Araucana Chicken – Characteristics, Origin, Breed Info and Lifespan
Are you thinking of getting the Araucana chicken breed for your backyard poultry and do you wish to learn more about this breed?
If that is the case, then continue reading this guide till the end.
You are about to learn everything you need to know about this chicken breed.
In this article, you’ll get to know more about Araucana chickens, their origin, characteristics, and how to care for them.
You’ll find information on lifespan, space requirements and good reasons why you must get the Araucana chickens.
Also, you will get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about the Araucana chicken.
So, if you are ready for this, let’s dive right into the details.
What is an Araucana chicken?
Araucana chicken is a unique breed of domestic chicken that lays colourful eggs.
They are very beautiful yet very rare breeds of chicken.
Their friendly and energetic nature makes them a joy to have around.
Hence, Araucana chickens are lovely to have around as pets in the house.
This breed of chicken is very popular because it lays eggs that are blue in colour.
So, if you’d love to have coloured eggs in your farm crates for sale or for use at home, then you must get the Araucana chicken.
You will agree with me that blue eggs are really good looking, won’t you?
Also, the chicken eggs are delicious whether scrambled, omelette, boiled, however you like it.
Araucana chickens love to wander around, spread and flap their wings often and are alert.
These characteristics make them good foragers.
The Araucana chickens are good breeds for backyard poultry farms as they are curious and friendly birds.
Also, they are fine breeds that are adapted to confinements,
This makes them a good choice for commercial farmers too.
Origin and history of Araucana chickens?
The Araucana chicken breed comes from the Araucanía Region of central Chile.
The name rhymes with the region right?
Yeah, I know.
Araucanas are a result of crossing two varieties of native chickens from Chile.
They are the Collonca (rumpless breed) and the Quetro (ear tufted breed).
The Quetro variety has a tail, ear tuft and lays brown eggs.
On the other hand, the Collonca variety lay blue eggs, is rumpless (have no tail) and has a small simple comb.
People say that the Mapuche people of Chile were probably the first Breeders of these unique species of chicken.
Hence, the birds are often called Mapuche fowl or Gallina Mapuche.
Historians say the Araucana chickens have been around before finding their way to Chile.
However, the origin before then was uncertain.
Other names for Araucana chickens are Gallina Mapuche or Mapuche fowl, and South American rumpless.
What are the characteristics of Araucana chickens?
The following are some of the characteristics and features that make the Araucana chickens stand out.
1. Araucana chickens come in five different colours:
The colours come in golden duck wing, silver duck wing, white, black and even red.
These Pretty colour variations make them more attractive pets.
2. Araucana chickens are rumpless (meaning they have no tail):
Rumps are the hindquarters of a chicken, which we all know as the chicken butt.
The chicken butt is where the tail feather and tail bone (coccyx) are, but they are absent in Araucana chickens.
The absence of chicken butt in Araucana chicken is the reason they have the name “rumpless.”
Some breeders would say the longer you breed rumpless birds the shorter the offspring’s back becomes.
3. It has a small pea comb on the head:
The Araucana pea comb is smaller than other combs lengthwise and does not extend upwards.
This type of chicken comb protects them from frostbite in cold times and regions.
It shows as three connected rows of caruncles forming a pealike protrusion.
4. They have ear tufts – an obvious feather cluster around their earlobes:
The feather cluster around the ear of this chicken breed is what is called ear tuft feathers.
The tuft feathers around their ears is a unique characteristic of the Araucanas.
Trust me you can’t fail to observe as they look just like sideburns.
Ear tuft should not be confused with muffs of the Silkies and Faverolles chicken breeds.
Here’s the scary thing about ear tuft genes…
The gene coding for these ear tufts can be very deadly to the Araucana chicks.
Two copies of this gene will kill the chick a few days before hatching.
Only about 20% of the Araucana chicks die with one ear tuft gene.
5. They lay colourful eggs:
The eggs of Araucana chickens are usually light blue, greyish or even slightly greenish in colour.
Even though they have beautiful colours, the taste doesn’t differ from that of other chicken eggs.
6. Araucana hens are great mothers:
What this means is that they are able to sit on their eggs and also take care of their young chicks.
7. Araucana chickens are generally rugged breeds:
These chickens are very rugged.
They can withstand any kind of weather condition, adverse environment and fatigue.
8. Araucana chickens are small in size:
Araucanas come in very small sizes.
However, they are not the smallest chickens in the world like the Serama bantam.
Also, they weigh only about 5lbs.
9. They grow very fast:
Even though Araucana chickens are small in size, they still grow very fast.
Their fast growth rate is very obvious when you raise them together with other breeds of chickens.
They tend to grow out of their young age faster than other breeds.
Why choose Araucana chickens?
If you are still considering whether or not to get this chicken breed, I believe these reasons will hasten your decision process.
1. Araucana chickens lay colourful eggs:
The demand for this chicken breed is very high because of the colourful eggs that they lay.
Their distinctive blue or green eggs are sold in exclusive stores.
Who wouldn’t prefer beautiful coloured blue or green eggs?
Their eggs have no adverse effects, neither is it more nutritious than the brown shelled eggs.
Although Araucana eggs are said to have lower cholesterol, there’s no supporting evidence for this.
In a market where it is available people tend to buy them more instead of the regular white or brown eggs.
I mean come on, the eggs are just that beautiful.
2. They take care of their chicks very well:
They are naturally very caring to their young ones and very protective of their eggs and young ones.
Araucana chickens have a low hatchability rate on their eggs but they have good parenting abilities.
So, if you happen to see one, laying eggs or with its chicks, be careful!
They might want to pluck your eyes out!
Relax!! Don’t be scared.
All they do is peck and protect their chicks.
3. The Araucana chicken is a very beautiful bird:
These breeds of chicken have colourful feathers of different hues which makes them really adorable.
They are good for beautifying your home.
4. They are very friendly chickens:
This chicken breed is very friendly.
If you combine their natural beauty with their friendliness, then you have a great pet for your home.
5. Araucana Chicks are hardy chicken breeds:
They have a higher tolerance to fatigue, environmental hardship and adverse weather conditions.
So, you can rear them anywhere and in any climate.
And they have very fast growth.
6. Araucana chicken are very good foragers:
This chicken breed is great because they are really good at foraging.
Meaning that they can make food available for themselves by foraging the earth.
As a result, you can cut down on feed bills but you will need to allow them to graze freely in the yard.
7. They are a dual-purpose breed:
As dual-purpose breeds, Araucanas can both provide eggs for the family and also serve as meat.
They lay about 3 eggs per week and are good meat producers, the male usually weighing slightly more than the female.
8. They produce varieties of feathers that are ornamental:
Feathers often times are considered a by-product of chicken farming (often a waste by-product)
Araucana chicken feathers amongst other poultry feathers are used in a number of decorative products like;
Mask, Feather fans, Bird ornaments, Costume accessories etc.
Other important uses of bird feathers include
feather meal, Pillow stuffing, Insulation etc
9. They are great pets for homes:
The Araucanas are energetic and amiable by nature making them perfect for families who need a lively and curious pet.
These birds are known to have intelligence, personality and are beautiful so tell me, who wouldn’t love to have them as pets?
Some are even excellent around kids; they enjoy the attention and being held, others might be flighty and nervous.
What are the disadvantages of rearing Araucana chickens?
Here are some of the reasons that may discourage you from getting this chicken breed.
1. They have a high mortality rate:
There are a lot of reasons why chickens die on the farm.
However, the Araucana chickens die mostly because of the very deadly ear tuft genes they possess.
2. Pure breeds of Araucanas are rare to find:
Due to their high mortality rate breeders tend to breed them with other breeds to give them higher chances of survival.
3. Ear tufts come from a dominant and lethal gene:
This makes the odds of showing quality offspring less than in other breeds.
4. They are low egg production:
Araucana chickens are considered to be low egg producers.
That is because they only lay about 3 eggs per week and about 150 eggs in a year.
5. They have reduced fertility:
The rumpless gene decreases the fertility of the Araucana chicken.
6. They are scarce to find:
Their coloured eggs make them highly sorted for, thereby making the breed scarce.
7. Low hatchability:
Araucana chickens have this problem of low hatchability.
This is mostly because of the major health issue that they have.
The Araucanas possess a type of gene that reduces the hatch rate of their eggs.
What are the common health issues that affect Araucana chickens?
Aside from the genetic problem of lethal ear tuft genes which poses threats to Araucana chicks.
Other notable common health problems of Araucanas are;
1. Egg laying issue:
This can arise as a result of stress, parasites or vitamin deficiency.
Symptoms might include weakness, lethargy, respiratory issues, abnormal droppings
2. Body injuries:
Chickens suffer cuts and Peck marks which usually results from a fight in the flock, pecking or other mechanical ways.
3. Foot injuries:
These aren’t serious health issues faced by Araucana chickens but they include cuts in the leg or foot.
Which leads to more serious infections like bumblefoot.
This health issue shows symptoms like the Araucana chicken trying to balance its weight on the unaffected foot.
4. Parasitic infections:
Parasites like worms lice and ticks which cause diseases are quite common amongst chickens.
Can be mild and sometimes severe.
The severity of diseases depends on where it is contracted.
- Viral diseases: fowl pox, bronchitis, Newcastle disease.
- Bacterial diseases salmonellosis(caused by salmonella germs), chronic respiratory diseases colibacillosis (caused by e coli)
- Fungus: Aspergillosis, ringworm.
Frequently Asked Questions About Araucana chickens.
Do Araucana eggs taste different?
The blue eggs that the Araucana chickens lay have the same taste as regular brown and white eggs.
They are slightly lower in cholesterol with no difference in taste.
What kind of chickens lay blue eggs?
There are over eight chicken breeds that lay blue eggs.
Other breeds of chickens that lay blue eggs aside from Araucana chickens are the Easter Egger, Ameraucana, Cream Legbar and many more.
Are blue eggs safe to eat?
Shell colour has no significant effect on egg quality and composition.
The difference comes in the pigments in the shell nothing more.
So, it is safe to eat blue eggs has it does not affect the quality or taste of the egg.
At what age do Araucanas start laying?
Araucana layers reach maturity at about 20-24weeks and they start laying eggs after 6 months.
What is the lifespan of Araucana chickens?
The Araucana chicken or Mapuche fowl can live about 5-8 years varying on their diets, genetics and environment.
All you have to do is to ensure that you feed them well and protect them from predators to extend their lifespan.
Araucana roosters reach maturity within 5 months.
What is the habitat and environment of Araucana chickens?
The Araucana chicken breeds are rather adaptive poultry birds.
They are remarkably alert to their environment, even savvy and flighty.
They are hardy birds tolerant to weather changes either hot or cold.
These birds just keep laying even during winter.
In other words, they’re suitable for all climates and environments.
What is the space requirement for Araucana chickens?
You can keep them in free-range or intensive systems depending on the purpose for which you are raising them.
Araucanas naturally are free-range chickens that love to explore and forage around.
So the free-range system of poultry housing is just perfect for your Araucana breed.
Thanks to their adaptiveness these birds also do well in confinements for large-scale production too.
Like I said before, the space for it depends on the purpose intended.
Can Araucana chickens be trained as pets?
Araucana chickens are generally docile and intelligible, especially when they are around humans.
They are active, energetic and usually friendly by nature which makes them such lively pets and perfect for homes.
Are Araucana chickens noisy?
With their level of energy and agility, one would expect them to be very noisy.
Instead, they are moderately noisy.
What do Araucana chickens eat?
These guys can eat anything, not literally anything but they’ve got a wide variety of what they eat.
They hunt for worms, ticks and similar insects around.
They enjoy leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and even fruits and grains
Kitchen wastes like boiled potato peels, rice, pasta amongst others are eaten by these rugged chickens.
You can also feed them with formulated feed like crumbles and pellets.
How fast do Araucana chickens grow?
They have a fast growth rate and are hardy chickens.
Once placed on the right diet, supplements and vitamins.
You just sit back and watch the magic happen.
An Araucana rooster can take about 5 months to reach maturity.
Are Araucana chickens good egg layers?
They are a bit below average in terms of egg-laying as they lay about 3 eggs per week, rarely 4.
They are layers of attractive eggs but are average in terms of quantity.
How I wish we could give them a timetable so they would know when to lay and increase their quantity of eggs per week.
I don’t know about you but I’m so loving this peculiar breed of chicken
The Araucana chicken is one of a kind, with unique characteristics which makes them very eye-catching
With interesting features such as the tuft feathers, beautiful colours, and friendliness we can consider them as great pets to have around.
Araucana chickens have been known to be lively and energetic birds which makes them also great around kids.
Be sure to allow them to spread their wings in the yard and forage around.
Although they are average egg layers, the colourful eggs that they lay is a good reason to add them to your flock of birds.
Do you have any questions or comments about this chicken breed?
Please, add them to the comment section.