Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder)
Posted Jan 22, 2015
This summer a fisher decimated my flock of chickens at the height of laying season. This led me to go shopping for new hens, ideally ones already of laying age. I find most of my adult birds through on-line ads posted by local farmers, and eventually found someone nearby with a selection of heritage hens for sale.
Two of the birds on his farm were white Araucanas. I had never seen this breed before and was immediately amused by their tufted cheeks and lack of tail. A funny looking little bird, I thought they would be a fun addition to my flock!
I should mention that my goal with my chickens is to have a wide variety of heritage breeds who produce a variety of different coloured eggs. I look for hardiness, healthiness and an ability to forage well for their own food and also to survive tough winters.
These funny little birds certainly met my criteria with respect to adding diversity to the look of my flock. However I am not finding them to be the most clever foragers. Within two days, one of them had wandered into the woods and gotten herself eaten! The remaining bird sticks closer to the coop and so far has survived.
She is the first hen to greet me every day and will fly up and land on my arm as I carry their bowl of food into the coop. She is relatively calm and seems quite fearless of humans. I can easily pick her up as she runs about. This is not the case for my other birds.
While I enjoy the easy handling of this hen, I think her relatively calm and trusting nature is why her sister was gobbled up shortly after arrival. As such, if you are considering this breed, think about your set-up. If you let your birds free-range like I do, it might not be the best choice. I don't think I'll be buying many more of them as feeding the local wildlife is not part of my agenda!
That said, they are a very pretty, fun and personable bird, and if you are looking for chickens who want to interact with humans, or be pets, this might be a good choice for you.