Ameraucana chickens are commonly known as Easter Egger chickens because of the colorful eggs they lay. Their eggs can be any color, from shades of blue to greens and even pinks and browns. It must seem like Easter every morning when you collect those pretty eggs. Ameraucanas are good layers, but are they dual-purpose birds? Are they also good to eat?
Ameraucanas can be good to eat, but people seldom raise them for meat production alone. Instead, keepers farm them because they are good layers. They don’t grow as fast as broilers and may be tough when their egg-laying days are over. However, some say they taste like quail and can be tasty if cooked slowly.
It’s probably best to refer to the Ameraucana as an Easter Egger, or EEs. While EEs carry the blue egg gene, they are hybrids bred from the standardized Ameraucana and other breeds.
Some hatcheries label them as Americanas or different spelling variations, leading some buyers to believe they are purchasing the pure-bred Ameraucana. Is this deliberately misleading? Maybe.
Are Ameraucana Chickens Good To Eat?
The critical point to remember is that Ameraucana or Easter Eggers are hybrids mixed with different breeds of chickens. Backyard chicken keepers continue to experiment and breed with other varieties and their hybrid Easter Eggers.
So there are no standards within the “breed” to determine whether every Easter Egger will be a good dinner table ingredient or not.
Description Of An Ameraucana Or Easter Egger
The EE can be like the typical “box of chocolates.” You will never know what you’re going to get when it comes to their features. They mostly have single pea combs, but this is not cast in stone. Sometimes a chicken will have ear tufts, and their lobes can vary in color. Often they are white or red, though.
Their facial features can include muffs and/or beards, with some people saying that they look a little like chipmunks! They don’t usually have feathered legs, and the color of the shanks can vary between yellow and slate blue or green.
Most of them have tails, but some are rumpless because of their Araucana heritage.
The Araucanas had no tails or tailbones, and although they laid blue eggs, they also had a gene that caused the chickens to die in the shells. This gene causes the death of the chick that carries it. So breeders developed the Ameraucana to get rid of these lethal alleles.
Ameraucanas were the forefathers of the Easter Eggers or Americanas.
Ameraucana are not excessively large, with the hens averaging about 4 lbs and the roosters about 5 lbs. You also get bantam Easter Eggers.
Are Ameraucana Best For Eggs Or The Pot?
Backyard chicken keepers often choose an EE flock because they are such good layers. These beauties lay between 200 and 280 eggs per year. And the eggs come in pretty pastel shades. They have a lot going for them as laying birds, but some farmers consider their EE flock dual-purpose birds.
Dual-purpose chickens are birds that lay a decent amount of eggs but are also big enough to send old hens and extra roosters off to the market to be processed.
Layers use most of their energy and resources to produce their eggs and don’t grow as fast as those destined for the pot. Meat birds or broilers grow exceptionally fast, and many are processed at only six weeks old.
Laying chickens can live in a backyard coop for eight to ten years. Many backyard chicken keepers report that some EE hens still lay eggs until about five or six years of age.
If backyard chicken keepers want their EEs to be dual purpose, they usually process the extra roosters because the hens will produce eggs for a long time.
Other Reasons For Keeping Ameraucana Chickens
Though we speak about dual-purpose chickens, referring to getting eggs and meat from the same flock, there are other reasons why backyard farmers like to keep EEs.
Ameraucana make lovely pets. They are sweet-natured and affectionate and reportedly love to cuddle with their owners. EEs can be great companions because of their friendly natures. And then you get the benefit of eggs too!
They are also good with children. With all these factors in their favor, it’s no wonder that keepers don’t often intend to “process” their birds.
What Do Ameraucana Taste Like?
Some people report that these birds taste slightly like quail. Depending on the age of the Ameraucana, it could be a tough bird if not cooked low and slow. They are also not massive birds, so farmers don’t raise them for meat production. When people use them for food, it is usually on a small scale for home use only.
Fun Facts About Ameraucana Chickens
Easter Eggers are a favorite backyard type of chicken for many reasons.
- They are hardy and survive well in the heat and cold.
- They lay extra-large eggs despite being only a small to medium-sized breed.
- The Olive Egger produces eggs that start out blue but then are dyed with a layer of brown before the egg is laid, resulting in an olive-colored egg.
- Easter Eggers have tiny combs and wattles (if any) that help them cope with cold winters.
- Ameraucana might be hybrids, but this stands them in good stead when it comes to health. Breeds that have been developed to perfect standards often have strange weaknesses. Hybrids lose that through interbreeding.
- An EE hen will always lay the same color eggs for life.
- Hatcheries sell EEs at lower prices than pure-bred chickens because they are hybrids.
So many people love to keep Ameraucana in their backyard chicken coops. They are hardy but still ornamental. They lay a lot of extra-large eggs in a range of beautiful colors. They are friendly and make great pets.
People sometimes take Ameraucana to dinner, as the meal. They say it tastes like chicken and sometimes a bit like quail, so they can be said to be good to eat.
But backyard keepers do not often raise these birds for meat production. They have too much going for them in terms of eggcellent personality and their breakfast benefits.
- Can Ameraucanas Lay Pink Eggs?
- Why Do I Keep Finding Chicken Eggs In My Garden?
- Are Ameraucana Roosters Loud?
- Do Ameraucanas Have Feathers On Their Feet?
- Ameraucana Vs. Easter Eggers
- How Often Do Ameraucana Chickens Lay Eggs?