California Gray chicken is an American breed developed by James Dryden during the 1930s. The name came from the California state, USA. It’s a dual purpose chicken breed which is suitable for meat production and also lay large white eggs. California Gray chicken breed was developed by crossing White Leghorns with Barred Plymouth Rock chickens. Barred Plymouth Rock chickens are a very popular and heavy dual purpose breed with alternating black and white stripes. On the other hand, White Leghorn chickens are of white color, small in size and excellent white eggs layer. A naturally autosexing breed with gray barred plumage was produced by crossing a White Leghorn hen with a Barred Plymouth Rock rooster. And the California Gray chicken is not as large as the Barred Plymouth Rock chickens but is heavier than the White Leghorn chickens. Being a crossed breed, California Gray chicken breed was never admitted into the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection. And it’s a rare breed in the 21st century.
California Gray chickens are much lighter than the Barred Rocks and much heavier than the White Leghorns. Chicks are primarily black with a white spot on the top of the head. And the chest, abdomen and wing tips are white. Young pullets (females) are darker in color than the young cockerels. So, gender of the young birds can be easily determined by color. Feathers of mature birds are barred, black and white, and the hens are darker black than the roosters. Their color is similar to the Barred Rock, but the body style more resembles the Leghorn chicken breed.
Shanks and toes of California Gray chicken are of yellow color. They have single comb which is red in color. They have small white earlobes and red wattles. On an average, California Gray roosters weight about 2.5 kg and hens about 2 kg. Photo from Wikipedia.
California Gray chicken is considered as a commercial hybrid that may exceed the White Leghorn in laying ability and longevity. They are very cold hardy and excellent winter layer. They are quieter and not as flighty as the Leghorns. It’s a friendly chicken breed and very easy to handle. Thy are suitable for both free range and confinement condition. California Gray chicken is often available in the commercial hatcheries. And they raise this breed because of it’s broodiness, docility, hardiness and reliable production of both meat and eggs. They eat less and have good egg to feed ratio. See full breed profile of California Gray chicken below.
California Gray Chicken | Breed Profile
|Breed Name||California Gray|
|Breed Purpose||Dual Purpose|
|Breed Temperament||Hardy, Friendly, Bears Confinement Well, Less Flighty|
|Climate Tolerance||All Climates/Extremely Cold Hardy|