It looks like Easter morning when you bring in that basket of different colored eggs! Pink, green, blue, brown, white! Have you seen those pretty pink eggs? Backyard chicken breeding is a combination of art, science, hard work, and patience. The Ameraucana is a less common chicken breed that lays colored eggs. Can they lay pink eggs?
Ameraucanas lay blue eggs, not pink. The Easter Egger is responsible for the pink eggs and can also produce other colored eggs, including blue. Many hatcheries sell birds under the name “Americana,” but these are likely Easter Eggers if they lay different colored eggs. Pure Ameraucanas are rare.
When you’re hunting for your first chicken that lays blue eggs, you will notice there are Americanas and Ameraucanas for sale. True Ameraucanas are more expensive than their Americana counterparts because of their rarity.
So, be careful that you don’t end up with an Easter Egger when looking for the Ameraucana.
Can Ameraucanas Lay Pink Eggs?
They can try, but if they get it right, they aren’t Ameraucanas! Breeders carefully developed these birds for their blue eggs.
Description Of The Ameraucana
Ameraucanas sport a beard and muffs and are hardy birds with sweet natures. Their shanks are a slate blue color, and they lay eggs in various shades of blue.
The Ameraucana descended from other blue egg-laying chickens, including the rare Araucana, but breeders have eliminated the breeding problems related to the latter.
The Origin And History Of The Ameraucana
Ameraucanas and other blue-egg-laying chickens can trace their lineage back to the landrace chickens of Chile. These fowls belonged to the indigenous Mapuche people and carried the blue shell gene.
Breeders perfected other traits from several different breeds before standardizing them in the 1970s in the United States.
Developing a breed takes time and patience, and it is not a linear process but rather a circular one. It’s trial and error and culling those in the flock that don’t achieve your goals to work with better stock.
Here follows the story of the Ameraucana breed.
The Easter Egger Led To The Ameraucana
In 1927 Ward Brower, Jr. saw a painting of Chilean chickens with blue eggs in the background. He decided to import some of these chickens. But they were tough to find because the locals interbred them with many other species.
Crossbreeds could lay colored eggs because a dominant gene causes the blue-shelled eggs. Eventually, a contact shipped him a rooster and two hens in 1930.
These chickens looked like the ones in the painting with ear tufts, and one was rumpless, but they also had traits of other breeds. The rooster and one of the hens died, but she laid some pale brown eggs before she passed, with only one hatching.
This young rooster later bred with the other imported hen, who laid cream-colored eggs. These chicks became Brower’s breeding flock.
After some time, Brower noticed that the eggs had a blue tinge. He continued to breed selectively until the blue intensified. Brower developed one of his lines with birds only descending from the imported ones.
He mixed another line with several different breeds and found that more of these chickens laid colored eggs than the purer breeds. So he called them his Easter egg chickens.
The First Ameraucanas
People often referred to the Easter Eggers as Araucanas, which was the name of the first Chilean imports. Breeders raised these chickens with a wide range of traits.
The American Poultry Association finally accepted John Robinson’s description of tufted and rumpless Araucanas that lay blue eggs as the standard in 1976.
Meanwhile, an Iowa breeder named Milk Gilbert bought some Bantam Easter Eggers. He bred a line of Wheaten bearded, tailed, and muffed bantams that produced blue eggs from them. Gilbert mixed his Easter Eggers with other breeds to include the color gene and other desired characteristics.
A photo of one of his chickens interested a breeder named Don Cable, and they formed a club to develop and standardize several varieties. In 1979 the club decided on the name Ameraucana for these chickens.
How Are Blue Eggs Formed?
Have you ever rubbed a brown egg only to notice that you are rubbing the color off, leaving pale patches? Well, if you haven’t, that is what happens.
However, if you try the same thing with blue eggs, the color stays. The color permeates the entire shell, and these differences arise because of varying pigmentation methods.
All eggs start off white. With Ameraucanas, a liver pigment known as oocyanin seeps into the shell’s base at the start of the process. The blue shade spreads through the whole shell to the inside, w
which is why you can’t rub the color off.
If you have an enquiring mind, you might wonder what caused the development of blue eggs in the first place. Studies suggest that a retrovirus changed the chicken’s DNA long ago, resulting in blue eggs.
The virus is harmless and only affects the egg’s color.
Other colored eggs develop their shades in the uterus. Brown eggs get their color from a dye called protoporphyrin derived from the blood’s hemoglobin. The egg is “painted” as it goes through the reproductive tract, and the color doesn’t permeate the shell.
Pink Eggs, Then?
If you want a chicken that lays pink eggs, the unfortunate truth is that you can never be sure whether any particular hen will give you what you want. Even though the bird may be from a breed that can lay pink eggs, its genetic makeup will define the color of the eggs.
Species that can lay pink eggs are Barred Rock, Mottled Javas, Light Sussex, Australorp, Silkie, Buff Orpington, and Favorelle. These breeds lay cream-colored eggs and could have a genetic variation enabling them to tint the eggs pink.
Nature is marvelous! We can get beautiful colored eggs from our poultry. But, of course, people give Nature a hand when developing new breeds, as backyard chicken breeders spend years working out how to improve healthy and attractive traits and ridding the species of bad ones.
Breeders developed the recognized Ameraucanas over several decades, and these rare birds produce beautiful blue eggs. People often confuse them with Easter Eggers, who sometimes lay pink eggs, but this is where Ameraucanas get credit for something they cannot do!
No matter how much you egg them on, you won’t get a pink egg from these chickens.
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