What is a Ameraucana Chicken Breed?
DescriptionThe Ameraucana chicken breed is an extraordinary American breed of chicken. It was probably developed in the early US in the early 1970s and is derived from Araucana hens brought to America from Chile. It has been bred to keep the blue Egg gene highly valued in poultry production, but remove the harmful geneticalleles of its common parent breed. There are now both normal and miniature variations of the bird.
Growth and Feeding StyleThe bird are small, being only around 3 inches in total length. They are compact and strong and have a stocky, natural appearance with dark skin and white chest and breast areas. The body shape is that of a turkey with long and pendulous chest flaps. The face is triangular with a long neck and a short under bite. There is an abundance of chest ruff, otherwise known as “chicken skin ruffle”. The body and neck are covered with thick, lemon-yellow and dark chest feathers.
Characteristics Interestingly, the breed is highly valued by poultry growers for their firm and resistant temperament. In addition, they produce a larger number of eggs and are more prone to fatality than other strains. They are also sensitive towards the cold and are therefore kept in cold houses. However, they are tolerant of high temperatures and feed well on organic feeds.
Breeding One of the most popular methods of creating this breed is to select male and female adults, and breed them together. This process is called “ornamentation” and has yielded some of the most desirable adult specimens. This can be a lengthy and expensive process and is rarely successful. However, it does increase the likelihood of producing quality offspring. Once you have chosen which birds you would like to mate with, begin by selecting from the offspring of two birds that have been hand fed and raised using the Fertilized chicken system. After mating, both birds must be separated to prevent further fertilization.
Symptoms and Behavior Generally peaceful and docile, this breed does respond to positive reinforcement and is often good flighty and irritable. Their docility can often be confused with an interest in toys and will become overly interested if you move objects near them. They will not be aggressive towards you, but may become defensive when another chicken or bird approaches. They will not peck or nip at you, but will often guard their territory and try to discourage intruders. They will not produce excessive fat droppings but do require plenty of fresh greens and water.
Feeding and Nutrition As with all breeds, these chicken will grow to about a six-week old which is the maximum time they should be fed. During this time they will eat half of their body weight, which is about 225 g of pellets. At weaning they should be fed only half of their body weight again. They should always be fed with whole grains. The diet is rich in calcium and B vitamins.
Health Issues These chickens are known to be free-ranging birds so they will consume insects throughout the day. You should keep any insect pests such as grubs and ticks under control to avoid disease. This breed also gets affected by worms and tends to have worms under the skin. There have been reports of the chickens being born addicted to calcium. You should make sure that your feeders do not contain this ingredient as they can cause calcium deficiencies.
Breeding and egg laying Although these chickens lay both white and brown eggs, they are not the same. They may also lay black eggs but this is very rare. If you are considering breeding these animals, you must be aware that they are much more susceptible to heat stress. This can cause them to refuse to eat and can also weaken their immune systems. Therefore, it is important to provide them with adequate warmth and dry conditions.