The Ameraucana has a distinct appearance with a fluffy beard and muff feathers on their face.
Ameraucanas are prized in backyard chicken flocks and hatcheries because of the color of their eggs.
Some chicken breeds start laying eggs in as little as 4 to 5 months, but when will your Ameraucana lay her first egg?
The Ameraucana is slower to mature than other egg-laying chicken breeds, and it will usually take between 6 to 10 months for the hen to lay her first egg. The timeframe for when an Ameraucana begins egg production varies according to where the hen was raised, her diet, and the weather.
Providing your Ameraucana with a healthy diet and ideal environmental conditions will encourage her to lay eggs.
Egg production typically decreases in the winter when there is less sunlight, but the hen will keep laying if she is exposed to artificial light.
Read on to learn more about when Ameraucanas start laying eggs and how many of them to expect from your hen.
How Long Does It Take Ameraucanas to Lay?
For all egg-laying hens, egg production depends on the amount of light a chicken receives every day.
When a hen is exposed to sunlight and warmth, these conditions trigger egg production to begin.
Eggs may begin forming as soon as 30 minutes after the last egg was laid, but the process could start much later than this.
It may take up to 26 hours for an egg to completely develop.
This development time means a hen is only able to lay one egg per day.
There will also be days when the chicken does not lay an egg.
As the hen begins to lay her egg later each day, there will be less sunlight to stimulate egg production.
Egg production also varies according to the age of the hen.
Young hens tend to lay more eggs in their first 1-2 years, and egg production gradually slows down as the bird gets older.
Ameraucanas are not very broody chickens, and their egg production is very moderate.
The Ameraucana was not bred for egg production, and its small body does not produce a lot of meat.
However, Ameraucana chickens are very sought-after due to the color of their eggs.
At What Age Do Ameraucanas Lay Eggs?
The age when Ameraucana chickens lay eggs varies depending on how they were raised.
Hatchery birds start laying eggs at around 20-24 weeks of age.
However, Ameraucana hens raised by small breeders who are not relying on the birds for egg production may not start laying eggs until they are 10 to 12 months old.
The average age when most chicken breeds start laying eggs is 18-20 weeks.
Related: How can you tell how old a chicken is?
If a hen reaches maturity during the late fall or early winter months, she will usually not start laying eggs until warmer weather in the spring months.
This delay in egg laying is because birds need sunlight to begin egg development, and there is less daylight in the fall and winter.
Ameraucanas are more tolerant of cold weather than some chicken breeds, and they have been known to lay eggs in the winter.
Further reading: How cold can baby chickens tolerate?
How Often Do Ameraucanas Lay Eggs?
Ameraucanas lay an average of 3 to 6 eggs per week.
This means the hens are laying an egg every one or two days.
An Ameraucana hen may lay between 250 to 300 eggs each year when she first starts laying.
After a couple of years, egg-laying begins to taper, and the Ameraucana will lay 3-4 eggs per week, which is closer to 200 eggs per year.
Consistent laying depends a lot on the chicken’s environment and diet.
A high-quality layer feed with extra calcium and at least 16% protein is recommended for the best egg-laying results.
Not providing a good diet or allowing your hens to free-range for food will result in fewer eggs laid because of the lack of nutrients.
Related Reading: What Do Ameraucanas Eat?
Extreme stress may cause a hen to stop laying eggs entirely.
Once the egg is laid, it may take up to two days to hatch, depending on the hen’s broodiness.
Hatchery birds raised for egg production tend to be less broody than a bird raised by a breeder.
While most Ameraucana hens are not particularly broody, they become very attentive mothers when they are.
As they age, their egg production will drop off. It’s at this point many farmers will process the bird for meat.
Further Reading: Eating the Ameraucana Chicken
What Color Eggs Do Ameraucanas Lay?
Aside from their fluffy beard and muff feathers, a unique feature of Ameraucanas is the color of their eggs.
Check out other chicken breeds with crazy hair.
Ameraucanas are one of the few breeds of chickens laying blue eggs.
The egg color is usually a pale blue, but there may be a slight greenish tint.
Ameraucanas will always lay blue eggs as long as they are purebred.
Other egg colors mean your Ameaucana hen has been mixed with another chicken breed.
People once thought blue eggs were more nutritious, but they contain the same amount of protein and other nutrients as any other egg color.
There is also no discernable difference in taste between a blue egg and a white one.
DNA determines chicken egg color, and it has no impact on the flavor or nutritional value of the egg.
Ameraucanas release oocyanin pigment onto developing eggshells, which gives them their blue color.
A diet including zinc, copper, calcium, and manganese will give the eggshells a deeper color.
The amount of nutrients a hen receives also affects the egg yolk color.
Stressed or undernourished hens will have eggs with a paler blue coloring and pale yellow yolks.
Some backyard chicken keepers say you will be able to tell the color of a hen’s eggs by looking at the color of their earlobes, but this is not always true.
While hens with blue ear lobes lay blue eggs, so do Ameraucanas, and their earlobes are red.
Amaeraucanas also make our list of classic white chicken breeds.
Are Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers the Same?
Ameraucanas and Easter Eggers are closely related, but they are different.
Easter Eggers are hybrids, and they are not formally recognized as a breed of chicken.
Blue egg-laying Ameraucana or Araucana hens are bred with a brown egg layer like a Rhode Island Red to create Easter Eggers.
Since only one parent has the gene for laying blue eggs, Easter Eggers can produce a variety of egg colors, such as:
If you purchased an Ameraucana only to discover multiple colors of eggs in the nesting box, you have an Easter Egger.
This rainbow of egg colors is what gives the Easter Egger its name.
Easter Eggers share many of the same physical traits as Ameraucanas, but there are usually slight differences in appearance.
Breeding two Easter Eggers together produces unpredictable traits, making each one in a flock unique.
The one thing Ameraucanas share with Easter Eggers is their increased risk of being cross beaked.
A cross beak is a deformity where the upper beak grows sideways and does not line up with the lower beak.
If the cross beak is severe, the chicken will not be able to close its mouth or peck for food properly.
You will need to feed a chicken with a crossed beak through a syringe if they cannot feed themselves.
What Is The Difference Between the Ameraucana and the Araucana?
The difference between Ameraucanas and Araucanas becomes confusing because some countries, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, consider both breeds to be the same.
While both breeds will lay only blue eggs, their similarities end there.
One key difference separating the Ameraucana from the Araucana is the absence of the tufting gene.
The Araucana chicken has the tufting gene, which causes them to have tufts of feathers protruding straight out from each side of its face near the ears.
This tufting gene also presents a genetic abnormality, which proves fatal for the developing chicks if the gene is inherited from both parents.
Because of this gene, Araucanas have a lot of difficulties producing viable eggs and hatching live chicks.
As a result, Araucanas are less broody and produce fewer eggs than Ameraucanas.
Araucanas are rarer because almost one-quarter of the eggs do not hatch.
Ameraucanas lack this tufting gene, and they have muffs and a beard of feathers on their face instead.
The excess feathers give the Ameraucana’s face a chubby appearance, especially when compared to the Araucana.
The American Poultry Association recognized the Araucana chicken breed in 1976, but the Ameraucana was not formally recognized until 1984.
Araucanas are native to South America, and they are not very tolerant of colder temperatures compared to the Ameraucana.
Ameraucana chickens have smaller pea combs and wattles, making them less susceptible to frostbite.
Araucanas do not have tail feathers, known as rumpless, while Ameraucanas have a full tail.
How Do You Know When Your Ameraucana Is About to Lay Eggs?
Ameraucanas typically start laying eggs within the first year you own them unless they reach maturity during the darker winter months.
When your hen lays eggs also depends on its environment and diet.
There are several signs to look for if you are curious about whether or not your Ameraucana hen is about to lay some eggs.
Enlarged Comb and Wattles
The pea comb and wattles develop more slowly on a female chicken than on a male.
When an Ameraucana hen is nearing maturity, hormone changes will cause her pea comb and wattle to grow larger.
The hen’s pea comb and wattle, along with the area around her eyes, will also become a deeper shade of red.
If this transition happens when the animal is less than eight weeks old, the bird is a rooster and not a hen.
The Hen Explores the Nesting Area
When your Ameraucana hen is about to lay eggs soon, she will show more interest in the nesting area.
The hen may even start sitting in the nesting area for brief periods before she intends to lay her eggs.
To encourage your hen to lay her eggs in the nesting box instead of the bare floor of the chicken house, you may place small fake eggs in the nesting area.
Hens are more likely to lay eggs in a clutch where other eggs are.
The Hen Gets Louder
Your Ameraucana may also become more vocal as she gets closer to laying her eggs.
While hens are usually considered quiet, they are known to squawk and sing more in the hours before and after laying their eggs.
If your hen seems noisier than usual, you may want to check the nesting area.
The Hen Eats More
Another sign your Ameraucana may be ready to lay eggs is an increase in her appetite.
Laying hens have different dietary requirements than younger chicks.
Young birds are fed a chick starter food high in protein to help them grow.
Hens are fed a diet of layer feed, and it has less protein but more calcium.
Calcium is essential in egg development because it helps the eggshells form properly.
It is recommended to switch your hen to a layer feed when she is 18 weeks old or sooner if she has laid her first egg.
The Hen Keeps Squatting
If your Ameraucana hen starts squatting more often when you approach her, this is a sign she is getting ready to lay her eggs.
The hen will usually squat with her wings spread out to signal she is available to mate with a rooster.
She does this out of instinct because she wants her eggs to be fertilized.
If there is not a rooster for the hen to mate with, she may display this behavior towards you.
Not every hen will have this squatting behavior, but if yours does, you may expect to see eggs in the nesting area within a couple of weeks.
Is Egg Laying Painful for the Ameraucana Hen?
Chickens seem to feel pain when laying eggs, but it is difficult to determine its severity.
As long as there are no complications, the actual egg-laying process does not last long.
There are some concerns with larger eggs causing the hen more pain, but it is hard to gauge once again.
Ameraucana hens typically lay smaller eggs, so it is believed the pain of laying them is not too severe.
Does the Weather Affect Egg Laying?
Outdoor temperatures and sunlight significantly affect a hen’s egg production.
Ameraucana hens are more tolerant of hot and cold temperatures than other chicken breeds.
The ideal ambient temperature for a hen to lay her eggs is between 50-80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C).
Temperatures well above or below this range will cause your Ameraucana hen to lay fewer eggs.
Hens will typically lay her eggs within a few hours of being exposed to sunlight.
When there is less sunlight n the winter months, your hen will decrease egg production or stop laying entirely.
The hen will keep laying in the winter if there is adequate light and warmth.
A cloudy or rainy day may also cause your Ameraucana to lay fewer eggs if there is insufficient sunlight.