When it comes to the rare Araucana breed, telling the difference between a hen and a rooster requires a trained eye.
Luckily, a few physical characteristics help you distinguish between them.
Araucana roosters have longer and pointier feathers than hens, and their combs and wattles are darker and larger. Roosters will also be bigger, with a more aggressive temperament than the hens.
Keep reading to learn more about these eye-catching chickens, how to tell the difference between hens and roosters, and how to tell them apart from the similar Amauracana breed.
Differences Between Araucana Hens and Roosters
Even though it is notoriously hard to tell the difference between hens and roosters of this breed, there are a few small differences.
If you know what you are looking for, you will be able to tell them apart.
The easiest method is to feather sex your chickens once they reach 3 months of age, which is when they develop their mature feathers.
Chickens have three types of feathers: hackles, saddles, and sickles.
- Hackle feathers cover the neck area of the chicken. Roosters’ hackles are longer and more pointed, while hens’ hackles are shorter and rounder.
- Saddle feathers cover the back, with the ends pointing toward the chicken’s tail. Once again, roosters’ saddles will be longer than on the hens.
- Sickles are the tail feathers. Roosters’ tail feathers are also longer, although Araucanas recognized by the APA are rumpless birds, meaning they do not have tails.
Combs and Wattles
Combs are the flesh sticking up on top of a chicken’s head, and wattles hang from the bottom of the chin.
The combs and wattles on a rooster will be darker than on a hen.
Pea combs typically develop on chicks around 3 weeks, but they start as yellowish instead of the deep red they later become.
A cockerel, or young rooster, will develop these slightly faster than a hen.
The roosters will also have larger combs on average.
For many bird species, the males are bigger than the females.
This is also true for Araucana chickens.
Roosters are a larger size and weigh more than hens.
- Standard rooster: 2.7 – 3.2 kg
- Standard hen: 2.2 – 2.7 kg
- Bantam rooster: 740 – 850 g
- Bantam hen: 680 – 790 g
Roosters are typically taller than hens.
Once again, a flock of Araucana chickens follow the same behavior divide seen in other breeds of chickens.
The roosters are more likely to be aggressive or territorial when compared to the more docile hens.
Araucana vs Amauracana Breed Standards
Now that we’ve covered how to tell the differences between Araucana roosters and hens, these apply to any breed in your chicken coop.
But there is also some confusion regarding differentiating between Araucana chickens and the very-similar Amauracanas.
This chicken breed dates back to the 1930s, but they officially date back to 1976, when they were first recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA). A true Araucana has yellow skin, no tails, no muffs, and no bears.
Some of these chickens have ear tufts.
This means feathers grow from below the ear, which looks a bit like a scarf.
There are five recognized colors:
- Black Breasted Red
- Golden Duckwing
- Silver Duckwing
This rare breed looks similar to Amauracanas, which were bred from Araucanas.
Part of the rarity is due to the lethal tufted gene.
When a chick inherits one copy of the tufted gene, there are no issues.
However, a chick with two copies will experience an almost 100% mortality rate.
Breeding a tufted hen to a tufted rooster will result in a quarter of the chicks dying, usually before hatching, because they received two copies of the gene.
Another quarter will receive zero copies and therefore have no tufts.
The last half of the chicks will have one copy of the gene, so they will have tufts but still live.
While the APA did not recognize this breed until 1984, they go back to 1960 and potentially earlier.
This breed was bred from different strains of the Araucana, which is why they are sometimes confused.
However, they have some notable differences.
They have white skin instead of yellow, full tails, muffs, bears, no ear tufts, and dark legs.
They also have different recognized colors:
- Blue Wheaten
- Brown Red
When buying Amauracana or Araucana chickens, go through a reputable breeder.
Some breeders sell knock-off chickens of these rarer breeds.
For example, watch out for ones labeled Americana roosters instead of Amauracana.
For the most part, this breed of chicken is friendly and docile.
Those who own them say they are great for kids and enjoy being handled.
Of course, different birds have different personalities, so some are more flighty or nervous.
Overall, though, they are known for their friendliness.
Hens tend to go broody, so they will get more aggressive during this time.
Related Reading: Araucana Chicken Broodiness Guide
They make great mothers, so they’re great for breeding.
However, remember the challenge of dead eggs and chicks if you breed two tufted chickens together.
Further Reading: Eggs and the Araucana breed
As curious and active chickens, they do well as free-range chickens.
Unlike other unaware breeds, they’re good at spotting predators and staying safe.
If they tend to wander into your neighbor’s yard or other areas they are not wanted, add a fence to keep them in the right yard.
They are also rather cold-hardy, which is great since they do not like being cooped up 24/7.
As a breed originating in a warmer climate, they can tolerate the heat.
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