could heighten the death rate of baby chicks.
After a decade of breeding, the Ameraucana was recognized as a breed of its own.
As of 1984, the American Poultry Association recognizes the Ameraucana as a standard breed.
They also have included eight different color variations of the species and noted their different characteristics.
More of the Ameraucana breed survived birth and were able to live healthy lives.
This produced a healthy chicken that could still produce high-quality eggs, plumage, and meat.
Additionally, their temperament was less aggressive and friendly.
Ameraucana Chicken Characteristics
Let us now look at how this breed looks, behaves, and more.
This way, you’ll understand its needs, as well as how you can take care and breed it.
What does a Ameraucana Chicken Look Like
The Ameraucana breed has a few notable appearances.
It is one of the most versatile chickens when it comes to looks.
It can have up to eight different colors, which makes it hard to describe.
Nonetheless, we will do our best to give you the overall appearances that are notable to them.
Each chicken includes its unique palettes, which are a mixture of black, white, blue, and brown.
This allows each chicken to be unique and have stunning colors and looks.
Either way, they are beautiful and eye-catching to keep on your property.
With their thick feathers, they are considered a winter hardy bird, which allows them to survive in a multitude of different climates.
Their beard and muffs are often puffy and give them a distinct silly chipmunk-like face.
Other characteristics include deep red eyes that look sharp and intimidating, while their puffy cheeks and skittish personality make them less scary.
Weight-wise, females range from five to four pounds, while males can be as heavy as up to seven pounds.
Where as the Bantam Chickens are miniature chickens breed.
Ameraucana Disposition and Behavior
As for the chicken’s disposition, the Ameraucana is very friendly but can be easily scared away but quick movements and loud sounds.
They are often found in flocks chattering with each other, and you won’t find some of them having problems interacting with one another or humans.
Do note, though, that they don’t do well with other farm animals, so it’s best to keep them in a secluded area where they can roam around freely.
This will keep them happy and stress-free.
Additionally, they may enjoy having you around them, but aren’t as friendly as other breeds and don’t want to be touched or petted.
Other dispositions known to breeders are that not only is the Ameraucana’s appearance variable, but also its personality.
They show a wide variety of behaviors which makes certain traits hard to pinpoint at times.
This is likely due to the breed’s upbringing and genetic differences between the standards.
Males do tend to be a bit more aggressive and territorial, while the females generally do well with each other but need to be given their personal space.
With their large frame, these chickens should be kept in large cages, providing plenty of space width-wise.
This can help prevent their stress levels and skittishness from spiking.
Ameraucana Egg Laying Habits
The eggs that the Ameraucana hens lay are either white or light blue.
This breed can produce up to three to four eggs every seven days, so they are ideal for egg production.
The eggs themselves are medium in size and can either be used for food or as starter eggs.
Some owners begin to worry as the breed doesn’t produce eggs until 18 to 20 weeks, or around five to seven months.
Compared to other breeds, this is later in the game, but they end up producing more at a quicker rate.
Plus, the eggs they produce are of higher quality.
There was a rumor going around that Ameraucana eggs were more nutritious than others, but that theory was debunked later as a marketing ploy.
The eggs contain the same nutritional content as other eggs.
Lastly, the Ameraucana is a non-brody breed, which means you will need to invest in an incubator.
This can help assist you in keeping the starter eggs alive and producing more chickens.
If you aren’t focused on producing more chickens, though, then you can skip this step.
As mentioned, the Ameraucana breed of chicken originated from the Araucana chicken, which was originally from Chile.
Over the years, they have produced genetic differences, as the Ameraucana has been bred to have thicker feathers, do well in multiple climates, and have less recessive genetics.
Many people tend to confuse it with the Easter Egger chicken due to the similarities in looks and production of slightly blue eggs.
That said, they have completely different origins, and the Easter Egger is not recognized as a breed.
The Ameraucana has only existed since the 1970s and only were recognized as their own standard back in the 1980s.
Ameraucana Health Issues
As with any chicken breeds, the Ameraucana is fairly healthy and doesn’t pose any large health risks for its breed.
It doesn’t have any known genetic deficiencies that may cause long term illnesses or diseases.
The species is known for being one of the healthiest that has been brought over to America.
The expected lifespan of an Ameraucana breed is approximately seven to eight years if kept healthy.
Of course, the chicken is still prone to common chicken diseases, parasites, and other small issues if not kept in a good environment.
The only issue is their skittish disposition, which only gets worse if they are not kept in a safe environment.
Here’s a good video that showcases a typical Ameraucana chicken:
Are Ameraucana Chickens Right for Your Homestead?
If you’re looking for a family-friendly chicken, then you may want to skip on this breed.
It doesn’t do well due to its docile nature, and while it can be people-friendly, it prefers to be alone.
Additionally, the chicken has bigger bodies than most other chickens and needs to have adequate space.
The breed is accustomed to cold climates but must be kept in a draft proof coop otherwise, they may get sick.
They do enjoy their coop, but they will also benefit from being able to roam around.
If you’re looking for a few beautiful blue-tinted eggs every week, then this breed will be ideal.
Other people like using their eggs for selling as starter sets.
The only issue is that they don’t produce enough eggs annually for a supermarket.
Lastly, the male version of this breed tends to get aggressive at times.
They should be separated and have their own space.
The females aren’t too aggressive, but they can get irritated with each other at times.
If you have the money and space, it’s best to give this breed plenty of space for the flock and to roam around.
As a homestead chicken, they can be pretty useful if you’re only planning to support yourself.
If you want to branch out, we recommend getting other types of chickens.
Other breeds will give you better egg production and be able to support your family while also being able to brood the eggs themselves.
Ameraucana Chickens – A Breed Apart
The Ameraucana is considered to be one of the rarest breeds in the USA.
While they generally do well in most climates, their origins are from South America so they would benefit more from a similar environment.
If you’re looking for a steady way to support you or your family with their meat, eggs, and plumage, then these will suffice.
If you’re looking to start a farm or have a larger production, we recommend skipping this breed. Delaware Chicken
Looking at their overall cost, they can be worth the investment as long as you understand that they won’t start producing eggs until almost six months after they are born.