Araucana chickens originated in Chile, but there are breeders all over the world, including a few in South Africa.
They come in a variety of colours, including lavender, white, blue, black-red, silver duck wing, golden duck wing, blue-red, pile, crele, spangled, cuckoo and black.
They have an unusually upright stance as their back slopes toward their bottom half. They have no tail feathers.
You will also know them by their tufts of feathers that stick out from their cheeks. The tufts vary. Unfortunately, the gene which gives them their charming appearance can also be lethal. If a chick receives two copies of the gene, it will die in the shell before hatching. Breeders also keep non-tufted Aruacanas to counteract this danger.
They do not have feathers on their legs and the colour of their legs may vary depending upon the colour of the chicken. Araucana chickens can have slate, olive, black or blue legs and grey to white skin.
They are not a very large breed. The male weighs in at 3kg and female at 2.5kg.
Araucana chicken egg laying
But their great attraction is that they lay beautiful blue eggs. A hen will typically lay three times a week and the eggs are a medium size.
They go broody easily and will bring up their own chicks.
Araucanas are hardy and able to cope with extremes of temperatures.
They are quite energetic and curious. Opinions vary on how friendly they are, but some breeders will tell you that they are good with children.
This is part of a series of articles on chicken breeds and varieties available in South Africa. For more, click here.
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