Araucana Chickens: Characteristics, History, and Care

Araucana Chickens featured image

The Araucana chicken is a unique and fascinating breed of chicken that has captured the attention of poultry enthusiasts around the world. Known for their distinctive blue eggs and tufted ears, these birds are popular for backyard chicken keepers and hobbyists.

Originating from Chile, the Araucana chicken is believed to have been developed by the indigenous Mapuche people. Spanish explorers first brought the birds to Europe in the early 20th century, where they quickly gained popularity for their unusual appearance and hardiness. Today, the Araucana chicken can be found in many countries around the world, including the United States, where it is recognized as a distinct breed by the American Poultry Association.

Despite their popularity, Araucana chickens are not without their challenges. Due to their unique genetics, the birds can be prone to certain health issues, such as ear infections and fertility problems. However, with proper care and attention, these birds can make a rewarding and enjoyable addition to any backyard flock.


The Araucana chicken is a breed that is believed to have originated in Chile, specifically in the region of Araucanía. This breed is known for its unique blue or turquoise eggs, which are a result of a genetic mutation that causes the chicken to deposit blue pigment in the eggshell.

The Araucana chicken is also known by other names, such as Quetros, Colloncas, and Gallina Mapuche. These names are all derived from the indigenous Mapuche people of Chile who first domesticated this breed of chicken. The Mapuche people valued the Araucana chicken for its hardiness, adaptability, and egg-laying abilities.

The Araucana chicken is also thought to have Polynesian ancestry, as it shares many physical characteristics with chickens found in Polynesia. Some historians believe that the Araucana chicken may have been brought to Chile by Polynesian seafarers who traveled across the Pacific Ocean.

Physical Characteristics


The APA recognizes five varieites of Araucana chickens: black, white, golden duckwing, silver duckwing, and black-breasted red. However, other colors, such as lavender are available.

Accepted colors for bantam Araucanas are black, blue, buff, silver, white, and black-breasted red.


Araucana chickens are medium-sized, with hens weighing around 4 pounds and roosters weighing around 5 pounds. They have an upright stance and clean legs.

Bantam Araucana roosters weigh about 28 ounces, with hens weighing about 26 ounces.


They have a small pea comb that sits low on their head. Araucana chickens are also rumpless, meaning they have no tail feathers. They are missing the last two vertebrae in their back.

One of the most distinctive physical characteristics of Araucana chickens is their tufts of feathers that grow near their ears, which are a genetic trait. Unfortunately, if an embryo has two copies of that gene mutation, it will die in the shell, usually around 17-19 days incubation. If it does hatch, it usually dies within a week.

For this reason, some breeders also breed Araucanas that do not have ear tufts, although this is controversial, as lack of ear tufts is a disqualification in shows.

Note that ear tufts are not the same as muffs or beards seen in some breeds, such as the Ameraucana. Ear tufts are upturned feathers near the ears.


Araucana chickens are known for being friendly and docile. They are good with children and make great pets. However, like all chickens, they can become aggressive if they feel threatened or their territory is being invaded.

Overall, Araucana chickens are a unique and interesting breed with several distinctive physical characteristics. They make great pets and are a popular choice for backyard chicken keepers.


Breeding Araucana chickens can be done for egg production or for show. There are different factors to consider when breeding for each purpose. Breeders always look for birds with strong immune systems and resistance to common diseases.

Breeding for Egg Production

When breeding for production, breeders focus on improving the flock’s egg-laying abilities. This involves selecting birds with high fertility rates and good egg production.

Breeding for Show

When breeding for show, breeders focus on producing birds that meet the American Poultry Association (APA) standards. This means selecting birds with specific physical characteristics, such as a pea comb, a beard, ear tufts, four toes, and no tail. Even the rudimentary presence of a tail is a disqualification.

Egg Laying

Egg Production

Araucana chickens are known for their unique blue or turquoise eggs, which are a result of a genetic mutation that causes the chicken to deposit a blue pigment called oocyanin in the eggshell during formation. However, while the color of their eggs is a distinguishing feature, Araucanas are not known for high egg production.

On average, an Araucana hen will lay around 150-200 eggs per year, which is lower than many other chicken breeds. This lower production rate is due to their smaller body size and tendency to go broody (sit on their eggs to hatch them) more frequently than other breeds.

Egg Color

As mentioned, the turquoise or blue color of Araucana eggs is a result of a genetic mutation. Not laying turquoise or blue eggs would be a disqualification from the show ring, and those birds should not be used in a breeding program.

It is also worth noting that not all chickens that lay blue or green eggs are purebred Araucanas. Other breeds, such as Easter Eggers and Ameraucanas, can also lay colored eggs due to genetic variations.

While Araucana chickens may not be the most prolific egg layers, their unique blue or turquoise eggs can be a fun addition to any backyard flock.

Araucana Chicken Eggs
Araucana Eggs

Raising Araucana Chickens

Space Requirements

Araucana chickens require adequate space for their well-being. A single bird needs at least 4 square feet of space in a coop, and 10 square feet in a run.

Bantam Araucanas, a smaller variety, require half the space. The coop should also have roosting bars, nesting boxes, and adequate ventilation.

Confinement vs. Free-Range

Araucana chickens are known for their ability to fly, so it is important to have a covered run or high fencing to prevent them from escaping. They are good foragers and enjoy free-ranging, but it is important to protect them from predators.

Predator Protection

Araucana chickens are vulnerable to predators such as foxes, raccoons, and hawks. To protect them, use sturdy fencing, and cover the run. They should have bushes or other shelters nearby where they can hide from overhead predators, such as hawks. Electric fencing is also an effective deterrent. Additionally, provide a secure coop.


Araucana hens are known for their broodiness, meaning they have a strong desire to sit on their eggs and hatch them. This can be a positive trait if you want to hatch your own chicks, but it means the hen won’t be laying eggs while she is setting and raising her chicks. If you do not want to hatch eggs, consider removing them from the coop promptly.

Hatch Rate

Araucana chickens have a reputation for being difficult to hatch due to their unique genetics. It is important to purchase eggs from a reputable breeder and use a reliable incubator.

According to the Araucana Club of America, hatch rates can be as low as 25% to 55%. As mentioned earlier, some breeders will have clean-faced birds, which lack the genetic mutation, which also leads to higher hatch rates, although not all chicks will be born with tufts.

Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers, which are similar to Araucanas and also lay blue eggs, have a higher hatch rate.

Araucana Rooster
Araucana Rooster

Araucana Chickens as Pets


Araucana chickens are known for their unique personalities. They are generally friendly and curious birds that love to explore their surroundings. They are also active and enjoy foraging for food, making them great for backyard settings.

Friendly vs. Flighty

Araucana chickens are generally friendly birds, but they can be flighty at times. They are known to be independent and can be difficult to catch once they are out of their coop. However, with proper handling and socialization, they can become tame and friendly towards their owners.


Araucana chickens are hardy birds that can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. They are also disease-resistant and can adapt well to different environments. They are great for backyard settings and can thrive in both urban and rural areas.

Health and Care


Araucana chickens require a balanced diet to maintain good health. Their diet should consist of a high-quality commercial layer feed that can be supplemented with a small amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. It is important to provide them with a constant supply of clean water.

Common Health Issues

Araucana chickens are generally healthy birds, but they do have a few specific health concerns:

  • Ear tufts can sometimes cause ear infections if they are not kept clean.
  • The hatch rate of Araucana eggs can be lower than that of other breeds due to the genetic mutations that cause ear tufts.
  • Because they are missing the last two vertebrae on their spine, they don’t have an oil gland, so their feathers are not protected from rain.
  • Because they don’t have a moveable tail, it also causes fertility problems as feathers cannot be moved out of the way during breeding.


In conclusion, the Araucana chicken is a unique and interesting breed that is highly sought after for its blue eggs. This breed is known for its distinct physical features, including ear tufts and a rumpless tail.

Araucana chickens are generally friendly and docile, making them a great addition to any backyard flock.

If you are looking for a chicken breed that lays blue eggs and has a unique appearance, then the Araucana chicken is definitely worth considering. Just keep in mind that they may require a bit more attention and care than other chicken breeds.

Overall, the Araucana chicken is a fascinating breed that is sure to impress anyone who sees them. With their blue eggs and distinctive appearance, they are a great choice for anyone looking to add some variety to their flock.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Araucana chickens lay eggs year-round?

Araucana chickens are seasonal layers, meaning they lay more eggs during the spring and summer months. However, they can lay eggs year-round depending on the climate and living conditions.

How long does it take for Araucana chickens to start laying eggs?

Araucana chickens typically start laying eggs at around 5-6 months of age. However, this can vary depending on factors such as diet, environment, and genetics.

What is the average lifespan of an Araucana chicken?

The average lifespan of an Araucana chicken is around 6-8 years. However, with proper care and attention, they can live up to 10 years or more.

How many eggs do Araucana chickens typically lay per year?

Araucana chickens are known to lay around 150-200 eggs per year, which is slightly lower than other breeds of chickens. However, their eggs are highly sought after due to their unique blue-green color.

What is the origin of Araucana chickens?

Araucana chickens are believed to have originated in South America, specifically in the region of Araucania in Chile. They were first introduced to the United States in the 1930s.

What are some common health issues for Araucana chickens?

The gene that causes ear tufts also causes fertility problems, so hatch rates for Araucana chickens is lower than other breeds.

Curious about the other chicken breeds? Delve into a wealth of information on various chicken varieties by exploring our comprehensive list on “Encyclopedia of Chicken Breeds”.

Want to learn more about raising chickens? This Beginner’s Guide to Raising Chickens (+Pro Tips) will help you ask yourself all the right questions, and it will also give you a realistic idea of what to expect as a chicken owner.

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Araucana Chickens: Characteristics, History, and Care

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