The Cubalaya is a beautiful multi-purpose chicken first developed in Cuba prior to its introduction to the U.S. in 1939. The pea-combed breed combines traits of game fowl from the Philippines with the more ornately feathered European game fowl – creating an elegant-looking chicken.
Their main characteristic is its unique “lobster tail.” This attribute features a downward-angling tail with lavish feathering, making these birds difficult to confuse with any other chicken breed. Cubalayas come in many different colors. The most commonly seen are black-breasted red cocks with wheaten hens – wheaten Cubalayas are a darker “cinnamon” shade of wheaten which usually lightens with age – and solid black cocks and hens. There have been a few whites and the most favored traditional color in Cuba leans towards the blue-red wheaten, which they refer to as “ashen” (cenizo). A distinctive trait for Cubalayas is a lack of spurs, which was favored during the breed’s development and prevents young males from injuring one another during struggles for dominance.
Cubalayas are known as producers of quality meat and can be very reliable layers of tinted eggs. They are medium-sized birds with cocks weighing six pounds and hens weighing four pounds at maturity. The breed matures slowly, taking up to three years to reach adulthood, although they’re capable of reproducing at six to seven months old. Adult roosters grow to 6 pounds at maturity and hens will reach four pounds. These birds do well when raised on grass and actively enjoy foraging for insects.
The trait most favored in Cubalayas is their tameness. Many of the chicks are friendly from the day they’re hatched and will eat out of the owner’s hand even with no previous handling. They have a generally brave disposition and, as chicks, may not fear predators unless caution is learned from their parents or other experienced birds.
Did you know:
The Livestock Conservancy is America’s leading organization working to save over 150 heritage breeds from extinction. We rely on the support of our members, grants, and donations from the public to raise the $700,000 a year needed to maintain our conservation work with rare breeds of farm animals. Click here to learn how you can help.