May 1, 2017

Ameraucana Chickens

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Ameraucana Chickens
We've added to our flock! With the loss of two of our chickens, we were itching to get some more. We have Rhode Island Reds which produce brown eggs, although one of ours lay eggs which are more pink than brown. However this time around we wanted to get a chicken that lays another color of egg.

First let me say that the shell of the egg is a different color, not the yolk or egg white. I told someone that our chicks would lay blue eggs and she did not think that sounded appealing at all. However, when I explained that I misspoke and it was just the shells she was far more interested. 

There are a couple of different types of chickens which will produce blue or green eggs namely Araucanas, Easter Eggers and Ameraucanas. Where we live the Ameraucanas are far easier to obtain, but still not very common. Stores were just starting to get some chicks in and our favorite feed store had just sold out of their Ameraucanas. The following week we called around to a couple of stores to see if anyone had any Ameraucanas. Several did not have any, but one had four left. Hubby rushed over to the store and got those four. 


The guy at the store said since they were the last four they were a little bit older. Typically chicks are only a day or two old so they may not have eaten yet. In fact the box says to give them water but no food for 5 hours. Our chicks were already eating, drinking and had a few feathers. 

These four are also very feisty. They immediately run away and try to hide in the corner when we put our hands in. They run away even if we aren't trying to pick them up but are sticking our hands in there to make sure they have food and water. Once we have cornered them and picked them up about half the time they will squawk loudly and the other half of the time they tolerate it. This is very different from our Rhode Island Reds which didn't seem to mind people and would generally just stay put and not run away. 


I wasn't sure if all Ameraucanas were this feisty or if, by the fact these were the last four left at the store, they were the quick and skittish ones that hadn't been caught yet. Many sites say that Ameraucanas are docile, but several have commented that they are very skittish even when hand raised. So it looks like they we might have got the spunky ones of the bunch. 

We didn't do a whole lot of research about Ameraucanas before we got them. In fact, it was only a day or two before getting them that I learned it is spelled Ameraucanas. I had assumed it was spelled like it sounds: Americana. But alas their names aren't quite that patriotic. Instead they give a nod to the Araucana chickens, from which they came. However they were crossbred here in the United States so maybe their names are a little patriotic. 


Ameraucana chickens lay blue to green eggs which we are excited for. They tend to take a little longer to start laying about 22 to 26 weeks, but some as late as 30 weeks whereas our Rhode Island Reds started just about 20 or 21 weeks. Ameraucanas also don't lay quite as much as about 5 eggs per week versus the 6 eggs per week a Rhode Island Red will get. 

One thing we now have to figure out is how to introduce the two flocks. Heard of the term "pecking order"? Well it came from chickens trying to exert their dominance. We were warned during our chicken class that you should introduce new birds to the flock slowly to get them used to one another and prevent the older chickens from bullying (and even killing) the new ones. 

Hubby is making a coop to go inside our current coop for the babies to go into (once they have enough feathers to go outside). That way they can get used to seeing one another, but the chicks will be protected from beaks and talons. Hopefully the fact that the babies are so feisty and the older ones have been so docile it will be a smooth transition. 

Have any tips for raising Ameraucanas or introducing flocks to one another?




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3 comments:

  1. Good luck with these little guys. Can't wait to see how they progress!

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  2. AnonymousMay 15, 2017

    My Americans are fiesty also. All of them compared to my other chicks. My adults on the other hand are quite docile. And will eat treats from your hand. When i introduce mine into the new flock i put them in a dog kennel. Cage type . For a while in the coop at night. And during the day in a nice spot where the others range at. This takes a few weeks but gets them used to each other. Then let then out and yes they will go through the pecking order. But usually not as bad. I leave the cage there for them to run to for cover. Good luck. Happy chickens!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, we were curious how long the 'getting to know you period' would be. I love the idea of a dog crate. I bet that would keep our dogs out too.

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