Farm Shop : Open from 10 am  daily for free range eggs : .... ... : Growers of Free range Black Rock hens
Plant nursery : herbs, perennials, climbers : .... .... ... : Seasonal supplies of Jacob mutton, lamb & free range pork
Fleece & Fibre : fleeces, batts and roving for craft work from native breeds
Smallholder Shop supplies : poultry equipment : .... ... : Feed Store : smallholding, pet and wild bird feeds
Phoenix fabrics : yarn, hand crafted knitwear, craft kits, and jewellery
LORN Community Network
Kintaline on Facebook
Ardchattan Observer
LORN on Facebook
LORN tweets
Winter Sale 2016
Ex Display Henhouses for sale - Great bargain duck houses and chicken coops for immediate collection - check them out here
Black Rock hens and pullets for sale : 2-3 year old birds from our laying flock - Point of lay pullets available to collect now (2016 )
limited stocks

poultry coops and housing for ducks geese and chickens

Practical Affordable WATERFOWL AND POULTRY HOUSING available throughout United Kingdom

information about our jacob sheep flock

Argyll JACOB SHEEP, raised here on the farm for their lamb, mutton, fleece and rugs

ardchattan parish benderloch, barcaldine, north connel, bonawe

Ardchattan parish : Benderloch, Barcaldine, North connel, Bonawe - Past and Present

Parish newsletter


Kintaline 2016 : we still sell Muirfield Black Rocks but no longer have the old utility pure breeds - please enjoy our information. : Chickens : Utility breeds : ARAUCANA : history
~ Contact Us ~ ~ About Us

Some history of the Araucana in the United Kingdom - made up from notes I am collating from a variety of sources. (where possible I will identify the Us and UK references as there are some major differences)- there is a list of my sources at the bottom of the page

I am very interested in the Hebrides connection, as that is where I live, and also the production of lots of blue eggs. Many others are interested in the background to the colours - this is not something I am addressing here - nor the other physical features as yet except where they relate to the blue egg.

  • [BAC]Blue and Green eggs have been reported from South America since the sixteenth century
  • Its first historical record is in the l880s where it was discovered being raised by the Araucana Indians, thence its name. However, it is believed that on his trip around the world in l5l9 Ferdinand Magellan stopped in the Santa Lucia Bay and stocked his ships with fowl from the Guarani Indians who are believed to be related to the Araucana Indians who possessed the Araucana fowls.
  • [BAC]The Spaniards, in their travels, took their own poultry with them. When they ended up in South America the native inhabitants had chickens and much interbreeding happened.
  • [BAC]However the poultry bred by the Arauca Indians lived in the High Andian plains in the north stayed pure because the hostile terrain and the ferocity of the native peoples prevented conquest by the invaders
  • [BAC]These birds have taken their name from the indigenous tribes - hence Araucana
  • [BAC]Pockets of Araucana can still be seen in the Amazon Basin and in isolated areas in the high fincas of the Andes Range.
  • [DW]The Araucana is presumed to be an ancient race which is found on the Southamerican west coast around Chile and Peru. It has arrived to the countries around the Mediterranean in the 16th century, from there it has been spread to the rest of Europe.
    It describes : "It is a 'funny' race without a tail and with tassels on the sides of its head. It is a very calm race, which is easily tamed. It is good at hatching and taking care of chicken, but it does not lay many eggs, the eggs are on the other hand very unusual they are turquoise."


  • 1519 [HSC]The Portuguese explorer Magellen(1480-1521) described poultry in 1519 that resemble Araucanas.
  • 1526 [HSC] In 1526, Spanish general and naturalist by the name of Cabot described poultry that laid blue eggs in Spain.
  • 17th. century [HSC] It is assumed that this breed was present in more than one state in South America by the 17th. century. Even Dutch pirates who particularly attacked Spanish boats mentioned 'these funny chickens with earrings, which laid blue and green eggs'. These must have been Araucanas
  • [HSC]Missionaries also mentioned this very special breed.
  • 1816 - 1842 : Bonnington Mowbray's Book on Poultry mentions under the heading of Bantams " addition there is a South American variety either from Brazil or Buenos Aires which roosts in trees. They are very beautiful partridge, spotted and streaked. the eggs are small coloured like those of a pheasant, both the eggs and flesh are fine flavoured and delicate....
  • 1880 [HSC]From 1880 onwards, Araucanas spread through Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. In Uruguay, ladies in higher circle kept and bred Araucanas as a curiosity; it is known {what is the reference for this?}that in those days the egg production was around 185 eggs a year.
  • 1880's to 1930's the Chilean nitrate trade - tall sailing ships plied their trade from Northern Europe to Chile to collect "white gold" - valuable nitrate now desperately required for agricultural land. These ships carried poultry for fresh provisions and there are plenty of stories in the Hebrides and the Shetlands of trading ships carrying blue egg laying hens which were exchanged for other provisions. This trade had been going on for centuries - Viking / Hebridean connections are well documented. It was said that the Araucanas were preferred to European birds as they coped with the changes in climate better
  • 1914 [AF] ??Dr Ruben Bustos brought to Professor Salvador Castello Carreras {in the US} Araucanas from his own flock around 1914 to 1916. They were described as blue egg layer; small single comb; red eyes; clean legs; all the birds were rumpless with earings??. These birds were later to be found to have been bred from a mixture of Chilean fowl not native of the area.
    [HSC]Prof. Salvador Castello Carreras rediscovered the Araucanas in 1914 in Punta Arenys in the far South of Chile.
  • 1921 [HSC]The breed was intensively discussed at the first World Poultry Congress of the World Poultry Science Association (WPSA) in The Hague, the Netherlands in September 1921. After this congress, the breed became very well known throughout the world.
  • 1921 [BAC] : From Salvador Castello (Barcelona) reports he suggested at this congress it should be called "Gallus inauris" which was adopted
  • 1927 [AF]In National Geographip April 1927 the pictures/drawing show a tufted rumpless Araucana and not a bearded/muffed bird - probably American birds
  • 1933 [BAC]In 1933 Mr Punnet the esteemed geneticist is reported to have been working on the Araucana genes and described the dominant gene that produces the blue egg and its relationship with the pea comb. This suggests that these birds had been around for quite a while
  • [ROTE] however the birds first taken to America to Professor Castello had small single combs
  • 1930's [AF]A quote from the first Ameraucana Bantam Handbook (USA), published in the early 1980's.
    "Dorian Roxburgh, Secretary of the British Araucana Club reports that a Chilean nitrate ship foundered off the coast of Scotland in the thirties and descendants of bearded and muffed, tailed Araucanas that were aboard, are now scattered among the Inner Hebrides.
    Bearded, muffed and tailed Araucanas became the principal variety bred in the British Isles, and a bantam Araucana with beard, muffs, and tail was created by George Malcom of Scotland."
  • [BAC] : The Araucana breed standard in Britain was as envisaged by George Malcolm in the 1930s, who created the true breeding lavender, among other colours, in East Lothian, Scotland. He first started breeding them in 1928.
  • 1935 [BAC]: Mr E Wilford Smith acquires his initial stock of Araucanas from a meeting with a Mr George Beaver [a travelling salesman of rugs who had brought black-red birds with a single comb and blueish eggs over from the States]. Mr Smiths first eggs produced 6 pullets and he got a dark red male from an Oxfordshire farmer (?) A Mr Edwards who had also had eggs from Mr Beaver.. EVEN BEFORE MR BEAVER IMPORTED THEM THEY WERE ALREADY KNOWN ON THE WESTERN ISLES IN SCOTLAND. - Possibly from the Chilean nitrate trade or Scandinavian fishing boats.
  • !940's - during the war plenty of anecdotal evidence of supply ships moored of the west coast of Scotland - in the Inner Hebrides - which carried trays and trays of blue and green eggs. These some folk hatched and have told me of these funny tufted hens. They were so common - but can find none left UNLESS YOU KNOW DIFFERENT !! It is most likely that these eggs came from the extensive egg producers of Shetland and Orkney - now long since gone but I understand that blue eggers on both groups of islands used to be very very common
  • [BAC] 1948 : The Countryman magazine in the spring mentioned the two hens imported by Mr Elliot which were kept at Cambridge University - to keep the breed going they were mated to males of other breeds. ? Golden Hamburg ? Houdans ? indian Game.
  • [BAC] : At Cambridge the late Micheal Pease produced the auto sexing Cream / Crested Legbar which was a splendid layer of blue eggs and Mr Malcolm used this breed to introduce crests in the his large and bantam Araucanas.
  • 1951 [BAC] :One of Mr Malcolms references describes a contact he had with the "Mackenzies of the Isle of Mull who had a strain originally coming from Norway that had existed in the Western Isles for many years" THIS IS SOMETHING I PERSONALLY AM VERY INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE ABOUT
  • [from a shipwreck forum]Another point of interest I found is this - from Laurie :"While trying to locate info about Viking chickens in Shetland (a small breed that lay blue eggs), I found a story on a site about archaeology or shipwrecks that suggested perhaps the chickens were actually of Chilean origin, and had arrived in Scotland when a Chilean freighter wrecked near Shetland, freeing some chickens the crew had brought along."
    Update on this
    [LBA]email message from Sweden 1999 "Here on the island of Gotland, Sweden, I have now and then come across both green and blue eggs of small hen. But as I don't have special interest in chickens, I haven't taken more notice of these hens than that they are a kind of dwarf-chickens and of old breeds."
    [LBA]email message from Shetland 1999 "She has heard of a story about Chilean hens, but thinks that the facts have been misinterpreted. It has been said that a Spanish Galleon that was wrecked off the west coast of Shetland after the Armada, had livestock on it that was brought ashore with the crews. The link between Chile and Shetland is that some hens in Chile also lay green eggs and they were originally from Spain. However there is no physical similarity between Shetland and Chilean hens. On the West side of Shetland [a breeder] has heard of some hens referred to as 'Galleon hens'. But this may or may not have any link to this story. "

    I now think this any Armada connection is most unlikely as it is well recorded that the Mediterranean's revered the white eggs of their birds and would not accept blue egg layers - so although they may well have come across them in their explorations they had not interest in them.

    [LBA] email from Shetland 1999 "[a breeder] actually has some Shetland hens that lay a green egg, but when she started to breed them, the first ones she had weren't totally pure. She has found that the best sources of these hens for her is Foula. About 20 years ago she began to research these hens and discovered that there were two types of hens existed that were known as Shetland hens; one is like a small Bantam (this is the type that I was told about previously) and a smaller one, the size of a pigeon which laid a white egg

    [LBA] email from Shetland 1999 "He [member of staff] does remember these chickens as a boy. he says the eggs were indeed blue/green in colour and were slightly smaller and rounder than normal eggs. He contacted his father who says he got them from Ollaberry (in the north of the mainland) in the 1940's. He also contacted another friend, a woman in her 90's, who spent her youth in Hillswick (again in the north). She remembers her family becoming friendly with purchasers of hosiery from 'south' (the British mainland). They gave them some of the blue/green eggs and were told to leave them for 3-4 days with 'normal' chickens for incubation. She recalls that they were small dark coloured hens with white around the face. Both her and his father refer to them as 'pheasants'.
  • From reading as much as I can find about the Araucanas it is clear that a number of breeds have been used by modern Araucana folk over the years to create different colours - to maintain the breed - to introduce fresh blood. Mr Malcolm himself mentions using - white Leghorn; Welsumer; Marans; Cream Legbar; Belgians through his breeding for different characteristics.

    This is probably the cause of the decline in egg quality - the numbers of eggs that most strains lay seems to be very disappointing; the colour is rarely blue [ or even bluey green] anything from olive - khaki - pink etc is hatched and called an Araucana if it suits the interests of the breeder for reasons of feather colour or some such.

    TYPES :
    Colloncas :- rumpless and tufted and blue egg laying. Possibly one of the original wild type sub species feathersite pictures
    [AAC]Quetro : - tufted non blue egg producing. Possibly one of the original wild type subspecies
    [AAC]Collonca de Artes: hybrid offspring resulting from a mating between the "Collonca and Quetros" meaning  Collonca with earrings "tufts"
    Ameraucana :- beards and whiskers instead of the eartufts (American) feathersite picture
    Easter Egg Chickens :- American type that has other breeds mixed in resulting in hens that lay a wide mixture of coloured eggs :feathersite

    [HSC]C.S.Th. van Gink, the world famous Dutch poultry judge and -expert, illustrator, painter and founder of the World Poultry Science Association (WPSA), describes the breed types around 1950 as follows :

    1. Castilian type
    2. Spanish game type
    3. Eastern game type
    4. Bearded and Feathered Feet type
    5. Continental Fowl type
    6. Long legged, rumplesss type with feathered feet
    7. Frizzled type.

    It seems very obvious that the original bird is a small large fowl but modern breeders have made the large much bigger and the smallest small to create a bantam

    [BAC]In the UK the LARGE and bantam type of the standard that is being bred are defined as having tufts ; muffs ; beards and tailed;

  • The bird should be alert and active - long deep body with a moderately long horizontal back. Large strong wings.
  • The tail should be well developed with full sickles carried at an angle of 45 degrees
  • The head is moderately small - Comb is a small pea - The face covered in thick muffling and ear muffs abundant - crest compact, carried well back from the eyes - ear lobes moderately small and concealed by the muffling - wattles are absent
  • British Types:

    The British Araucana Poultry Club was founded more than 25 years ago.
    The Araucana is classified as :

  • Large
  • Bantam

  • or
  • Rumpless- which means no tail, no "Parsons Nose" and with ear tufts of feathers.
  • The egg colour is blue or green. It originated from Chile,

    Genetic notes

  • Rumplessness is dominant, and carries well across generations of birds. The only thing that slows it's march is the fact that it creates mechanical problems in mating.
  • Feathered legs are dominant genetically
  • Pea combs are dominant to single, but not totally. It takes many generations to smooth out the wrinkles and the telescoped/lopped combs from the cross of the two. Good pea combs are rarely seen on standard-bred Aseels, Cornish, Shamos and Sumatras. To get good ones on Araucanas is even more rare. Sources:
    BAC : the British Araucana Club website
    AAC : The American Araucana Club
    AF : The Araucana Forum
    ROTE : Rings on their ears - Cathy Brunson
    DW : Danish Website which has disappeared
    HSC : Hans Schrippers site which has changed
    and lots of anecdotal evidence from farmers - farmers wives and folk from my local area and from the Islands.

    Tim and Jill Bowis
    Kintaline Mill Farm, Benderloch, OBAN Argyll PA37 1QS Scotland
    all text and images are copyright, do not use without express permission and links back to this site. Website online : 1999-2016
    Contact Us ~ ~ About Us Scotland
    Free GuestBooks by Phaistos Networks!

    Read Our Guestbook! | Please Sign Our Guestbook!

  • Here at Kintaline Farm we have very full days with our plants and livestock outside, family, guests and customers visiting the farm, as well as email and phone customers.
    Please email with your daytime and evening telephone numbers if you are having difficulties getting hold of us by phone. We will return your call as soon as we can.

    Local Origins Rural Network Oban farmers market Argyll

    Proud to be members and committee for our local Sustainability Network : Local Origins Rural Network