Welcome to “Awesome Araucana Chicken Hatchery”, 2015 Recap.
Another banner year with some real advances for the Tail-less Tufted Mapuche Araucana Chicken World. Much was experienced at the academic level of Veterinary Medicine regarding Poultry history, behavior, genetics and avian disease with PHD professors from several Universities contributing in a medical classroom/Seminar event held at Western University of Health Sciences in conjunction with California NPIP and Western University College of Veterinary Medicine. Thank you Dr. Saggese of Western University, Dr. Blatchford with University of California at Davis, and Monica of California NPIP for this opportunity August 22, 2015. This meeting was very involved and was extended for two hours past the scheduled 3 pm ending time. With all speakers, medical students and participants eager to voluntarily stay to participate. Reinforcement of poultry history and the Roman’s two thousand years of Chicken selective breeding types and two thousand years since have yielded a predictable set of traits seen in the different types of modern European chickens. Specific purpose chickens were the goal with predictable outcomes for production of meat, eggs, Rooster fighting or another purpose and generally not mixed in Roman times. They have high fertility rates and tend to have commercial value. These limited genetic possibilities types are having some problems in modern times. Many chickens now are results of antibiotic assisted gene pools with limited diversity that can contribute to inadequate immune systems over time. These factors contribute to epidemics now being transferred to poultry from wild birds and is having devastating effects on poultry kept confined in large numbers.
South American Mapuche Race chickens that produce modern tail-less tufted blue egg laying chickens that we now call Araucanas in the U.S.A. are very different. Although many are Hybrid with Mapuche race chickens, Mapuche have many differences. The Mapuche race chickens have the genetic diversity to produce the spectrum of possible outcomes that are needed to sustain a species with beneficial combinations and mutations. The lower fertility rates with known lethal factors also have unknown unique lethal factors due to missing anatomy. This variation is just what nature loves to provide a set of possible outcomes that will have the traits that will assist them in surviving on our Planet. Mapuche chickens were the survivors of island to island travel over long distances of migrating Polynesians. Mapuche have those traits; they fly extremely well, they have good instincts, they have not had their jungle environment replaced with cages for thousands of years. They have not been bred for feather color. They have egg variability in size and appearance. Big birds lay small eggs and small birds can lay big eggs giving the meat bird and egg producing birds a different natural mix for the future. Their feathers tend to be stronger than European types. Mapuche have resisted all attempts to determine the sex of day old chicks by sexing them as chicks for commercial purposes. A related Mapuche hybrid that is commercially provided from Hatcheries in the U.S. is Americauna blue or green egg laying chickens. European Hybrids have increased fertility but offer an even more diverse genetic background that will have many generations of unpredictability and further dilution of Mapuche traits.
Now the “GOOD NEWS”, Science is now investigating the blue egg laying chickens unique abilities. Last week I provide a Northern California State University with 25 dozen eggs for research purposes. I have never vaccinated or medicated for over 42 Years so their immune system is good, once they get here. My fertility rates on shipped eggs from feedback is accurate, honest and consistently low at 25%. Most are tail-less and with un-trimmed vent feathers contributing to lower fertility as well. They have many Mapuche traits and have not been diluted with European chicken strains. They still look and act like the South American/Polynesian types. When they do have a tail (Ketro), their tail is long and flat not short and stubby like many Roman/European types. They have a size variation with some Roosters weighing over 8 pounds and are very meaty, others are smaller. I still maintain my flocks with pure Mapuche Race traits including Ketros (Tailed) and tail-less types with a 90% bluish egg production over all. There are many reasons to keep a Mapuche Araucana type pure and see what they can accomplish without hybridization for color, fertility or personal project with another chicken type. I see new things with every year of hatching and some combinations occur once every 20 or 30 years. I see no end to their abilities. My Mapuche strain will be kept separate from the Black Tail-less, Tufted, blue egg laying American Hybrid show stock that I offer until I can get some true Mapuche Black stock, I will continue to offer these with notification. If you happen to get black birds from me, please notice their obvious differences with Mapuche for yourself. The Blacks have a higher fertility rate because of their softer feathers and European chicken hybridization, but I get a much lower rate of quality outcomes in those chicks.
The “BAD NEWS”, a sad fertility rate on shipped eggs was usually between 10 and 25% with a tufted rate of 25%. Many reasons for this are possible. I ship fresh eggs that may be more fragile, a 50% air sac separation was reported by a reliable source from shipped eggs. At least one parent has large double tufts in each flock with that added lethal factor. Then add tail-less lethal factors from missing anatomy. Shipping trauma could be devastating and a disappointing non-hatch was reported 4 times this year with 24 egg minimum settings. Good Mapuche stock produces 25% tail-less tufted chicks, Hybrids do even not come close, and you are left with hybrids and years of poor quality percentages. You may prefer hybrids or have a project in mind; however, I think you are better off keeping some pure Mapuche as foundation for the future. My goal is to get two or three chicks from shipping enough eggs per order to get people started. In-breeding is not a problem, these birds are genetically diverse and not like European stock in this respect with restricted commercialized genetic traits. I have been mixing colors, and putting the best with the best for 43 years now. I am amazed with every hatch.
Looking forward to some changes for 2016 season and a nice photo publication is in the works. Enjoy our Planet. Thank you for your interest in these birds. Please, let me know if I can help.
( :>) Edd Sheppard