Ameraukana (breed of chickens): characteristics, maintenance and care
Ameraukana is an egg and meat breed of chickens bred in America in the second half of the 20th century. A distinctive feature of the birds of this breed is the color of the eggs, which varies from blue to olive. Let's take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of ameraucana and the features of caring for it.
The breed originates from the World Exhibition held in Montreal in 1967. It was at this exhibition that the hens of the South American Araucana breed were represented. In the 70s, scientists began to interbreed Araucana with American laying hens and, as a result, bred a new breed - Ameraucana.
Ameraukans, in addition to the unusual color of eggs, have a number of features that distinguish them from other chickens. Let's look at a more detailed description of this breed.
Characteristics of the appearance of birds:
|Head||Small in size, covered with lush beard and sideburns|
|Crest||Small, pea-shaped. Located just above the beak and on the back of the head|
|Beak||Curved, powerful, medium sized|
|Chest||Large, slightly raised|
|Wings||Large, well developed (the bird can fly well)|
|Tail||Moderate length, located at an angle of 45 ° to the body, fully feathered|
|Paws||Medium-sized, with 4 fingers, not feathered|
|Plumage and color||The plumage is dense, a large amount of fluff. Officially recognized 8 colors: from silver to dark brown|
Did you know? Unlike other breeds of chickens, whose eggs always remain white from the inside, even having a multi-colored appearance, the shell of an Ameraucana egg is blue from the inside. This is achieved due to the special pigment produced by the spleen of the bird.
Representatives of the breed Ameraukan are most often complaisant, playful. Birds are active, able to search for food and “adventures” all day.
Advantages and disadvantages
- The advantages of the breed include:
- multicolor eggs;
- endurance, adaptability to cold and hot climates;
- high productivity;
- unpretentiousness in nutrition;
- lack of specific breed diseases;
- chickens are born strong, with good immunity;
- The breed has few shortcomings, but they are still there:
- among roosters there are aggressive individuals;
- the instinct of incubation is very poorly developed.
Maintenance and care
Due to their endurance and adaptability to different climatic conditions, these birds are quite simple to maintain and care.
The chicken coop should be:
- spacious (birds are active and like to move);
- protected from rodents and parasites;
- without drafts;
- warm (optimum temperature for keeping birds is + 14–19 ° С);
- with low perches (60–80 cm from the floor, perch length for a rooster - 35 cm, for a chicken - 30 cm);
- have a box of sand (dry earth) so that hens can take dust baths.
Ameraukans need long walks, so for their maintenance you need a walking yard. It is important to note that birds are able to fly, so the courtyard should be covered. In order to avoid undermining, a foundation of cement is needed. In the courtyard, it is advisable to equip a site with shadow canopies for walking in the summer.
Feeding troughs and drinking bowls
The chicken coop and walking yard must be equipped with feeders and drinking bowls. For ameraucans, it is recommended to use feeders and drinking bowls, from which the feed does not spill out, water does not spill, because birds prefer dryness. Vacuum drinkers are best used as the water in them will always be clean.
Important! Ameraucans need clean water; they cannot be watered with water from a water supply system. Filtered water is best suited for this, if there is no such possibility - settled or boiled.
Seasonal molting begins with the onset of cold weather, tentatively in October, and lasts 2-3 months. During this period, egg production drops sharply, as the poultry organism spends up to 85% protein for growing new plumage. During molting, it is necessary to add mineral top dressing and protein to food.
After molting, the hens return to egg laying, which will continue throughout the winter.
Herd replacement planned
The most productive period of egg production of amerucans falls on the first 1.5–2 years from the moment of laying. Thus, one should think about replacing the herd when the parent is one year old.
What to feed
Feeding of chickens is of great importance in the care, since it directly affects their egg production and other indicators of productivity. Let's look at what the nutrition of ameraucans should be.
One of the advantages of the breed is its unreadable diet. Key recommendations for feeding adult chickens:
- For the warm season, two meals a day are enough; for the cold season, it is advisable to increase the number of meals to 3.
- The best food option is a combination of combined feed and access to greenery (in winter - dried or granular grass).
- Nutrition can be supplemented with mixtures of oats, corn, barley and wheat.
- Compound feed should contain from 16 to 20% protein of animal origin.
Key recommendations for feeding chickens:
- From the 1st to the 21st day of life, chicks are recommended five meals a day, preferably by the hour. After - translate into three times.
- The basis of nutrition is starter feed, enriched with protein and vitamin B.
- In the first 1.5 months of life, eggs and greens (for example, nettle scalded with boiling water) are added to the feed, after which the diet coincides with the diet of adult chickens.
- Chicks need a lot of drinking.