Blue Egg Hen

Chile

Bío-Bío

Breeds and animal husbandry

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Blue Egg Hen

In the Chilean region of Araucanìa, characterized by the high number of indigenous Mapuche peoples, farmers’ market stalls are laden with kaleidoscopic displays of eggs colored cobalt blue, pale green and everything in between. Temuco is particularly famous for its blue eggs. While most farm-raised chickens lay the occasional blue egg, Temuco chickens always lay blue or green eggs, a genetic trait that turns the bird’s white eggs blue and its brown eggs green. In Chile, this particular chicken breed is called the Araucana, the name that conquering Spaniards gave to the Mapuche people, as well as to the region’s chickens. It is not clear whether the Araucana chicken is an indigenous breed or if it is a descendant of the chickens first brought from Spain by the conquistadores.
The Araucana has been the subject of much interest and research in Chile; it is apparently unique in its ability to exclusively produce blue eggs. Many of the breeds now present in the Americas that regularly produce a percentage of blue eggs may well be descended from crosses with the Araucana.
Today, the Araucana has been crossed with so many different breeds that it is no longer possible to describe it as a ‘pure’ breed with predictable physical characteristics. Historical documents divide Chilean native chicken breeds into two main categories: the colloncas, with a short rear end and no feathers around the ears, and quetros, with a normal profile and a fully feathered head. More likely than not, the chickens with short rear ends are of Asian origin and were brought to Chile by Dutch traders from Bali. Physically speaking, the Araucana appears to be part of the colloncas type, but the blue-egg characteristic is nonexistent in Balinesian chickens and appears to have been a mutation in the imported chickens upon their arrival and selection in southern Chile. To fully understand the Araucana, long and complicated research is necessary. Even then, as with many animal breeds that are poorly documented and frequently crossed, the Araucana will always have a mysterious past. Although the laying chickens all have different physical appearances, they are clearly from the wide gene pool of the Araucana, and none can survive in industrial chicken farms. These chickens must be kept outside in order to produce eggs. In Chile, where agriculture is rapidly intensifying, the blue eggs are a uniquely valuable ‘self-identifying’ product: the eggshells are a sign of free-range quality that cannot be counterfeited.

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Gallina de huevos azules
En el área de Temuco, región caracterizada por la fuerte presencia de indígenas mapuches, se encuentran frecuentemente ferias campesinas en las cuales se venden huevos azules de cáscara azul y verde, producidos por una raza particular de gallinas: la araucana. Desde 2004, las criadoras han desarrollado un Protocolo de Producción compartido para reglamentar la alimentación y los aspectos sanitarios ligados a la cría y a la comercialización de los huevos.

El Baluarte
El 27 de febrero de 2010 un terremoto de 8,8 grados de la escala Richter golpeó la parte centro-meridional de Chile: en las áreas afectadas por el terremoto, casi 200.000 viviendas fueron destruidas o dañadas, escuelas, hospitales, fábricas y oficinas colapsaron y muchos chilenos perdieron su casas y su empleo. El terremoto golpeó particularmente el Baluarte de la gallina de huevos azules, nacido en 2005 en colaboración con la ONG local, Cet Sur.
De la misma manera otra catástrofe ocurrió en febrero de 2012, esta vez en un área más circunscrita de la región del Biobío, Quillón, que repentinamente se incendió a causa de la deforestación indiscriminada del territorio. En este contexto de graves dificultades económicas, el Baluarte se puso como objetivo el incremento del ingreso familiar a través de la reproducción de gallinas, la difusión de una marca de identificación de los huevos azules y la comercialización directa al consumidor.

Referente:
Asociación Gremial Regional de Mujeres Rurales e Indígenas Protectoras
de la Biodiversidad – REDMUBI A.G.
Quillón, Territorio del Valle del Itata, Provincia de Ñuble, Región del Bio Bio, Chile

Datos de contacto:
Jaqueline Arriagada Villegas
portaldelvalle@gmail.com
+56 974676147

Sudamérica – Chile
Valle del Itata, Región del Bio-Bío
Villarrica, Región de la Araucanía
On February 27, 2010 a devastating earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale, the sixth most powerful ever recorded, struck south-central Chile. In the areas affected by the earthquake, at least 200,000 houses were destroyed or damaged, schools, hospitals, factories and offices collapsed, and many Chileans lost their homes and livelihoods. The Blue Egg Chicken Presidium, created in 2005 in collaboration with local NGO Cet Sur to preserve a native poultry breed, was also badly hit by the earthquake.
Another catastrophe hit in February 2012 in the region of Bio Bio, Quillon, where there was a forest fire due to heavy deforestation in the area. In this time of grave economic difficulty, the Presidium decided that its objective for 2012 would be to increase family income through the reproduction of these hens and commercialization at local level, through markets and consumers’ groups.

Production area
Mapuche’s communities, VIII region (Bío-Bío)
20 farmers, gathered in the Red de Mujeres Protectoras de la Biodiversidad
Presidium coordinators
Rita Moya
tel. +56 413188459/56 84508560
rmoya@cimasur.cl

Jaqueline Del Rosario Arriagada Villegas
tel. +56 74676147
portaldelvalle@gmail.com

On February 27, 2010 a devastating earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale, the sixth most powerful ever recorded, struck south-central Chile. In the areas affected by the earthquake, at least 200,000 houses were destroyed or damaged, schools, hospitals, factories and offices collapsed, and many Chileans lost their homes and livelihoods. The Blue Egg Chicken Presidium, created in 2005 in collaboration with local NGO Cet Sur to preserve a native poultry breed, was also badly hit by the earthquake.
Another catastrophe hit in February 2012 in the region of Bio Bio, Quillon, where there was a forest fire due to heavy deforestation in the area. In this time of grave economic difficulty, the Presidium decided that its objective for 2012 would be to increase family income through the reproduction of these hens and commercialization at local level, through markets and consumers’ groups.

Production area
Mapuche’s communities, VIII region (Bío-Bío)
20 farmers, gathered in the Red de Mujeres Protectoras de la Biodiversidad
Presidium coordinators
Rita Moya
tel. +56 413188459/56 84508560
rmoya@cimasur.cl

Jaqueline Del Rosario Arriagada Villegas
tel. +56 74676147
portaldelvalle@gmail.com

Territory

StateChile
RegionBío-Bío

Other info

CategoriesBreeds and animal husbandry