I have these Chilean chickens who lay blue eggs. Now we have genetic proof the native chickens of Peru which are the only ones to lay eggs that aren't white or brown, are unique in many ways! I love these Araucanas chickens because they are very friendly and easy to handle. Many of my hens will squat down for me to pick them up. I wonder about their genetic history now that we know that chickens came over to South America from across the Pacific rather than from Europe.
A chicken bone has provided anthropologists with the strongest evidence yet to suggest that Polynesians sailed to South America before the discovery of the New World by Europeans.
The possibility that Polynesians had direct contact with the indigenous people of South America has long intrigued experts on ancient human migrations, but hard evidence has been difficult to come by. However, a study by scientists from New Zealand and Chile has now shown that chickens may have been introduced into South America by Polynesians sailing from the west rather than Europeans coming from the east.
Chicken bones excavated from an archaeological site in central Chile have been analysed by carbon dating and by DNA profiling. One of the bones was dated to more than 100 years before the first Europeans arrived in South America and its DNA shows a strong correlation with the DNA of present-day chickens living on the inhabited islands of the Pacific Ocean.
I suspect many of the natives of California and Baja also came across the Pacific Ocean via boats. After all, these superb navigators and sailors colonized every possible island in the Pacific! If they could reach Hawaii and Easter Island then they could also reach North and South America. A recent story about the possibility that a major comet blast over North America killed off much of the larger animals as well as most of the humans hunting them shows clearly that we still know virtually nothing about the long process of colonization of the New World.
When I saw the news about these ancient chicken bones I sat up and exclaimed, 'That explains everything about my chickens!' Namely, they are the sweetest of all chicken breeds. They never peck at any humans, they are extremely tame and allow me to pick them up off the ground when they are running free, for example. Their eggs are totally different from other domestic chickens which means they probably are a mutation that was genetically isolated for a long time.
The "Easter Egg Chicken", This unusual breed gets its name from the Indian tribe of Chile where they were first discovered. Araucanas lay beautiful colored eggs of blue-green shades from turquoise to deep olive. These natural Easter Eggs will amaze your friends and make a great "show and tell" project for school. Adults are of medium size with pea combs and our breeding stock is selected for their ability to produce colored eggs. They exhibit a wonderful combination of colors and color patterns and 10 or 20 of these birds make an absolutely beautiful laying flock that is extremely hardy and will be the talk of the town.
If you click on the McMurray web page, do read the comments of happy hen owners. They all exclaim how friendly these chickens are. Rhode Island Reds, for example, have nasty tempers and will attack anyone collecting their eggs so you have to bribe them to leave the nest or be fast with the egg removal process. But with the Araucanas, even a small child can reach right under the hen who will even move over to make it easier, collecting their marvelous blue and green eggs.
I used to have Jungle Fowls from Asia which were throwbacks to 5,000 years ago and they look very much like these Chilean chickens. The golden/brown/buff feathers, tuffs of feathers on the cheeks and small combs are very similar. The chicks look like fluffy, tiny chipmunks with their stripes and fat little cheeks.
The news that these marvelous, singular birds, came over on canoes all the way over from Sumatra to South America makes me wonder: did this vast journey in tiny boats shape the genes of these birds? Namely, did the unfriendly ones or uncooperative ones die or were eaten? So only the most serene, friendly birds survived?
I once had a fire in the incubator of a hatching of Araucanas and only one chick survived. I put her in my pocket and carried her around while I took care of things. As this hen grew up, she had a lopsided hunched back due to injuries from that fire. So I kept her with me, she being rather helpless.
Well, she was super-friendly as her breed always is! And she rode on my shoulder even when I was driving the truck around the property. I would take her to schools to meet children who she let pet her and play with her. When Mo Udall was running for President many years ago, he had her ride on his shoulder when giving a speech in Tucson.
I had a long fight with the city over tearing down my house and gardens and paving them over for a parking lot. At one point, an officer tried to ticket me, claiming my Araucanas were 'noisy.' Trucks were roaring by and military jets were screaming overhead. I said, 'See you in court'. And we recorded the noises and took this to court. Along with Hunchback Hen. Who sat in on the proceedings.
She won her case, of course.
These chickens obviously evolved in such a fashion, due to their long journey across the world's mightiest ocean, that they make ideal pets and a source of good, healthy, colorful eggs. They are good in cities as well as in the country and are my favorite breed of chicken. And I must thank the Polynesians who created this sweet bird.