Araucana Chicken: Everything You Need to Know!

Black Araucana chicken in profile

Known for laying blue eggs, the Araucana chicken stands out in the poultry world. This breed from Chile is not only notable for its egg color but also for its interesting history and look.

So, what secrets do Araucana chickens hold? Do they excel in specific climates? Are they easy to manage? How do they compare to other breeds in terms of egg production? What are their personality traits like?

This article covers everything about Araucanas, including their origin, appearance, behavior, and egg-laying. You’ll also find here a set of helpful tips for raising and maintaining these chickens. Let’s get started!

Araucana Chicken Quick Facts

Breed Purpose:Dual-purpose (meat and eggs)
Weight:4–5 lbs (1.8–2.3 kg)
Temperament:Curious, friendly, easy to tame, alert, intelligent, and sweet
Color Varieties:Black, black-breasted red, blue, blue-red, crele, cuckoo, golden duckwing, buff, lavender, pile, silver duckwing, spangled, white
Egg Production:150–200 eggs per year
Egg Color:Blue
Egg Size:Medium
Broodiness:Moderate to high
Cold Tolerance:High
Heat Tolerance:Moderate
Lifespan:6–8 years
Unique Features:Yellow skin, fluffy ear tufts, beardless, non-existent tails/rumpless, round body shape, overall “proud” look, triple pea combs
Beginner Friendly:Yes

What Is an Araucana Chicken?

Araucana rooster strutting on green grass

Also called Gallina Mapuche, an Araucana chicken is a breed distinguished by its distinctive feather tufts and lack of a tail. These chickens are famous for laying blue-shelled eggs. Additionally, they’re valued for both their egg production and their meat.

Araucana chickens originate from Chile. Their breeding involved the Collonocas and Quetros, leading to their blue eggs and fluffy cheeks.

Temperament-wise, these birds are friendly and adaptable. So, you can expect they’re suitable for both newbies and experienced poultry keepers.

On top of that, they’re known for their inquisitive streak and moderate noise levels.

When it comes to rarity, Araucana chickens are hard to come by. Despite their seemingly increased popularity, they remain relatively rare due to specialized breeding.

Check out this short video to get an idea of what Araucana chickens look like in action:

Unusual Araucana chicken breed at Pennsylvania Farm Show 2020

Breed Origin and History

Hailing from a distant corner of Chile, Araucanas boast quite an impressive backstory. Specifically, they’re linked to the Araucana Indians, who bravely resisted European conquest until the late 19th century.

Additionally, they’re thought to have come from mixing two local breeds: the Collonocas, which laid blue eggs and had no tail, and the Quetros, known for their tufts and brown eggs.

These distinguishing characteristics set the foundation for what the Araucana chickens would become.

Keep in mind, though, that early Spanish explorers documented these birds as far back as the 1500s. This indicates their long-standing presence in the region.

However, the breed, as known today, has evolved through selective breeding since its introduction to other parts of the world in the 1920s.

Despite changes over the centuries, one trait of Araucanas remains untouched: their ability to lay blue eggs.

Physical Characteristics

Araucana hen in lush green grass

Araucana chickens exhibit a distinct “proud” appearance, characterized by their round body shape. Basically, this contributes to their notable stance and overall intimidating charm.

In addition, they have yellow skin and are adorned with fluffy ear tufts. They are also recognized for being beardless and having a non-existent tail, commonly referred to as being rumpless.

Further, they sport a triple pea comb, which adds to their unique physical characteristics.

Apart from that, Araucana chickens are quite a colorful bunch! You’ll find them in shades like black, blue, cuckoo, and buff, among many others.

However, note that the American Poultry Association (APA) only officially recognizes the white, black, black-breasted red, golden duckwing, and silver duckwing varieties.

Note: Araucana chickens usually don’t have tails, but it’s totally normal to find tailed ones in Europe as per their breed standards.

Size and Weight

In most cases, Araucanas weigh between 4 and 5 pounds. Primarily, they strike a balance between being neither too large nor too small. This size makes them suitable for various backyard setups.

Surprisingly, there’s also a bantam variety of these chickens, which are smaller and ideal for those with limited space.

To be specific, male bantam Araucanas weigh about 1.6 to 1.9 pounds, while females are slightly lighter, weighing in at 1.5 to 1.7 pounds.

Temperament and Noise Levels

Araucana chicken with blue and rust feathers

Generally, Araucana chickens are inquisitive creatures, often exploring their environment with a keen sense of curiosity. This trait not only makes them fascinating to watch but also makes them interactive pets.

Moreover, they are recognized for their friendly and sweet nature. In fact, they can easily form close bonds with their keepers.

Araucanas are also alert and intelligent, quickly responding to changes in their surroundings. This awareness contributes to their adaptability and ease of management.

Despite their frequent vocalizations, these birds are not considered louder than other chicken breeds. Their “talkative” behavior is more about communication and doesn’t usually result in excessive noise.

However, it’s worth noting that Araucana roosters do crow with the same volume as other male chickens.

Egg Production and Broodiness

Did you know that Araucana hens are known for their good egg-laying capabilities? They can produce around 150 to 200 eggs annually. This level of productivity makes them a valuable addition to any backyard flock.

Egg laying typically begins when Araucanas are between 20 and 24 weeks old. This start age allows owners to effectively plan and prepare for their flock’s egg production.

Additionally, the eggs of these chickens are medium to large in size and are noted for their blue color. Such distinctive pigmentation gives them a spot on this list of chickens with blue-colored eggs.

On another note, Araucanas exhibit a moderate to high inclination towards being broody.

In my experience with these chickens, their broodiness proved to be both a challenge and an edge. While it often disrupted their laying patterns, it also facilitated natural chick rearing without the need for incubators.

I noticed that once a hen became broody, she would steadfastly sit on her eggs and sometimes even on eggs from other hens, demonstrating their strong maternal instincts.

To keep the eggs coming consistently, though, I had to plan things carefully. I rotated the hens and set up separate nesting spots, which helped me meet my egg collection goals while still letting the birds do their thing.

Lifespan and Health Issues

Araucana chicken standing in green field

Araucana chickens have a lifespan that typically ranges from 6 to 8 years. But like any breed, they face certain health challenges that can impact their well-being.

For your reference, below is a list that discusses the most common health issues these chickens may encounter:

  • Salmonella: Salmonella is a bacterial infection that can pose a risk to both Araucanas and their keepers. Symptoms in affected chickens can include weakness, dehydration, poor growth, diarrhea, and a sudden drop in egg production.
  • Avian Influenza: Highly contagious among birds, avian influenza can affect Araucanas. Warning signs of this condition range from mild respiratory issues to severe health problems leading to death.
  • Flystrike: Flystrike is a painful condition that happens when flies lay eggs on an Araucana chicken, usually in damp feathers or open wounds, leading to maggot infestation. Sadly, it can quickly become life-threatening if not treated.

Fortunately, owners can avoid these risks through diligent care, maintaining clean environments, and monitoring their flock’s health closely.

Pro Tip: Make sure to establish a relationship with a vet who is experienced in poultry care, too. Regular check-ups can help identify and address potential health issues before they become serious.

Araucana Chicken Care Guide

Looking after Araucana chickens is a breeze once you understand their specific needs. So, to give you a headstart, the following are some key tips to ensure your feathered friends receive top-notch care.

Feeding and Nutrition

Raising Araucana chickens starts with feeding chicks a high-protein starter feed. Specifically, they thrive on a diet with 20 to 24% protein to kickstart their growth.

As they mature, their dietary needs shift. Transitioning them to a grower feed with 18 to 19% protein supports their continued growth. This adjustment ensures they develop properly into healthy adults.

Adult Araucanas require a different diet, though. A layer feed with 15 to 17% protein and added calcium helps laying hens produce strong eggs.

Adding treats like dried mealworms, potato peels, peppers, and tomatoes keeps their diet interesting and nutritious as well. These occasional snacks offer variety and more nutrients.

Most importantly, clean water is essential at all times. It’s as vital as food for keeping chickens healthy, so never compromise on their water supply.

Fun Fact: Fermented feed can improve their health and egg quality. A 2022 study shows it increases laying rates and reduces broken eggs.

Housing and Shelter

Each Araucana chicken needs its own space in the coop, which is at least four square feet. This ensures they have enough room to live comfortably without crowding.

For sleeping, though, every bird requires 8 to 10 inches of space on a roost. Roosting bars should be placed 2 to 4 feet off the ground to provide a secure and cozy place for them to rest at night.

Besides indoor space, they also need room to roam. An outdoor running area should offer 8 to 10 square feet per chicken. This allows them to exercise and explore, which is essential for their well-being.

Additionally, you’ll need nesting boxes for your Araucana hens to lay eggs securely. These boxes should be 12x10x10 inches, even for smaller bantam-sized Araucanas.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget about environmental enrichment, like dust baths and ladders. These additions help keep the chickens entertained.

Temperature and Lighting

In the first week, Araucana chicks need a warm brooder set at about 95°F. Then, each week, lower the temperature by 5°F until it matches the outside.

For adult chickens, maintaining the coop temperature between 65°F and 75°F is ideal. Despite their resilience to various climates, a stable temperature ensures their comfort and health.

Last winter, I made sure our coop was well-insulated, keeping our chickens snug when temperatures dropped. We added extra insulation to the walls and a thick layer of straw on the floor.

During a particularly cold day, we even placed panel heaters for additional warmth. We checked daily to ensure they were safe and effective. The hens remained cozy, and egg production stayed consistent.

In the summer, though, we focused on ventilation and shade. Installing fans and making sure the coop had proper airflow made a big difference. We also set up a shaded outdoor area where they could escape the sun.

In addition, lighting plays a major role in their health, especially for mature Araucana hens. They need about 14 to 16 hours of light each day to lay blue eggs well.

How Much Does an Araucana Chicken Cost?

Araucana chicken foraging on muddy ground

Araucana chicks typically range from $5 to $15 each. Their price varies widely due to their rarity and special characteristics.

But to be exact, the cost of these birds depends on where they are located, shipping charges, and the breeder’s reputation. Further, those bred for show or high egg production tend to cost more.

The age of the chicken also affects its cost, with older birds typically priced higher due to their immediate productivity or breeding potential.

On another note, finding places to purchase Araucanas can sometimes be a challenge. After all, they are not as commonly available as other breeds.

So, to buy these chickens, check out nearby poultry farms, dedicated hatcheries like Cackle Hatchery and Chicken Scratch Poultry, or online groups and forums on platforms like Facebook.

Breeding and Raising Araucana Chicks

Selecting breeding stock from trusted sources is crucial for raising Araucana chicks. Hence, opt for healthy, well-formed parents to increase the chances of hatching hardy chicks.

For egg collection and incubation, gather eggs daily. You can use an incubator set to approximately 99.5°F. Also, ensure that the eggs are rotated thrice per day to promote uniform development.

Once the chicks hatch, set up a brooder with a heat lamp. Start the temperature at about 95°F and reduce it by 5°F weekly until they’re fully feathered.

On top of that, monitor the chicks’ health closely. Further, make sure to stick to a vaccination schedule to protect them from common diseases.

Lastly, gradually introduce the young Araucanas to your existing flock carefully around 16 weeks.

However, be mindful of any aggression or bullying from older birds, and ensure there is plenty of space for the newcomers to fit in comfortably.

Pro Tip: Maintain records of your Araucana chickens’ family tree to prevent inbreeding. It’s also handy for monitoring egg production, temperament, and growth rates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Araucana hen with brown feathers

Why Are Araucana Chickens Special?

Araucana chickens stand out in the poultry world primarily because they have no tails. This unique physical trait makes them easily distinguishable from other breeds and adds to their distinct appearance.

Another remarkable feature of these birds is the tufts of feathers that adorn both sides of their heads.

However, the ability to lay blue-hued eggs is perhaps the most celebrated characteristic of Araucana chickens. Forget the ordinary white or brown eggs — these birds bring a pop of turquoise to your collection.

Are Araucana Chickens Friendly?

Typically, Araucana chickens are known for their friendly nature. This allows for easier handling and care, which is particularly appealing for those new to poultry keeping. But they are not always the cuddliest of birds.

In particular, these chickens can be a bit “pecky” at times, which is something to keep in mind. However, they’re usually great with kids. They’re ideal for families wanting to teach children about caring for birds.

Additionally, Araucanas are well-suited for mixed flocks, as their amiable streak permits them to integrate smoothly with other breeds.

Do Araucana Chickens Always Lay Blue Eggs?

Yes, Araucana chickens consistently lay blue eggs. They are one of the very few breeds that reliably produce such distinctly colored eggs.

Research has shown that these birds inherited this ability from their Mapuche fowl ancestors. They carry an ancient, harmless retrovirus (EAV-HP) that influences the shade of their eggs.

To be specific, the presence of the retrovirus leads to an accumulation of a green-blue bile pigment in the eggshell as it forms within the hen. Basically, this simple process gives Araucana eggs their lovely coloration.

What Is the Difference Between Araucana and Ameraucana Chickens?

While Araucana and Ameraucana chickens both lay blue eggs, keep in mind that they are different breeds. Araucanas are known for being rumpless and having distinctive ear tufts, which are traits not found in Ameraucanas.

In addition, Ameraucanas feature muffs and beards around their faces, which Araucanas lack.

Another key distinction lies in their color variations. Both breeds can be black, but the APA recognizes different colors that are accepted for each.

We hope that you have gained valuable insights about Araucana chickens. Do you have any additional thoughts, care tips, fun facts, or questions about these birds? Share away in the comment section below!

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