Wheaten Ameraucana Chickens
March 1, 2013
Ameraucana chickens are the “blue egg” chickens. You may have seen their eggs at the farmer’s market or on Martha. They are a relatively new breed, being standardized and added to the American Poultry Association in the early 1980′s. Blue egg laying chickens are said to have been known in South America in pre-Columbian times. Chickens are all Asian in orgin, so I’ll let you decide how chickens made it to South America and started laying blue eggs long before the New World was ever “found.” The Ameraucana Breeder’s Club has a much more detailed history of the breed.
The great majority of “Ameraucanas” sold in the US are not actually purebred birds. They are mixed breeds that happen to lay blue or green eggs, and are more correctly called “Easter Egger” chickens. We have both, and love both. We focus our breeding efforts on the purebred Ameraucanas, but in all honestly, Easter Eggers tend to lay more and larger eggs than their pedigreed counterparts. Anything mail-ordered from a large commercial hatchery is actually and Easter Egger, regardless of what they tell you it is.
Pure Ameraucanas are available in a few color varieties. We specialize in the Wheaten coloration. The hens are a light wheat to buff color, in contrast to the roosters which are multicolored in reds and blacks. This sexual dimorphism is a great help in sexing young birds. Many people simply can’t accommodate roosters, so being able to sex them at 3 to 4 weeks of age is a huge help. Even at that stage the girls will be lighter in color, with the boys showing more coloration on their plumage. To further confuse matters, there are also Blue Wheaten Ameraucanas, where the black of true Wheatens is replaced with a blue-grey color. A blue wheaten cockerel is one of the most handsome roosters you can find in the poultry world, in our humble opinion.
Wheaten Ameraucana chicks hatch as solid yellow chicks, occasionally with some slight dark markings. At hatch they are impossible to sex, and are also impossibly cute. As Thomas says, “they look like the baby chicks from the baby chick commercial.”
I got my first Wheaten Ameraucanas in my first year of chicken keeping in Philadelphia, long before I had ever met Thomas. After getting the first two, Mary Kate and Ashley, I knew I needed more. I ordered a box of chicks from Jean Ribbeck, president of the Americaunas Breeder’s Club. They were flown across country from Washington to our Philadelphia row home. We still have a few of the hens from that order, as well as Handsome, our rooster patriarch. Last winter we found Buzz, a large cockerel that was bred by Wayne Meredith of Wisconsin. Our birds are combination of those two lines, and now that we are entering our 4th generation we are quite pleased with the size of our birds and their egg color.
Chicks and eggs are now available. Orders will be filled as they are received. Egg orders will be shipped starting March 18 and chick orders will ship starting April 15. Eggs are $35 per dozen, plus actual priority mail shipping charges, and chicks are $6 each, plus actual express mail shipping charges. Chicks will be a mixture of Wheaten, Blue Wheaten, and possibly Splash Wheaten. Specific colors cannot be separated at this time. A minimum of 15 chicks may be shipped via express mail. Smaller orders can be picked up on our farm in Cobleskill, NY. To request an order, please fill out the boxes below.