Use : Egg layers
Egg numbers to be expected : - not great numbers these days - research from old papers in America suggests that 260 - 270 eggs per year has been achieved.
Egg colour : Blue and green although colour can range from a greyish or violet blue to a turquoise or greenish blue.
Known utility strains : George Malcolm - created the true breeding lavender, among other colours, in Scotland in the 1930s
From anecdotal evidence there were alot of these birds [and crosses of them] in the Hebrides; SHetland and Orkneys. They were reknowned layers in all weathers but seem to have been lost over teh last 30 years. If nay one has any even if they are not pure here at Kintaline we would certainly be interested to know
Skin colour :
Pin feathers :
Origin : Arauca Indians of Northern Chile - Blue and green eggs have been reported from South America from the mid-sixteenth century onwards.
Unique characteristics: Other than the unusual ear tufts and rumpless forms, the most interesting from a utility point of view is that the colour of the egg permeates throughout the shell of the egg so a blue egg will be blue inside the shell not white as other eggs are. This makes them a niche product for selling. A laying flock of Araucanas may not produce as many eggs but with good presentation and marketing the eggs could command a premium price. However to do this it is vital for the productivity to be imporved quite a lot generally. Around 180 - 200 would be a good aim - rare these days as far as I can find out - IF YOU KNOW DIFFERENT PLEASE GET IN TOUCH.
The araucana is a breed that has few utility birds left but because of the coloured eggs it produces and the renewed interest in the niche marketing of eggs, for example, at farmers markets, it is becoming more important to improve the productivity of the birds.
Not all Araucana's produce the blue eggs - some produce khaki and greeny eggs which although interesting are much less popular to customers in general.
There are breeders with good blue egg lines - some are Lavender; Black/Red; - however to be really sure you are getting true colour egg layers it may be better to hatch from eggs of the colour you like. Unfortunately to many breeders are not sufficently careful about their breeding and although their birds may lay, for example, good blue eggs - if the cockerel is not of the same type the resulting birds can be very variable. (At Kintaline we have had this problem - travelling hundreds of miles for recommended stock only to find that the birds laid eggs of all sorts instead of the requested blue.)
As the blue egg colour gene is dominant it may be possible to breed the best cockerels to a good eggy hen line of a white egg laying breed to create pullets for egg production. These should not be bred from - their quality comes from being a first cross - it is well known that the following generations are rarely as good and often produce very poor quality stock, which would be very damaging for the breed.
For both pure and hybrid production it is vital that the national foundation stock is improved.So if you know of any birds that produce more than 150 blue eggs a year each please get in touch. The cockerels from this stock could be very important.
There are a number of colours recognised by the breed society : Lavender, Blue, Black/Red, Silver Duckwing, Golden Duckwing, Blue/Red, Pyle, Crele, Spangled, Cuckoo, Black and White (links denote pictures)
Interesting crosses folk have done - Araucana hen x Barnevelder male = olive eggs
Although some say the blue is a dominant gene evidence that the brown egg gene combines with the blue egg gene to produce green, olive and khaki suggests that it may be more complex
The blue egg gene and closely linked (less than 5 m.u.) to the gene responsible for pea comb(also dominant)
5. Producing blue egg layers with single combs : cross leghorn hens (o+p+), (O represents the blue mutant, o+ signifies normal white), P - pea comb, p+ - single comb) with Araucana roosters 0P. All F1 hens should lay blue eggs and have pea combs,. Second, mate the F1 hens to Leghorn roosters. From the progeny select those pullets with pea combs as they should also lay blue eggs. When these pullets (Leghorn) begin to lay, cull any that lay white eggs (these will be few as they are crossovers). Third, continue this procedure for several generations, then mate hens with pea combs and that lay blue eggs to roosters with pea combs (nearly all of these will also carry the blue egg mutant). Through progeny testing of pea comb males that result from this mating, homozygous males can be located. They are progeny tested by matings to Leghorn hens. Homozygous males will produce only daughters laying blue eggs - test a set of 10 or more daughters per male. These males can then be used in the population to produce a homozygous stock of basically Leghorn ancestry and performance but laying blue eggs.
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This site is being created and maintained by
Jill Bowis of Kintaline Poultry and Waterfowl Centre, Benderloch, OBAN Argyll PA37 1QS Scotland
for the utility poultry breeders everywhere
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