Araucanas were developed from chickens imported in the early 1930s from Chile and named after Indians living that country’s Gulf of Arauco. Distinguishing features of Auracanas include a pea comb, eggs with pale blue shells, the lack of a tailbone, and spectacular ear tufts. Five color varieties have been standardized: black, black breasted red, golden duckwing, silver duckwing, and white. The Araucana standard calls for bilateral tufting — a single clump of feathers on each side of the neck that match in size, shape, and symmetry. However, tufts don’t always match, or more than one tuft may occur on a side, or a tuft grows on one side only. Further, the tufted trait is associated with a lethal gene that, if inherited from both parents, causes chicks to develop deformities and die in the shell during incubation. As an additional complication, the rumpless feature interferes with fertility, because one of the functions of a chicken’s tail is to pull feathers away from the vent during mating. Rumpless chickens bred for generations tend to gradually develop shorter backs until they can no longer breed naturally. Because of the Araucana’s poor hatch rate and the difficulty of breeding them with ideal standard conformation, this breed is extremely rare. Cackle Hatchery® offered Araucanas for 4 years, from 2012-2016, but discontinued them because we knew our customers would not be satisfied. For more information about Araucanas visit the Araucana Club of America. If you are looking for chickens that lay eggs with blue shells, consider the Ameraucana, a breed related to the Araucana. Its name was derived by combining the words American and Araucana. Ameraucanas differ from Araucanas in having a tail (giving them a higher fertility rate) and lacking tufts (so they have no lethal gene). Instead of tufts, the attractive Ameraucana sports a well developed beard and muffs.