An Ameraucana hen versus a rooster discussion is a microcosm of the larger world of chickens. In fact, according to the American Poultry Association, there are 53 recognized breeds of chicken today, not counting the Bantam breeds. While chickens aren’t up there with dogs and cats yet, it’s simply a matter of time.
Ameraucanas are descendants of the Arcauna breed and are famous for their colorful eggs. Easter Eggers and Olive Eggers are both hybrid breeds that include Ameraucanas in their bloodlines as well. Ameraucanas are also known for their incredible plumage, whether it’s a hen or a rooster.
While the distinguishing features between Ameraucana hens and roosters are pretty obvious at adult age levels, it’s not always quite so clear when they are younger. If you’re looking for distinguishing characteristics between the two, you’ve come to the right place!
The first, telltale signs show up at a very young age but, even then, it’s very difficult to tell for certain. The best way to tell the difference is by vent sexing and even then, it requires experience. Veterans at sexing baby chicks are generally successful but not in 10% of cases.
The best period for sexing Ameraucanas is between 6 weeks and 8 weeks of age. It’s not the most preferable method for sexing a chicken but it works a good deal of the time. A rooster will develop very small, rudimentary sex organs starting in the 6 to 8-week timeframe.
Flipping a chicken over and observing its “vent” as it poops, will oftentimes reveal these tiny sex organs in males.
Ameraucana Hen Versus Rooster: Age and Development
Ameraucanas grow fairly quickly, and you will notice when their feathers start to come in and when they develop individual personalities far quicker than you think (if this is your first go-round). However, don’t be impatient. After all, a watched pot never boils.
Vent Sexing at 6 – 8 weeks
Without vent sexing, there are other, very subtle signs this early in an Ameraucana’s stage of development. Ameraucana roosters develop a comb and wattle, which is very small in this type of chicken but still turns the head and area beneath the beak red.
Since both are small in Ameraucanas, it’s very difficult to ascertain if a chick this age is indeed developing a comb and wattle. In other words, you might get luck but probably not. The best way, at this stage, is still vent sexing.
Feather Development 3 Months
Three months sounds like a long time but the Ameraucana hen versus rooster question begins to answer itself at this stage. The feathers tell the tale. The feathers that develop on the chickens at this point are far different than the downy fuzz you’ve seen to this point.
Hackle feathers develop along the chicken’s spine and they cluster around the neck. These feathers are much stronger and feature some of the coloration that this breed is known for. Rooster’s hackle feathers will be slightly more narrow and lengthy than hen feathers.
It’s very hard to tell when they first reveal themselves but, given enough time, their growth presents indicators. Eventually, the rooster will develop hackle feathers that extend beyond the tail, otherwise known as saddle feathers. Hen’s saddle feathers are shorter. Roosters are also likely to make their first attempts at crowing around 3 months.
The crow won’t be the well-known rooster call most people instantly recognize. At least not at first. However, you will recognize it for what it is.
You will tell the difference between hens and roosters before they reach adulthood so it’s only a matter of going over their differences at this point. Plus, you should congratulate yourself if you’re a first-time chicken owner. You’ve successfully made it through an entire development process and will be better able to tell the subtle differences earlier on.
- Ameraucana roosters are larger than their hen counterparts
- Their tails are much larger and sprout from their hindquarters before flowing down
- Ameraucana roosters feature very distinguishing color markings from head to tail
- Roosters crow…a lot
- Roosters are far more aggressive and active throughout the day
- Your hens will start laying eggs and the rooster won’t
- Hens have much smaller combs and no wattles
- Rooster will have a much larger, bright red comb
The difference between Ameraucana hens and roosters, at this point in their life cycle, is so different you can’t help but distinguish them, even under less-than-ideal light. While the colorations on the rooster are well-defined and separate, an Ameraucana hen still has very beautiful colors, depending on the type of Ameraucana.
Some Ameraucanas are almost pure white or feature colorations that closely resemble an Easter Egger. In the presence of a rooster, hens will lay earlier in their development cycle by as much as a month. Once the rooster crows for the first time, expect to see eggs soon after.
Without a rooster, the hens will lay about a month later than they will with a rooster. Keep in mind, Ameraucana hens lay blue or green eggs, sometimes in between—an aquamarine color.
Ameraucana Hen Versus Rooster: Life Cycle
Ameraucana chickens (hens or roosters) live an average of 7 to 8 years. However, they can live longer if you take good care of them, keep up with their health, and ensure they have access to healthy food and water. Ameraucana roosters will reach between 6.5 and 7 lbs while the females are closer to 5 to 5.5 lbs.
Another thing that affects their age is their level of freedom. Ameraucanas are not the types of chickens that appreciate living in a pen. They are free-ranging chickens and prefer to move about as they please. Happy chickens lay excellent, healthy eggs and they also live longer.
As long as both are kept well, the rooster’s and hen’s life cycle is about the same.
Ameraucana Hen Versus Rooster: Colorations
The American Poultry Association recognizes several Ameraucana types, including silver, white, buff, black, blue, blue wheaten, brown-red, and wheaten. As you might imagine, the color that precedes the name “Ameraucana” is the dominating coloration in their plumage. However, it doesn’t mean it will be the only coloration.
For instance, white Ameraucanas are often almost pure white but can also feature grayish speckles throughout their plumage. Some of the other varieties strongly resemble Easter Eggers. If you have a flock of wheaten Ameraucanas mixed in with similar Easter Eggers, they’re often very difficult to tell apart.
The roosters are far more vividly colored, however, their colorations are often distinct, with each color pattern separate from the next. Hens are often more mixed with colors that play off of one another, especially when they are moving.
Final Thoughts on Differences Between Ameraucana Hens and Roosters
The Ameraucana hen versus rooster debate is far more difficult when they are very little. Given time, you may learn to tell the difference via vent sexing. Without that, you’ll have to wait until they develop their first feathers and observe how they grow.
Once they reach three months of age, it’s no longer a debate and you should easily be able to differentiate between the two. Either way, both rooster and hen Ameraucanas are beautiful chickens with stunning plumage and personalities to match.
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