(APA) Black Breasted Red Araucana

Too breed the APA BB Red Araucana (or any variety of Araucana) I feel that three books are absolutely essential.  One is the APA Standard of Perfection which gives you a complete physical description of not only the body type but also the color (variety) you are breeding for.  The second book would by Brian Reeder's "An Introduction To Color Forms Of The Domestic Fowl" which gives you genetic information  and a physical description of each color. The third is Bantam Chickens by Fred P. Jeffrey. 

The Araucana breed did not have to qualify each color for expectance as all other breeds did when they were/are recognized by the American Poultry Association.  They were assigned 5 colors/varieties and the breeders at that time were left to eventually meet those standard colors with their breeding programs.  One of those varieties "Black Breasted Red" was to be identical to the same color as BB Red in the Cubalaya chicken, which is genetically, dark red wheaten in the female Araucana.   I have been pursuing this color for a number of years now, and I know of a  and a couple of other Araucana breeders  who are also working hard on it.  I believe that this is probably the first  group of Large Fowl Araucana BB Red pullets ever shown in this number that are even close to having correct BB Red color.  They  were shown Saturday, March 23, 2013, at the Magnolia Classic Poultry Show in Leesville, Louisiana.

Pictured is 'Will Wheaten' #171 (my husband named him) and it is not a great photo. He is molting, underweight, and just a bit miserable, but you can get an ideal of his color in comparison to the written APA standard.  This guy was the sire of the majority of my good BB Red Araucana chicks that I will be showing in the Spring of 2013.  He was an outstanding sire.  See pix of a couple of his young sons below.

Brian Reeder's genotype for the APA BB Red Araucana is : 
eWh/eWh s+/s+ Ap/Ap Mh/Mh Ml/Ml (see pages 3, 9-10,14, 20,21, 36,  50 of his book "An Introduction To Color Forms Of The Domestic Fowl . . .". 

The APA description of the Black Breasted Red Araucana can be found on page 199 of the 2010 APA Standard of Perfection.  With a description of the color being the same as the BB Red Cubalaya found on page 188 of the same book (and a color illustration on page 207) . . .Male: head, neck, and hackle, "Reddish Chestnut . . . gradually shading to bright golden at lower part "(of hackle).  This would be the IDEAL hackle color for the BB Red Araucana male bird.  To achieve it, all genes as show above, would probably have to be homozygous.

Pictured above are 3 Black Breasted Red Araucana pullets.  The two toward the right are currently in my wheaten breeding pen.  Notice their coloration is like a BB Red Cubalaya instead of the wild type (e+) BB Red hen that you would see in the Light Brown Leghorn or the ABA bantam form of Araucana.

To the left, typical solid yellow BB Red Araucana chick down (newly hatched).  Photo to the right: 2 week-old Araucana chick with typical BB Red juvenile feather growing in on wings.

8 week old BB Red Araucana Cockerel sired by "Will" (at top of page).


7 week old BB Red Araucana Cockerel sired by "Will" (at top of page).

I would like to make the following observations about my 'dark red wheatens' (APA BB Red) . . .  1) This is one of the rarest colors to find in the Araucana.   2) It is an approved APA variety (not an AOV) which means these birds are eligible to compete not only for Best of Variety and Best of Breed, but also Champion AOSB, and upwards.   3) My dark red wheatens are usually excellent type birds with size, good wing carriage, and nice combs.   4)After many years of selective breeding and stringent culling I am getting approx. 50% chicks with double tufts (which is RARE in the world of Araucana). If you use one of my wheaten cockerels or pullets on any other color in your flock they will be improving your tufting genetics substantially. And good tufting is the most complex of all the Araucana traits to breed for.

New Photos ~ 11/24/2012

Sold Sold to Diana Engelbart, West Bolyston, MA. (11/25/2012)  Good luck with her at the Congress in 2013!

Genetically, the Araucana should be the  'dark red wheaten' (Ewh) based version of BB Red.    Per the 2012 APA Standard Of Perfection, the Black Breasted Red Araucana should be the same color as described for the Black Breasted Red Cubalaya, in both large fowl & bantam.

The primary color differences between the various types of BB Red in the general chicken population will be with the hen's coloration.  There are only minor differences between the BB Red coloration of the male Black Breasted Red birds.

APA Recognizes five varieties of Araucana: Black, White, BB Red, Silver Duckwing and Golden Duckwing.  The wild type BB Red hens, although not correctly colored for showing as an APA BB Red are still useful as breeders if you are working on Golden and Silver Duckwing since both are 'e+' based colors.


Pertinent quotes from Brian Reeder's Book on the specific genes in the "Dark Red Wheaten" genotype.

eWh (Wheaten):
"It seems to be an extension of pheomelanin and a reduction of eumelanin, especially in the female. . . .The chick down of Ewh tends to be solid white or yellow . . ."

S (Sex Linked Silver): "S is a dominant allelle, whose alternate is s+ (red/orange/gold - wild type)".

Ap (Autosomal Pheolmelanin):  "This form of pheomelanin is not on the s-allele and  is not effected by Silver" (S) . . .Ap is a dominant gene . . .with incomplete dominance in the heterozygous state (Ap/ap+)"

Mh (Mahogany):
"This gene  intensifies red, turning it to a deep dark blood red . . ."

Ml (Melantoic): Ml is an autosomal dominant and shows variable penetration in the homozygous state . . .Ml has the strongest effect on the hackle featheringing in both sexes on the top of the head . . .ML does not seem to be very effective in eumelanizing the lower hackles."


"The  dark black breasted red is a dark wheaten and is found in the very old Asiatic Games  . . .and the  . . . Cubalaya which traces back to this breeds.  It is theorized that the dark black breasted red is the basic phenotype of recessive wheaten", Page 178, Bantam Chickens, Fred P. Jeffreys.


"Wheaten also becomes "recessive" in the presence of eumelanizers to both e+ and eb, while in the absence of eumelanizers it is dominant to these alleles. . .In many instances, eWh makes a lighter underfluff on adult birds, but tis is not a hard and fast rule, as eumelanization can produce darker underfluff on this allele.  Page 36, "Color Forms . . ." by Brian Reeder