The Araucana and Ameraucana are very unique breeds of chicken. They are sometimes called Easter eggers and are best known for laying light blue or turquoise eggs.
The Araucana originated in the early 1900's in Chile and is a rumpless bird with only a small tail. They originated by breeding the Collonca chickens (who laid blue eggs) with the Quetro chickens. It was accepted as a breed in the United States in 1976 in the American Poultry Association. At this time distinctions were to be made between this bird and that which was to become known as the Ameraucana.
The Araucana has a pea type comb, is rumpless (has a small tail and is missing the last vertebra), and no beard. It comes in standard size and bantam. They have ear tufts, making it look as though they have small pom-poms on the sides of their heads.
The Araucana will lay blue, turquoise, or light greenish, eggs.
Because the genes for tufted birds are linked to a genetic problem when double dominant, Araucanas have poor fertility rates; one in four chicks will die in its shell.
They are a non-aggressive chicken, not a super prolific layer, however hens are often broody.
Accepted colors under the APA rules are black, black breasted red, golden duckwing, silver duckwing, and white.
Established as their own breed in 1984, the Ameraucana has a few features to distinguish it from the Araucana. The most obvious being that Ameraucana chickens do have full length tail feathers. They also have beards, or feathers under their chin. They have ear muffs, which are smaller than the tufts on the Araucana.
Like the Araucana, they have a pea comb and come in standard, and bantam sizes. Their eggs tend to be more blue, with fewer green tones.
The Ameraucana was developed to be tuftless (having muffs instead) to get rid of the lethal gene associated with that trait.
They work well as pets and are generally friendly and non-aggressive. They are good layers, and are sometimes broody.
Accepted colors for the Ameraucana include black, blue, blue wheaton, brown red, buff, silver, wheaton, and white.
Other Information on Araucana and Ameraucana Chickens
As with brown eggs and white eggs, the color of the shell has nothing to do with the nutrition in the egg. Nutrition is determined by the diet of the hen.
The term “Easter-egger” is a catch all term used for any bird that lays colored eggs, it is not a recognized breed, as such many part-Araucana, or part-Ameraucana, chicken could be called an Easter egger. Equally so many mixed breed birds that happen to lay colored eggs are also sometimes mislabeled as Araucanas or Ameraucanas.
Note that both breeds are quite rare, with many birds sold under these names that are correctly mixed breed birds.
Common misspellings are Aricana, or Americana.