Ameraucana chickens are popular specialty chickens. They have been bred in America and are considered a desirable breed to own by most backyard chicken keepers. These fowls come in a variety of colors and are attractive birds. However, despite their beautiful looks, most poultry keepers still want to get eggs from their chickens. Important questions are whether Ameraucanas are good egg layers, how often they lay, and when they start laying.
How Often Do Ameraucana Chickens Lay Eggs?
Amerauacana chickens are good layers, producing 3 to 6 eggs a week. Ameraucana hens produce 250 to 300 eggs yearly. The eggs are blue and usually weigh 1.8 – 2.1 ounces (53 – 60 grams). The hens typically start laying at six months. Environmental, diet, and housing conditions can affect egg-laying.
Eggs are one of the delights of keeping chickens. Adults and children enjoy the thrill of collecting eggs every day.
Are Ameraucana Chickens Good Egg Layers?
Amerauacanas are good egg-laying chickens. They lay between three and six eggs weekly and 250 to 300 eggs a year. This is equivalent to top-laying chicken breeds such as Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, and Australorps.
Many people believe that chickens lay an egg every day. However, the cycle for the formation of eggs takes 24 to 26 hours. Hens do not always start a new cycle immediately after laying an egg.
The hen’s reproductive system is stimulated by light. If the hen lays an egg late in the day, there may be insufficient light to trigger a new cycle. The following egg cycle will only start a few hours after sunrise the next day. This means that the hen will miss a day or two before laying her next egg.
Why Do Ameraucana Hens Need Light To Lay Eggs?
The hypothalamus in the brain is the start of the egg-laying cycle. The light must penetrate the bird’s feathers, skin, and skull to stimulate light receptor cells in the brain.
If the light is weak and daylight hours are limited, the light receptor cells are not stimulated, and egg-laying will not occur.
When Do Ameraucana Hens Start Laying Eggs?
Hens, unlike most animals, have only one functional ovary and oviduct. The left ovary in chickens is the only one that produces eggs. Hens must reach a critical body weight before the ovary matures and can produce eggs.
Hens with a high muscle ratio and low body fat will not mature enough to start laying eggs. Likewise, hens already laying eggs that lose body condition and have low fat stores usually stop laying eggs.
Ameraucana pullets usually begin laying at approximately six months of age. This is affected by:
- The number of daylight hours
- The hen’s body condition
In experiments, scientists found that hens may have sufficient feed to reach the appropriate body weight and have enough sunlight but still not begin laying. The hens just needed to be old enough to lay eggs.
Do Ameraucana Hens Ever Lay Two Eggs A Day?
Ameraucana chickens very rarely lay two eggs in one day. Sometimes it may occur in a chicken with high-fat stores. Two egg yolks are released at once, forming two eggs.
It is more common for two egg yolks to occur in one egg if the ovary releases two yolks. These eggs are known as double yolkers.
Commercial chicken farmers often view this as a waste of resources as it indicates the body weight of the hen is too high.
Meaning that she overeats, wasting chicken feed as the farmer does not get extra money for double yolk eggs.
Why Do Ameraucana Hens Lay Less Eggs Sometimes?
Ameraucana hens generally lay fewer eggs in winter due to the shortage of daylight hours. The hens will not be stimulated to lay as many eggs if the sunlight is weak. Therefore, a very rainy or cloudy week could produce fewer eggs than usual.
Hens only have a finite number of eggs that they can produce in their lives. This is because they are hatched with a specific number of eggs and cannot lay more than this.
As hens age, their rate of egg-laying reduces. This is how hens become ‘spent’ – the term describes a hen with no more eggs to lay.
Ameraucana hens typically begin to lay fewer eggs after two and a half years of age. Depending on their egg-laying history, they may cease laying eggs altogether at five to six years.
For this reason, chicken keepers breed or buy new young hens regularly. They must have young Ameraucana hens to keep up the number of eggs produced.
Hens that are molting have higher than average nutritional needs. During molting, Ameraucana hens will stop laying eggs as they are using nutrient stores for feather growth.
Ameraucana hens that have hatched a clutch of eggs do not lay eggs again for some time. This hiatus is nature’s way of giving the hen’s body a rest and allows her to focus on rearing her chicks.
What Color Eggs Do Ameraucana Chickens Lay?
Ameraucana chickens are well known for laying blue eggs. It makes them desirable chickens, as many people enjoy the novelty of blue eggs.
Some people mistakenly think that a feed additive can produce blue eggs, but this is not true. Amerauacana hens are genetically primed to lay blue eggs. Hens have certain pigments in their bodies that determine the color of the eggs they lay.
Ameraucana hens have the pigment biliverdin, which is deposited into the egg shells causing them to be blue. Blue eggs are blue both on the inside and outside of the shell.
The pigment is released early in the oviduct as the shell forms. In some chicken breeds, the egg color is only seen on the outside. The color is released further down the passage, and it coats the already formed eggshell.
Ameraucana chickens are good layers. The breed produces a high number of eggs weekly and yearly. They start laying at approximately six months and continue until about six years. Ameraucanas produce blue eggs, which are very popular.
Good nutrition, adequate daylight hours, and good health are necessary for Ameraucana hens to sustain a high egg production rate.
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