The British Araucana Poultry Club was founded more than 35 years ago. The origins of the British Araucana go back at least a hundred years and mentions of blue egg laying chickens appear in the 1700s. The Araucana breed wasn’t officially named until the 1930s and prior to then, the breed was simply known as blue egg laying chickens. The precise historical moment of introduction to the British Isles is not known.
There is popular public acceptance to certain events such as guano and spice laden tall ships returning from South America, regularly running aground on the rough atlantic coast of the UK, spilling their wares as being the source. The chickens fortunate enough to survive the wrecks mostly ended up on the dinner table. The few remaining birds were smuggled away and were kept for egg production. It is believed that the decendents from these solitary survivors are breed that we have today.
There has been a huge amount of cross breeding with more modern varieties in the twentieth centuary. But an adopted modern standard now exists, which maintains the unique blue egg along with some additional fancy head “gear”.
The genetic source originated from Chile. Pockets of wild Araucana can still be seen in the Amazon Basin and in isolated areas in the high fincas of the Andes Range.
Tall ships plying the trade routes around the world.
When the Spanish arrived in South America, bringing with them their poultry, they found that the Incas had their own ancient breeds which soon crossed with the imported stock. However in the High Andes there were many areas where the terrain made conquest impossible. Subsequently, the Arauca Indians of Old Northern Chile were never conquered so their poultry remained pure and led to the name Araucana.
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The Araucana breed standard in Britain was envisaged by George Malcolm who created the first true breeding lavender among other colours, in Scotland in the 1930s. The eggs are particularly strong shelled and unique in that the colour permeates throughout the shell. Blue and green eggs have been reported from South America from the mid-sixteenth century onwards.
The expansion of the old Colonial British Empire during the formation of the commonwealth led to the Araucana taking up residence in many countries around the world. Indeed, to this day, the British Tailed Araucana can be found in over 60 countries. Read more..