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Distinguishing Ameraukana with other breeds of chickens is quite simple. This bird, which is bred to obtain eggs of the original color, is distinguished by dense plumage and pronounced sideburns protruding from both sides of the beak. Ameraucana stands out against the background of congeners with developed wings, and the roosters of this breed are aggressive towards the owners and females.
History of origin and description of the breed
Ameraucana appeared in the 70s of the last century by crossing Araucana with American chicken breeds. Officially, this poultry species was included in the relevant registers in 1984.
The Ameraukan breed does not have a single color pattern that distinguishes these chickens from their relatives. There are 8 varieties of poultry, differing from each other in the shade of plumage..
The popularity of Ameraucana among farmers consists of two components: increased egg production and meat that tastes unusual. The breed is characterized by unpretentiousness in terms of care and the ability to live in the northern regions. The eggs of these chickens have a variety of colors, which is why these birds are called "Easter".
This breed is classified into 8 species by plumage color. Also in the genus Ameraucana there are dwarf representatives known as bentams. The main feature of these poultry is the presence of pronounced sideburns, which hide a small head. This feature gives the chickens an aristocratic look.
The characteristic features of Ameraucana include the following:
- red or dark red eyes;
- large curved beak;
- pea-shaped crest, increasing in the middle part;
- red and elongated lobes (in roosters they have a more intense color);
- compact, arched tail, curved at an angle of 45 degrees;
- large wings that allow the bird to fly;
- paws of medium length, with a wide stance;
- the color of the paws depends on the shade of the plumage.
The shade of eggs ranges from green to blue, in rare cases pink.
The weight of adult chickens is 2.5 kilograms, roosters - 3 kilograms. Chicks reach sexual maturity at 6 months of age.
Ameraucanu is bred to produce unusual-tasting meat and bright eggs, which are in demand. Chickens of this breed "do not like" to hatch chicks. For a year, adult females are able to lay up to 210-250 eggs, the weight of which is, on average, 65 grams.
The nature of the breed
Roosters of this breed are distinguished by aggressive behavior, showing their own character in relation to the owners and chickens. Therefore, males are recommended to be kept in separate enclosures. This bird is characterized by curiosity, in connection with which the females are constantly on the move, looking for something interesting.
The behavior of chicks depends on how they feel:
- get lost among themselves - they experience cold;
- they constantly squeak - they ask for food;
- move away from the heat source - too hot;
- do not make sounds - do not experience discomfort.
In the first 10 weeks, the chicks develop muscle and bone mass. During this period, it is necessary to provide the chickens with proper nutrition. After 10 weeks, the chicks begin to actively gain weight. Within the specified period, it is necessary to ensure uniform access to power sources.
Lack of food will cause large chicks to start attacking small ones.
Main pros and cons
Chickens of the Ameraukana breed have the following advantages:
- colored eggs;
- meat original to taste;
- increased endurance;
- the ability to live in a cold and hot climate;
- high productivity;
- low nutritional requirements;
- the presence of immunity to common diseases;
- viable chickens.
The main disadvantage of these chickens is the nature of the birds. Males are highly aggressive, and females do not incubate eggs.
Due to the lack of hatching instinct in Ameraucana, farmers breed these birds in two ways: they buy chicks or install an incubator on the site.
Due to the fact that this breed is curious, it is necessary to build a spacious chicken coop for the birds with a mandatory walking area. The house must be protected from moisture, rodents and parasites. Walls, ceilings and floors are recommended to be sheathed with materials that prevent the formation of drafts.
Although chickens are not picky about grooming, the house should be cleaned regularly. Inside the room, you need to maintain a constant temperature of + 14-19 degrees. The house should also contain roosts set at a height of 60-80 centimeters. For males, you need to mount strips 35 centimeters long, for females - 30 centimeters. It is necessary to place a container with sand in the chicken coop, in which the birds will take dust baths.
Ameraucans thrive at 60-70% humidity. To avoid contamination of poultry in the hen house, it is recommended to regularly disinfect and replace the bedding.
Chickens of Ameraukan love to walk for a long time. Therefore, for the birds it is necessary to organize a cage next to the chicken coop. The walking area should be fenced off from all sides, including from above. The absence of a "ceiling" will lead to the fact that the chickens scatter over the site.
Farmers also recommend installing a fence of this zone on the foundation, and also erecting separate shady canopies where birds can walk in the warm season.
Preparation of feeders and drinkers
Inside the hen house and in the walking area, it is necessary to provide the chickens with sources of water and food. To do this, it is recommended to install vacuum drinking cups that do not allow water to pass through and provide the dryness necessary for the birds in the territory where they live. Ameraukana should be given clean water to drink.
Feeders should be cleaned immediately after feeding or once a day.
Molt and lay break
Beginning in October (or with the onset of cold weather), Ameraucana begins a molting period that lasts up to two or three months. At this time, up to 85% of the body's resources of chickens are spent on changing plumage. Therefore, the number of eggs in this period is sharply reduced.
During molting, it is recommended to add protein or mineral supplements to food. At the end of the specified period, the previous egg production is restored.
Planned herd replacement
Due to the fact that chickens of the Ameraukan breed are more productive within 1.5-2 years, it is necessary to start replacing the herd after the females reach one year of age.
Egg production and other indicators that affect the life of the herd depend on the characteristics of feeding. Therefore, special attention should be paid to the nutrition of chickens.
After hatching and for the next three weeks, chicks should be fed five times a day, at intervals of one hour. In the future, the chickens need to be transferred to three meals a day. It is necessary to feed the chicks with a compound feed, which includes B vitamins and protein.
During the first 1.5 years of life, greens and crushed eggshells should be introduced into the diet of young animals. During this period, chicks should be gradually transferred to the diet of adult chickens. Also, the chicks of the Ameraukan breed need a plentiful drink.
During the summer, adult chickens can be fed twice a day, in the winter - three times. A suitable diet for the Ameraukan breed is a mixture of compound feed and greens. Additionally, it is recommended to introduce corn, barley, oats and wheat into the diet. To ensure the normal functioning of adult birds, the diet should consist of 16-20% animal proteins.
Breeding the breed
An incubator is required to breed the breed, as hens do not hatch eggs. Young animals can also be purchased. However, it is difficult to do this in Russia, since it is impossible to determine the breed belonging to the chick.
For hatching young animals, you should choose large eggs laid 2-7 days ago. In order for the chicks to hatch, it is necessary to keep the incubation material warm: at temperatures below +8 degrees, the embryo dies.
Diseases of birds
Chickens of the Ameraucana breed from birth are distinguished by persistent immunity to common viral and infectious diseases. Birds of this species are mainly infected with parasites. Therefore, it is important to organize the chicken coop so that pathogenic microorganisms do not penetrate inside.