Ameraucana chickens have thick fluffy beards under their beaks and muffs adorning their cheeks. Their neck feathers, or hackles, are much thicker than other breeds. A young visitor asked me once if they were part owl.
This extra insulation on their neck is a big plus for cold climates like ours up here in Maine. Cold weather combined with shorter days tend to slow production. The hardier the chicken, the longer the eggs keep coming. This breed goes into molt here in late August and has a layer of fresh thick plumage ready for a long winter. At five or so eggs a week they are good producers given they will lay later in the season than other breeds we have kept here.
Ameraucana chickens lay blue eggs. Each hen here lays an average of about 4-6 eggs per week [spring 2019]. Younger hens lay more in their first year and almost daily in the late spring through summer, slowing in fall and taking a few weeks off in the coldest part of winter.
Ameraucana chickens do seem to be irregular layers compared to your average Rhode Island Red—but their stunningly blue eggs are worth the wait. Each day a blue egg is found in the coop harkens Easter morning nostalgia. I’ve had them for years now, and it never gets old for me.
Learn more about giving them a little break and then reestablishing production with a combination of nutrition and light here.
Year-round breeding programs for our limited number of these lovely animals are predominantly feather quality based for 2021-2022 to eradicate any possibilities of shredding genes in our starter flock by crossing with black splits. Birds carrying the blue egg gene, but with markings or characteristics diverging from the standards, are used for our Olive Egger breeding program.
Only the best roosters are kept and chosen for breed standards… Other roosters are fattened up and eaten.
We find Ameraucana chickens are more easy-going and thoughtful in comparison to our other breeds here. They regard everything with more caution than curiosity by walking up to things from the side and eyeing it from all directions. Ameraucana chickens tend to let others go ahead of them almost as if to let others test the sky for predators before they make an appearance.
Ameraucana chickens are standard sized birds who lay medium to large eggs. Roosters are not much larger than hens. Of note though, I have butchered MANY breeds of chickens, turkeys and ducks. Of all them, the Ameraucana 6-month old roosters bare the most fat.
Ameraucana Chickens Health
We clip our flock’s wings every few months during their regular health check ups as part of the preventative care we do here. We have only caught mites once and it really stuck in the beards and thick cheeks of our Ameraucana chickens worse than our other breeds.
Keep a close eye on your birds’ overall health. Check monthly for mites, lice, and check poops under the roost on occasion for worms. We use Ivermectin pour-on treatment very diluted in a spray bottle and give their under their wings and on their vent a quick squirt while holding them upside down. These parasites are less common in winter.
Our Ameraucana chickens currently have the run of a very large pen and get to free range when I’m in the yard. We’ve had our Black Ameraucana rooster taken by a fox. I saw it and lunged in that direction screaming at it. Apparently I’m terrifying. The fox dropped him and I was able to patch the poor boy up.
Lavenders tend to have picking habits in too close of quarters or in the boring part of winter when they hide in the coop. If this is a possibility in your flock, check your Ameraucana chickens often for missing feathers and bloody spots to reduce infection. Always treat open wounds with Blu-Kote.
Also of note, the roosters have a very short “pea comb” which makes telling the hens from the roosters a little harder.