The California Gray was developed for egg production and meat. They are not flighty, which is uncommon for white egg layers.
It is an autosexing chicken breed, which means that you can tell which chicks are male and which ones are female immediately after they hatch based on their coloring.
They are gaining popularity among backyard chicken owners and homesteaders who are looking for a solid dual-purpose bird.
California Gray Chicken Breed Quick Info
California Gray Chicken Description
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California Gray Use
|California Gray Temperament:
|Friendly, docile, social
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California Gray Egg Production
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California Gray Meat Production
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Origins of California Gray Chicken
This breed was developed in California in the 1930s after crossing Leghorns (good for egg production) and barred Plymouth Rocks (good for meat.) James Dryden cross-bred the two breeds to create the California Gray, but this was during a time when crossbreeding was frowned upon, so he received significant backlash for doing so.
Today, the breed is at risk of dying out because it is not accustomed to commercial egg production and is too large to be raised on a battery farm. It is the same for meat production. This makes it a relatively rare breed. It is also not recognized as an official breed by the APA in the United States but rather as a cross-breed. They are most commonly used as a backyard chicken.
Some Things to Know About California Gray Chicken
California Gray chickens have a large single comb and barred plumage. The males have gray stripes, while the females have darker stripes. They have yellow legs and white earlobes.
This breed is large and heavy-bodied, making them excellent meat birds. Their comb and wattle are red, while their eyes are reddish-brown.
How Easy is it to Keep California Gray Chickens?
This breed is hardy and can continue to lay eggs throughout the winter. They are friendly and docile but large, so they may cause issues with smaller birds if mixed with other breeds. However, they aren’t known to bully or become aggressive.
California Grays are good foragers and thrive in large areas as free-range chickens, but they can also do well in confinement.
Special Care and Considerations for California Gray Chickens
Like all chickens with a single comb, California Grays are at risk for developing frostbite during the winter. A swipe of vaseline on their comb can help protect it from freezing in low temperatures.
Otherwise, this is a hardy, healthy chicken breed that is not prone to any major health issues. However, despite being hardy in all climates, they should have adequate shelter and conditions for weather extremes.