Andalusian Chicken 101: 2021 Complete Care Guide

With their stunning blue-grey color, the Blue Andalusian chicken is a real head-turner when it comes to appearance.

These graceful birds can make a stunning addition to any flock, whether you want to keep them as pets or for other purposes.

One of the first chickens I owned when I first started keeping chickens was a Blue Andalusian – their gorgeous coloration and curious temperament has made them a breed I always keep in my family flock.

My parents also kept a couple of Blue Andalusians when I was growing up, so I’ve been caring for this type of chicken for many years.

If you’re thinking of owning the elegant Blue Andalusian, here’s everything you need to know about their care, including feeding, coop, chicks, egg production, and health concerns.

Origin

Their name suggests they are from Andalusia, but this may not be the case. Harrison Weir visited Andalusia in 1879 to inquire about Blue Andalusians, but it was mostly unknown in this region.

For this reason, it’s thought that the Blue Andalusian is not linked to Andalusia.

What’s more likely is that the bird was imported to England from Cadiz in Spain, a province of Andalusia.

This is probably what made people believe it was native there.

History of the Andalusian Chicken Breed

The exact origins of the Andalusian chicken are unknown, but it’s thought that Black Castilians were bred together or with other breeds local to Castile in Spain to make the Andalusian.

In the 1840s, the Andalusian chicken was imported to England by Leonard Barber.

It was first exhibited in 1853 in England at the Baker Street, London show.

Color

Original specimens were a lot paler blue than what is standard today. Breeders in England first started enhancing the slate blue color.

In Spain, laced varieties are known as English Andalusians – all other colors are called Spanish Andalusians and are not laced.

The Andalusian arrived in the United States at some point between 1850 and 1855.

Appearance

Since then, American breeders have been consistently improving the appearance of the breed.

Blue Andalusians fell out of popularity in the 20th century, becoming extremely rare.

Thanks to dedicated hobbyists, the breed has made a bit of a comeback in recent years as a show bird.

FACT

They currently have a conservation status of “Watch” by The Livestock Conservancy.

Andalusian Breed Standards – American Poultry Association

Did you know that the Andalusian chicken was not accepted to the Poultry Club of Great Britain at first?

It’s not clear why, but it wasn’t until a few years later until the breed became accepted – it’s classified as a light and soft feather chicken.

Recognition

The Andalusian chicken was accepted to the American Poultry Association in 1874, classified as a Mediterranean breed.

Bantam types (small) were created in the 1880s and were quickly accepted by the American Poultry Bantam Association.

Correct Color

The only recognized variety of the Blue Andalusian is (yep, you guessed it!) blue.

This blue shade would not be present without black, splash (off-white), and white specimens of the breed due to genetics.

That’s because the Andalusian blue gene is an incomplete dominant gene (known as a diluting gene).

If the parents of a chick don’t have a diluting gene, they will be the color of their mother and father or a combination of the two.

For example:

  • Splash x splash = 100% splash (off-white) chicks
  • Black x black = 100% black chicks
  • Black x blue = 50% blue and 50% splash chicks
  • Black x splash = 100% splash chicks
  • Blue x blue = blue 25% splash, black and 25%, 50% blue offspring
  • Blue x splash = 50% splash and 50% blue offspring

Comb

The single comb and wattles on this blue bird are a vibrant shade of red, while the earlobes are white and ovular in shape.

Andalusian chickens have horn colored beaks that curve a bit downwards, and eyes that are a reddish-brown color.

Plumage

The most striking characteristic of the Blue Andalusian is their slate-blue plumage. It normally has blue or black shade lacing, but some chickens can even be entirely laceless.

There isn’t one feather on a Blue Laced Andalusian chicken’s legs, and each foot has 4 toes.

Shade

The intensity of the color and lacing is influenced by the quality of the Andalusian chicken’s lineage.

Higher quality birds will be a brighter shade of grey-blue with darker black or blue lacing.

What Is a Comb?

If you’re not sure what a comb is, it’s a fleshy crown that sits on top of your chicken’s head.

It helps your bird regulate their body temperature as they are unable to sweat.

The color of your chicken’s comb is a good indicator of your bird’s health.

Well, birds should have combs that are a shade of red, black, or purple depending on the breed.

FACT

There are a lot of comb types in chickens (they can also be small, medium, and large!), but a single comb is the most common.

What Is a Splash Chicken?

Splash is a very light color of chicken – either a shade of pale grey or white.

The bird will have flecks (“splashes”) of black and darker grey in their feathers.

These specks of black and darker grey will be most prominent around the bird’s tail and wings.

Appearance

As I mentioned above, Blue Andalusians are very striking chickens with an upright posture and slender body shape.

They are medium to small and extremely active.

Blue Andalusians should be a blue-grey shade with black lacing (a darker blue is also acceptable).

Off-white and black varieties also exist, but these are not Blue Andalusians.

Andalusian birds typically weigh just 5 lbs, but roosters usually weigh around 7 lbs.

Colors

The only recognized color of an Andalusian chicken is slate blue.

Each feather on this bird should be slate blue and laced with a dark blue or black shade. They can be an off-white or black color depending on genetics.

However, these are not true Blue Andalusians – off-white varieties are known as Splash Andalusians, and black varieties are called Black Andalusians.

Skin Color

Blue Laced Andalusian chickens have white skin.

The (featherless) legs on this bird are either black or slate blue in color.

How Tall Are Blue Andalusian Chickens?

Standard or medium size Andalusian roosters are between 22 to 26 inches tall, but bantam varieties are just 14 to 17 inches tall.

A standard sized Andalusian hen normally stands at 20 to 25 inches tall. Bantam varieties get to 12 to 15 inches tall.

How Much Space Do Andalusian Chickens Need?

Standard size Andalusian chickens need a fairly large coop to live in to ensure their happiness as they’re very active.

They require 11 square feet per chicken in a coop and a minimum of 10 square feet per chicken in a run or pen.

Regular Variety

It’s best to use a tall coop with high roosting perches as these birds jump rather well.

However, Andalusian chickens don’t enjoy being housed in coops all day – they much prefer to be free-range.

NOTE

If you want to keep your Andalusian free-range, Andalusians need at least 250 square feet of space.

Smaller Variety

If you have bantam Andalusian chickens, you may be able to get away with a smaller or medium-sized coop.

While most bantam types of chickens only need around 2 square feet of coop space per chicken, I still wouldn’t advise this for bantam Andalusians due to their high activity levels.

Activity

I have a couple of bantam Andalusians myself and they’re a lot more energetic than many of my other standard size chicken breeds.

They run extremely fast – it’s even hard to get them to return to their coop at night (though this might because my two aren’t exactly well trained!).

Andalusian Chicken Egg Laying

Brooding

First, Andalusian hens rarely go broody and don’t show much interest in egg sitting. If you want chicks, you’ll need to make sure you use an incubator for this breed’s eggs.

Older hens are more likely to brood than younger hens, but this is still a rather infrequent occurrence.

Occurrence

In fact, my two Blue Andalusian hens have only gone broody a few times in the couple years I’ve had them.

Unfortunately, breeding Blue Laced Andalusian chickens with an ideal plumage is rather difficult as markings and color are genetically unstable.

Age of Laying

A Blue Andalusian pullet (Blue hen under a year old) is able to lay a lot earlier than many other chicken breeds.

At around 5 to 6 months old, pullets will begin laying medium or large white eggs.

Do Blue Andalusian Chicks Feather Out Quickly?

Both standard and bantam Andalusian chicks feather out quickly – cockerels (young roosters) can even begin crowing at 7 weeks old!

How Many Eggs Do They Lay?

While the Blue Laced hen is not the best brooder, they are pretty good at egg laying.

This breed also lays during the winter too – most other breeds stop laying in the cold months to conserve energy.

Eggs Per Year

An Andalusian hen will lay roughly 150 medium to large white eggs each year.

I have two Blue Andalusian chickens, and this equates to 300 white eggs per year.

That’s a lot of produce, especially if you keep an entire flock!

Eggs Per Week

Blue Andalusian hens of egg laying age will usually produce 3 white eggs per week. This Mediterranean breed lays a white egg, size medium to large.

Egg Size

Andalusian chickens produce eggs that are medium to large in size.

Chicken Egg Color – White Eggs or Brown?

Both standard and bantam Blue Andalusian chickens lay white eggs.

Did you know that chickens with white earlobes will usually produce a white egg or lightly tinted one?

In contrast, chickens with red earlobes normally lay brown eggs.

There’s not much difference regarding taste between standard white and brown eggs.

NOTE

Your birds’ diet will influence the flavor of their eggs, so make sure you feed them a well-balanced one!

Is the Andalusian Chicken Good for Meat?

Blue Andalusian chickens are bred for white egg laying, so their body has a lot less meat on it than meat breeds such as the Broiler chicken.

That said, Blue Andalusian chickens have a lot of white meat on them and a fair amount of breast meat.

Commercial Feed

When it comes to feeding Blue Andalusians, a high-quality commercial poultry feed should be the main component of their diet.

Standard poultry feeds normally contain grains (like corn, oats, and soybeans), grit (ground oyster shell or limestone), and vitamins (calcium).

You can find feeds for chickens in mash, pellet, or crumbed food. This can be fed via a food container or dispenser.

TIP

Blue Andalusians like foraging, so you can encourage this type of behavior by scattering seeds and grains around their free range area. I personally like to use corn and wheat.

Fruits/Vegetables and Food Scraps

In addition to commercial poultry feed, you should feed your Blue Andalusian chickens a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables each day.

As long as they’re safe (more on this below), most fruits and vegetables are acceptable.

My hens particularly like bananas, spinach, carrot, berries, silver beet, broccoli, apple, and cabbage.

Food Scraps

Food scraps also go down well – cooked rice, cooked pasta, and bread are always firm favorites in my flock.

Avoid garlic, raw potatoes, beans, citrus fruits, uncooked beans, avocado, chocolate, uncooked rice, and apricots. Any table scraps that are rancid or high in salt/fat are not suitable for chickens either.

NOTE

Check with a poultry expert or veterinarian if you’re uncertain whether a type of food is safe for chickens. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Diet

Dietary requirements will be slightly different depending on your bird’s size, age, and sex. A Blue Andalusian hen with eggs that have a thin or soft texture may be not getting enough calcium in their diet.

You may need to give them a calcium supplement to ensure their nutritional needs are being met.

As long as you feed your feathered friend a well-balanced diet, they will be one happy and healthy bird.

Grit

Did you know that grit is essential for chickens to help digest their food? Your Blue Andalusians need a constant supply of grit (like gravel, stones, or ground up shells) to ensure they can feed properly.

If your Blue Andalusians don’t have access to an outdoor space with dirt or grass, it’s particularly vital you ensure they get enough grit in their diet.

Poisonous Plants

During free range, chickens can get into things they’re not supposed to, so you need to make sure they can’t access any plants or weeds that could be deadly.

This includes:

  • Morning Glory
  • Daffodil
  • Foxglove,
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Tulips
  • Azaleas
  • Nightshades
  • Jimson Weed
  • Rhododendron
  • Mountain Laurel
  • Castor Bean
  • Monkshood
  • Trumpet Vine
  • Bracken Fern
  • Iris
  • Holly
  • Lobelia
  • Lupines
  • Tansy
  • Amaryllis
  • Nicotiana

Water

Blue Andalusians should always have access to clean fresh water daily.

Try to place their water container so they can drink without needing to bend down.

In colder and darker months, check that the water is not frozen solid – chickens can’t drink ice! I personally like to use a heated water container to avoid this problem.

Andalusians love to roam, they much prefer to be kept free range so they can exercise and hunt for food.

This breed is curious and calm in nature, but they are not the most docile breed of chicken.

They’re not unfriendly by any means, but don’t expect them to sit around long for petting or handling.

Are Andalusian Chickens Friendly?

With Other Chickens

Blue Andalusian chickens usually get along well with other breeds of chicken. They are a relatively calm and laidback bird, and don’t normally have issues with bullying.

However, this breed does need a lot of space as they don’t like being overcrowded. If kept in small living quarters, they can fight or bully other chickens, and even pull out their own feathers.

Isolation method

Aggressive chickens can be dealt with using the isolation method.

This involves placing the bully in confinement but allowing it watch your other birds go about their normal routine.

If you spot the territorial chicken target your flock when they’re eating, feed them separately but let them watch your other birds feed.

This can help redefine your flock’s pecking order, showing the bully that they’re not top bird. 

NOTE

If isolation doesn’t work and you still have a troublesome bird on your hands, you may want to consider rehoming them.

With People

Blue Andalusian chickens aren’t exactly friendly, but they’re not unfriendly either.

They are adventurous and inquisitive but don’t like to be picked up – my pair only tolerate petting for a very short time, if at all.

These slate blue birds may greet you, especially if you have food or treats.

However, they can still be a little flighty.

Blue Andalusians are independent and prefer to roam – they won’t be immobile for very long.

Are Andalusian Chickens Noisy?

While Blue Andalusians are less noisy than other Mediterranean breeds, they are still a rather noisy bird.

Roosters in particular can be quite loud, which your neighbors probably won’t enjoy.

TIP

If you need a quiet chicken breed, Mediterranean breeds like the Blue Andalusian probably aren’t a good pick for you.

A few of the most common health concerns of this breed include lice, mites, bumblefoot, intestinal parasites, egg binding, vent gleet, and vent prolapse.

Both mice and lices can be a large pain to deal with as a poultry keeper, and it’s an issue you’ll probably encounter at some point.

Dust Baths

The best preventative methods for mice and lice are a clean coop/habitat and dust baths.

Chickens will naturally use dust baths to get rid of parasites – I always keep at least one in my coop.

You can also sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth (or wood ash) around your flock’s coop to help deter mites.

A Large Clean Coop Is Essential

Maintaining proper cleanliness of your coop is vital, not just for keeping your birds well but also for preventing many illnesses.

Every night, you should remove any leftover food from your coop and refill your flock’s water container.

Once a day, get rid of droppings and dirty bedding.

Replace the old bedding with new material.

NOTE

Finally, conduct a large deep clean of your coop a couple of times a year. Keeping your coop clean will ensure your birds live long, well, and happy lives!

Final Thoughts

The Slate Blue Andalusian chicken breed is a fantastic bird to raise. Not only is their slate blue coloration with black lacing a sight to behold, but they’re also pretty good egg layers. And who can ever say no to freshly laid eggs?

While my two Blue Andalusian hens aren’t as loving as some of my other breeds, it’s always a joy to watch them roam around independently – they never stop to rest!

What do you think of the Blue Andalusian? Let me know on our social media platforms.

If you’re after more chicken breed profiles or other informative guides on chicken care, check out our other posts.

Share

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on email
Share on print

Share

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print
Jess Woods
Jess Woods
Founder of Chickens & You. I love raising chickens and creating a self sustainable homestead for my family. I like to spend my time writing and teaching skills for homesteading and self sufficient living. 🐓 👩‍🌾