The chicks came in last week at our local farm store. I was going to order from the hatchery in Fresno, but decided to support local companies instead…even if the price was double!!
We took home 10 Barred Rock, 10 Rhode Island Red and 10 “Araucanas”. More than likely the Araucana’s are Easter Eggers…but hopefully we’ll still get some blue, green or even pink eggs from them. If you’re confused on the whole Easter Egger/Ameraucana/Araucana thing…don’t worry, its pretty confusing.
Basically it goes like this; Araucanas were bred in South America by crossing 2 local breeds. The result were chickens that laid blue eggs, could be rump-less (missing last vertebra) or not, and could have ear tufts, or not. Genes are weird in chickens and the gene that causes the tufts also caused 1/4 of the chicks to die in the egg, 1/4 to have have tufts and 1/2 to not have tufts. So trying to figure out if the chicken truly was an Araucana is was quite difficult. But they have narrowed it down to 2 standards. The North American Araucana; a chicken breed that lays blue eggs, is rumpless, tail-less, has tufts, and typically yellow skin…and everybody else. Everybody else lays blue eggs, with a rump, a tail, but with beards, muffs, a crest and no ear tufts, along with slate/blue legs and a off-white skin.
Then, there are Ameraucanas. These would normally be classified as “everyone else” except somewhere along the line, these chickens got a standard too. Ameraucanas lay blue eggs, have beards and muffs, tail feathers, slate/blue legs, and white skin.
Lastly, Easter Eggers…Easter Eggers are a general group of chickens that have the blue egg gene. Except their eggs arent always blue; they can lay blue, green, olive, teal or even pink eggs.
Hopefully that makes everything clear as mud for ya!
Most of the chickens you’ll receive from a hatchery are actually Easter Eggers. I don’t really care if they are pure bred Ameraucanas or Araucanas as long as we get colored eggs 🙂
We got the Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds for a couple of different reasons. One, Barred Rocks and Rhode Islands are both hardy breeds and good layers. They also cross well with my Rhode Island Red rooster.
Obviously, a RIR rooster and a RIR hen will create more RIR chickens. Barred Rock hens crossed with RIR roosters will give you Black Sex links. Black Sex Links are great layers also with the added benefit of being able to determine sex at hatching.