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Araucana, Ameraucana or Easter Egger (Olive Egger, Rainbow Layer): What's the Difference?

8/23/2012 12:33:48 PM

Tags: Araucana, Ameraucana, Easter Egger, Rainbow Layer, Easter Egger, Olive Egger, Blue Eggs, Blue Egg Laying Chicken, Chickens, Hens, Backyard Chickens, Americana, Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick, Kathy Shea Mormino

 Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana 1 

What is the difference between an Araucana, Ameraucana and Easter Egger chicken? If you’re confused, you’re not alone. Even the experts disagree on some aspects of the histories of these chickens. I hope the following clears up a few of the basics for you.


 Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana 1b 

Araucana photo used with permission from  

Araucanas were recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) as a breed in 1976. They are blue egg layers with yellow skin, no tails, no beards and no muffs. They possess ear tufts, which are feathers that grow from a slender, fleshy flap just below the ear. The APA recognizes five colors of Araucana: Black, Black Breasted Red, Golden Duckwing, Silver Duckwing and White.

“Araucanas were first bred in the United States in the 1930's. They came from a cross between two breeds from Northern Chile, Colloncas and Quetros. Colloncas have no ear tufts but are rumpless and lay blue eggs; Quetros have ear tufts and tails but do not lay blue eggs.” 

Araucanas are frequently confused with Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers, not only due to misinformation, but often knowingly by unscrupulous sellers. Araucanas are scarce in the United States, likely due to the genetic challenges in breeding. The tufted gene in Araucana is a lethal gene. Two copies of the gene cause nearly 100% mortality in offspring (usually between days 18-21 of incubation). Because no living Araucana possesses two copies of the tufted gene, breeding any two tufted birds leads to half of the resulting chicks being tufted with one copy of the gene, one quarter of the chicks being clean-faced with no copy of the gene, and one quarter of the embryos dead in the shell, having received two copies of the gene.  


 Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana 2   

Ameraucanas have been bred from different strains of Araucanas since at least 1960 in the United States. The American Poultry Association recognized Ameraucanas as a breed in 1984. For an extraordinarily thorough and fascinating history of Ameraucanas, please see  

Ameraucanas lay blue eggs. Other traits include a pea comb, white skin, full tails, muffs and beards (always together), and slate or black legs; they have no ear tufts. The APA recognizes these colors: Black, Blue, Blue Wheaten, Brown Red, Sliver, Wheaten and White.

While Ameraucanas are more common in the United States than Araucanas, they are available only through reputable breeders, regardless of advertisements by hatcheries and other large-scale, distribution sources. If you are in the market for Ameraucanas and see an advertisement for "Americanas," be forewarned: there is no such breed. There is no "I" in Ameraucana. 


 Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana 4 

Easter Eggers (EEs) are not an APA recognized breed, they are a mix of different breeds. They are sometimes referred to as 'Rainbow Layers.' Easter Eggers are essentially descendants of Araucanas and Ameraucanas on one side of the family, and any other breed on the other side of the family. Easter Eggers do not breed true. To 'breed true' means that purebred chicks resemble both parents.

According to the Easter Egg Club of America, EEs are "the most popular chicken in America today."*  Easter Eggers lay a wide range of egg colors, including: any hue of blue and green and even pink on occasion. Other common EE traits include pea combs and wattles that are either small or absent.  They often have greenish legs and beards and muffs, but not necessarily. They can have any skin color. Their leg color can range from green to slate and even yellow. They can be found in an infinite array of feather colors, which makes them a beautiful and unique.

 Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana 5 

   Eggs from an Olive Egger

OLIVE EGGER:   An Olive Egger is a specific type of Easter Egger, that is produced by crossing any dark brownegg-laying breed (Barnevelder, Empordanesa, Marans, Pendesenca or Welsummers) with ablue egg-laying breed (Ameraucanas, Araucanas, Easter Eggers). The hens of these pairings will produce a green egg.

 Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger 6 
     Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana 10 

 Olive Egger adolescents (except for the one Black Copper Marans as labelled)     

The photos of Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers on this page are from my own flock, except for the Araucanas, which are captioned accordingly.

 Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana 14

Araucana hen

Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana 15 

Araucana Rooster

Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana 16 

 Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana 17 

Blue Ameraucana chicks (Bessie & Clarice)

 Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana 19 

Black Ameraucana chickens (approx. 9 weeks old. One Blue Ameraucana to the left of the bench)

 Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana20 

Blue Ameraucana hen

 Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana 22 

Blue Ameraucana hen

 Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana23 

Black Ameraucana hen

 Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana24 

A sleepy Easter Egger chick (4 days old)

 Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana25 

Easter Egger chick (2 weeks old)

 Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana30 

Easter Eggers (approximately 12 weeks old)

 Ameraucana Araucana Easter Egger Americana32 

Easter Egger Hen with scissor beak aka: crossed beak.


 Olive Egger hen.

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Post a comment below.


9/9/2012 2:08:05 AM
I think Showgirls are next on my list, Lisa. They're so adorable!

9/9/2012 2:07:39 AM
My pleasure, thank you Alexandrea. :)

8/27/2012 9:25:01 PM
Kathy, this is wonderful! Thank you for sharing this very informative, and often incorrectly stated, breed description.

Lisa Ohling
8/27/2012 4:41:33 PM
I have Ameraucanas and Olive Eggers for our eating eggs. Lavender and black Ameraucana's hid at my daughters for hatching eggs. And silkies/showgirls cause they are so much fun...cuddly too :)

8/27/2012 2:45:32 AM
Spoken like a true chicken addict, Janice. ☺

8/27/2012 2:45:08 AM
How do you feel about the Araucanas, Trisha? Some people don't care for the rumpless look. I'm on the fence about it.

8/27/2012 2:44:31 AM
VERY cool, Billiejo! I would love to see photos of them if you'd like to share on my Facebook page!

8/27/2012 2:43:51 AM
LOL, the hens really don't like to be told they have beards though, Salome. LOL!

8/27/2012 2:43:19 AM
Nikki, workin' the chicken math. Right ON!

8/27/2012 2:42:37 AM
Amanda, this is my first year with Olive Eggers and I am fascinated by them!

Janice Klinzing
8/26/2012 6:35:08 PM
I have Easter Eggers, Aracaunas and Ameracaunas, plus many other breeds. I love them all!

Trisha Benjamin
8/26/2012 6:13:50 PM
I have Easter eggers and Ameracaunas :)

Billiejo Miller Rush
8/26/2012 3:06:03 AM
I Have Easter Eggers,Naked Neck Easter Eggers,Ameraucanas...And I am working on Blue Laced Red Ameraucanas...They are looking real nice!! ("\(^v^)/")

Salome Honeycutt
8/26/2012 1:42:32 AM
I have two Ameraucanas! I love their puffy cheeks!

8/26/2012 1:11:20 AM
We have 6 Easter Eggers and I am seriously itching for more! I would love to have some Olive Eggers

Cathy Zeiler
8/26/2012 12:18:42 AM
I just have easter eggers, but I've had araucanas in the past.

Amanda Carpenter
8/24/2012 12:29:12 AM
I really like the olive eggers, their eggs are so unique.

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