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« Ameraucanas and Arucanas: some clarification


(And why do you persist in spelling it "Americana," anyway?)

We field many questions about our primary chicken breed: Americanas, also referred to as Ameraucanas or Arucanas. There is plenty of misinformation and mis-expertise about in regard to which breed is which.

We work with non-purebred Ameraucanas - a North American 19th century breed which took its cues from the rarer, and far more fragile Arucanas, which hail from Chile, according to most accounts. Many people use the two terms interchangeably, although that's not correct.

Purebred Arucanas are more difficult to locate, expensive, and are not a hardy breed—an important consideration if you are committed to raising your birds on pasture, as we are. The more readily available Ameraucana is not only a hardier bird, but it has a delightful "Heinz 47" aspect to the breed: within the breed standards, they look quite dissimilar. To up the ante, though, is this fact: even this well-known American breed is not nearly as commonplace as many folks believe. According to the Ameraucana Breeders Club, 99% of the Ameraucanas out there are "mutts."

Some poultry suppliers (such as McMurray Hatchery, where many of our chickens have hailed from) have made the ethical choice to highlight this distinction by changing the spelling of the breed they are offering to "Americana" to be clear they are not trying to fleece the unsuspecting chicken newbie. You will also find the non-purebred breed sold as "Easter egg" chickens.

Our large flock is made up of these diluted strains. Even from this vantage point, though, reading up on the breeds proper is fascinating: There are eight distinct accepted Ameraucana types, for example.

You may find the Ameraucana page on Barry Koffler's Feathersite interesting reading as well.»

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