Araucana, Ameraucana or Easter Egger (Olive Egger,Rainbow Layer): What’s the difference?

The differences between an Araucana, Ameraucana, Easter Egger,Americana, Rainbow egg Layer, Olive Egger Chickens explained.

What is the difference between an Araucana and Ameraucana chicken? If you’re confused, you’re not alone. Even the experts disagree on some aspects of the histories of these breeds. I hope the following clears up a few of the basics.

The differences between an Araucana, Ameraucana and an Easter Egger chickens.

ARAUCANAS

Araucanas are blue egg layers with yellow skin, no tails, no beards and no muffs. Araucanas possess ear tufts, which are feathers that grow from a slender, fleshy flap just below the ear.
Double tufted Araucana cockerel:
Araucanas were recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) as a breed in 1976. They are blue egg layers with yellow skin, no tails, no beards and no muffs. Araucanas can possess ear tufts, which are feathers that grow from a slender, fleshy flap just below the ear. The APA recognizes five colors of Araucana: Black, Black Breasted Red, Golden Duckwing, Silver Duckwing and White.

This Araucana rooster is rumpless and double tufted.This Araucana rooster is rumpless and double tufted

Araucanas are frequently confused with Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers, not only due to misinformation, but often knowingly by unscrupulous sellers. Araucanas are rare in the United States, likely due to the genetic challenges in breeding. The tufted gene in Araucanas is a lethal gene. Two copies of the gene cause nearly 100% mortality in offspring (usually between days 18-21 of incubation). Because no living Araucana possesses two copies of the tufted gene, breeding any two tufted birds leads to half of the resulting chicks being tufted with one copy of the gene, one quarter of the chicks being clean-faced with no copy of the gene, and one quarter of the embryos dead in the shell, having received two copies of the gene.
5 day old black Araucana chick via www.The-Chicken-Chick.com5 day old black Araucana chick

 

 

AMERAUCANAS
Ameraucanas lay blue eggs. Other traits include a pea comb, white skin, full tails, muffs and beards (always together), and slate or black legs; they have no ear tufts. www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

Ameraucanas have been bred from different strains of Araucanas since at least 1960 in the United States. The American Poultry Association recognized Ameraucanas as a breed in 1984. For an extraordinarily thorough and fascinating history of Ameraucanas, click here.Ameraucanas lay blue eggs. Other traits include a pea comb, white skin, full tails, muffs and beards (always together), and slate or black legs; they have no ear tufts. The APA recognizes these colors: Black, Blue, Blue Wheaten, Brown Red, Silver, Wheaten and White.

While Ameraucanas are more common in the United States than Araucanas, they are available primarily through reputable breeders. If you are in the market for Ameraucanas and see an advertisement for “Americanas,” be forewarned: there is no such breed. There is no “I” in Ameraucana. The misleading spelling is usually intended to imply that that Easter Eggers are Ameraucanas, which is wrong on many levels.

While Ameraucanas are more common in the United States than Araucanas, they are available only through reputable breeders, regardless of advertisements by hatcheries and other large-scale, distribution sources. If you are in the market for Ameraucanas and see an advertisement for "Americanas," be forewarned: there is no such breed.
Ameraucanas have beards AND muffs, Araucanas can have ear tufts.
Ameraucanas have beards AND muffs, Araucanas can have ear tufts.

 

EASTER EGGERS
Easter Eggers lay a rainbow of egg colors, including: any hue of blue and green and even pink on occasion. Other common EE traits include pea combs and wattles that are either small or absent.

The terms “Americana” and “Americauna” are a marketing tactics for selling hybrids known as Easter Eggers with spelling deceptively similar to the Ameraucana breed name. EEs are not an APA recognized breed, they are a mix of different breeds with one parent carrying a blue egg-laying gene. According to the Easter Egg Club of America, EEs are “the most popular chicken in America today.”*Easter Eggers can lay a rainbow of egg colors, including: any hue of blue or brown or any combination of the two. Traits include pea combs and wattles that are either small or absent, usually possess greenish legs and beards with muffs. EEs are found in an infinite array of feather colors, which makes them a beautiful and unique hybrid chicken.
EEs, sometimes referred to as ‘Rainbow Layers,’ are essentially descendants of Araucanas and Ameraucanas on one side of the family, and any other breed on the other side of the family. Easter Eggers do not breed true. To ‘breed true’ means that purebred chicks resemble both parents.
The surest indications that a seller is offering Easter Eggers for sale are:

  • Easter Eggers will not have a color variety to choose from. In other words, you can’t choose a buff Easter Egger, a white Easter Egger, a blue Easter Egger, a lavender Easter Egger, etc. because they do not breed true. Only pure bred birds will be labelled for sale with a choice of color varieties.
  • Easter Eggers will cost less than $10 dollars per chick. Pure bred birds are much more costly than $3.00
  • Easter Eggers are often mislabelled “Americana, Americauana, Araucana/Ameraucana, Americana/Easter Egger” or some similarly confusing name.

Araucana + Marans = Olive Egger via The Chicken Chick®

Egg from an Olive Egger henEgg from my Olive Egger hen

 

OLIVE EGGER:  An Olive Egger is a specific type of Easter Egger, that is produced by crossing any dark brown egg-laying breed (Barnevelder, Empordanesa, Marans, Pendesenca or Welsummers) with a blue egg-laying breed (Ameraucanas, Araucanas, Cream Legbars). Hens produced from these pairings are hybrids that will produce olive green eggs.
Day old Olive Egger chicks (Black Copper Marans x Ameraucana)Day old Olive Egger chicks (Black Copper Marans x Ameraucana)
a chicken that is produced by crossing any dark brown egg-laying breed (Barnevelder, Empordanesa, Marans, Pendesenca or Welsummers) with a blue egg-laying breed (Ameraucanas, Araucanas, Cream Legbar). Hens produced from these pairings are hybrids that will produce olive green eggs.
Blaze, the Black Copper Marans rooster & Clarice, the Blue Ameraucana hen produce Olive Egger chicks who will lay olive green eggs.
Blaze, the Black Copper Marans rooster & Clarice, the Blue Ameraucana hen produce Olive Egger chicks who will lay olive green eggs.
Rainbow of egg colors

Rainbow of egg colors.

Olive Egger adolescents (Black Copper Marans x Ameraucana)Olive Egger adolescents (Black Copper Marans x Ameraucana)

 

The photos of Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers on this page are all from my own flock, The Araucanas were entrants in a poultry show I attended.
Araucana rooster.
Araucana rooster.
Rumpless, double tufted Araucana via www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

Rumpless, double tufted Araucana

Black Ameraucana chick via www.The-Chicken-Chick.comBlack Ameraucana chick
Blue Ameraucana chick, day old.Blue Ameraucana chick, day old.
Blue Ameraucana chicks.Blue Ameraucana chicks.
Blue Ameraucana henBlue Ameraucana hen
Black Ameraucana pulletBlack Ameraucana pullet
4 day old Easter Egger chick via www.The-Chicken-Chick.comA sleepy Easter Egger chick (4 days old)
Easter Egger chick (2 weeks old)Easter Egger chick (2 weeks old)
Easter Egger pulletsEaster Egger pullets
Easter Egger henEaster Egger hen
Easter Egger henEaster Egger hen
Olive Egger pullet.Olive Egger pullet
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Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick®

Comments

avatar
Cindy Brooks
Guest

Hi this is Cynthia Brooks son Micah where should I look for ameraucana's at. what colors do they lay.

Sheri Campbell Wilks
Guest

Cathy, Is it possible to have eggs shipped from your reputable farm (fingers crossed)? I truly want the Araucanas, but being new to this breed I'm very leary now. TIA

Sheri Campbell Wilks
Guest

Cathy Vandenburg Hill, I would love to get some Araucanas. Do you ship, hun?

Sheri Campbell Wilks
Guest

Eilene, I plan to go myself. I'm just getting back into chickens and found this information so helpful as I am really want to get into Amerucanas and Orpingtons. Everyone I've talked to said this is the place to go to start my flock and I'm so very excited! Hope you have a great time, I'm sure I will 😉

Sheri Campbell Wilks
Guest

I'd love to have that information as well still looking!

Samantha White
Guest

Im curious! I have an Ameraucana roo and brown eggers in my flock, would the eggs I hatch from them be considered easter eggers?

swimmy44
Guest

six or seven months depending on the length of daylight.

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