The Araucana is a challenging breed that combines several unusual traits; first there are the peduncles (tufts) ; second they are rumpless (have no tail), third they produce blue eggs and finally there are the various combinations of skin (yellow or white) and shank (yellow or willow)color depending upon the feather coloring of the bird. Toss all those variable together, and you will quickly discover that variations are numerous.
Let’s start with the beautiful and unique Tufts.
Tufts (genetically Et) are dissimilar in appearance to the muffs and beards in other breeds, most notably the Ameraucana to which they are related. Tufts technically called peduncles (gene Et, autosomal dominant), appear as upturned feathers, that protrude near the ear on the birds. They are basically an organ attached to the bird’s body that protudes or flowers in stalk-like manner. This explains why they are either there or not — they do not appear as the bird ages but are there from the start.
They also some in several types including ST (single tufted) or DT (double tufted) as well as shapes. It is preferred by most fanciers that they are the double tufted and required for exhibition. Unfortunately, tufts are autosomal (not sex linked), dominant and lethal particularly when paired, so that the chicks die literally in their shell (DIS) during 17-19 days of incubation. Some do hatch, though most of these die within a week from what is commonly described as a “failure to thrive”. If things were not complicated enough, post-hatch mortality is also significantly greater among tufted chicks than among non-tufted chicks. Where most breeds get hatch rates of 90%; Araucana breeders get successful hatches (double tufted & rumpless) of anywhere from 55% to 25%, including the posthatch period.
To avoid this, many Araucana flocks are a mixture of tufted and clean-faced birds, though not all breeders agree on this, which is why breeding the Araucana is part art & science. Those that do adhere to the clean-faced breeding method, have hatches that are higher than those that do not, but not all birds are fully tufted. This happens because the tufted gene has incomplete dominance and so a range of phenotypes (appearances) is possible within each bird’s genotype or all the various genetic possibilities that can occur. In these case, a mixture of tuft-types, including clean-faced , single tuftedness and double tuftedness, are then all possible.
The Araucana Club of America is incorporated as a 501(c)5 organization, for the pursuit of Labor, Agricultural or Horticultural purposes, as stated in the IRS Publication 557.