Besides good Araucana body
type there are four aspects that to me, define the breed. . .
1) Tufting is dominant - but it is very strongly influenced by a
number of undocumented modifying genes. I have bred certain tufted
birds to certain non-tufted birds and instead of the chicks being 50/50
I have had some birds that NEVER produced a single tufted chick out of
possibly 100 eggs set. If you buy birds it is important to stick
with Araucana breeders who are very conscientious about maintaining
tufting in their flocks. Any bird that 'carries tufting'
and does not express it would be the worst possible bird you would want
as a breeder.
2) Rumplessness is dominant. The reason you will see tailed
and partial tailed chicks in you hatches is because the gene that causes
tails is actually recessive, and recessive genes can float around in
your flock and recombine to produce tails for years down the line.
This is one reason I use only rumpless birds as breeders. I don't
often get tailed chicks but it still does happen - sometimes as much as
10% of each hatch.
3) Blue Egg is dominant. A chicken can only produce either
a blue (teal actually) or white egg shell. It will be that color
through the entire shell. All other variations on egg shell color,
as in green, brown, dark brown, etc. are produced by a brown coating on
the outside of the shell. All Araucana do not lay perfectly blue
eggs, they will range in shade form olive green to almost white.
The GOAL is to have all nice clear "teal' blue eggs in your flock.
But it should not be the only thing you are breeding for. If
egg color is your only concern you are better off breeding Easter Eggers
or Ameraucana - egg color is just a part of the overall Araucana
4) Pea Comb is dominant. Single comb genes are rampant in
the Araucana breed. Not only due to the fact that they are
recessive, and so can hide for generations, but also due to outcrosses
to other breeds, which may be accidental but most likely are done to
improve an existing color variety, create a new color variety, or simply
to increase breed vigor, hatch-ability, etc. The problem with the
pea comb gene and the single comb gene is the pea comb linkage with the
Blue Egg gene. The two genes are located in close proximity to
each other of the chromosome and are most times inherited together as a
package deal. This is called gene linkage. And if you have
single comb genes in your flock they are most likely linked with the
"white" egg gene. If the blue egg gene recombines
with the single comb gene, or the pea comb gene recombines with the
white egg gene, you can have a single combed quasi-Araucana laying a
blue egg (RARE). Or you can have pea-combed Araucana laying a
white (tinted or brown . . . but non-blue/green egg). It may be
much more likely that if you end up with one of your Araucana with a pea
comb that lays a white, tinted or brown egg, that somewhere in the past
there has been an infusion of blood form a breed that lays a white or
tinted egg and has a pea comb.. . Breeds such as the Cornish,
Sumatra, etc. lay a white - brown egg and have a pea comb).
I assume you all ready have plenty of general poultry knowledge before
tackling this very complex breed, but here are five excellent books that
will help you successfully breed Araucana:
The American Poultry Associations, Standard of Perfection
The American Bantam Associations, Bantam Standard
Cathy Brunson's, Araucanas 'Rings In Their Ears'.
Brian Reeder's, An Introduction to Color Forms of the Domestic
Brian Reeder's, An Introduction to Form and Feathering of the