The Araucana is an unusual and rare breed of chicken, as they lay pale blue-green eggs.  They are considered an alert, hardy, fertile breed of fowl that are excellent foragers and fly well. Some have a tendency to flightiness. They are also considered to be very good layers that are often one of the first to begin laying at the beginning of a new season and after moulting. Hens are reported to lay regularly well in their third year. Some will also go broody (with very good mothering abilities), while others may not show any interest in brooding; this seems to be dependent on the instincts of their line. Araucana do best when provided with adequate space to range. Chicks also generally show excellent vigour and feather quickly.

Origin  The Araucana originally comes from South America around Peru, Chile & Bolivia, from before the time of the Spanish conquest, and are believed to be a mix of two breeds the Collonca (a blue egg laying, rumples, clean-faced chicken) and the Quetros (a pinkish-brown egg layer with tail and ear tufts). As a result, two forms of Araucana resulted – rumped and rumples (rumpless do not have the last spinal vertebrae, a parson’s nose or tail feathers, while the rumped varieties have a normal tail). The large ear tufts of the Quetros survive as a trait of Araucana, but usually they are not nearly as extravagant in size as the original.  In America only the rumpless birds are recognised as Araucana (rumped birds are referred to as Americana); however, in the United Kingdom, both rumped and rumpless are recognised as Araucana. The Australian Standards are based on the British.

Australian Araucana

Classification – light breed, soft feathered; large or bantam

True Araucana have a compact crest, thick muffling, beard & ear tufts on the head and have a small pea comb.  The head should be moderately small, the beak strong and stout and the eyes bold. The comb should be a small pea comb, and face covered with thick muffling, beard and ear muffs. The ear lobes should be small and covered with muffling and the wattles small to absent, the crest small and set well back from the eyes. A good exhibition bird should also have a long, deep body, with horizontal back, wings large and strong, with a well developed tail at a 45 degree angle. Their legs should be strong, set well apart and be free from feathering (willow to olive or slate in colour) with four straight, well spread toes.

Pea Comb – a triple comb, resembling three small single combs joined together at the base and rear, but distinctly divided, the middle of one being the highest

Colours – Lavender, Blue, Black, White, and Old English Game Colours (other colours from British standard – Black/Red, Pile, Silver and Gold Duckwing)

Egg-shell colour – greyish or violet blue to a turquoise or greenish blue

  • The eggshell colouring in Araucana is distinctive because the blue-green pigmentation permeates the shell, unlike brown eggs where the colour is a tint laid on the outside of the egg only. 
  • It is believed that there is a direct link between the pea comb and the blue egg laying ability.
  • The eggs of Araucana are the same as other eggs inside (the yolks are yellow like any other egg). For some years Araucana eggs were promoted as a ‘Low Cholesterol’ egg that was healthier than other eggs; however, this is merely urban legend and research has shown that cholesterol levels in eggs can be manipulated by a hen’s diet… but is not associated with eggshell colour.
  • Egg colour can fade towards the end of the breeding season – this is normal
  • Araucana are sometimes referred to as the “Easter Egg Chicken” because of the different hues of the eggs

Size

Bantam Cocks 850-960g; Bantam Hens 790-910g   

Large Cocks 2.7-3.25kg; Large Hens 2.25-2.7kg