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3 – 4.5 lbs
Can be aggressive to other birds, noisy, mild-mannered compared to other game birds
Tolerant of high heat and humidity, Stunning birds for backyard flocks
The Cubalaya is a beautiful multi-purpose chicken first developed in Cuba prior to its US introduction in 1939. The pea-combed breed combines the traits of the Oriental game fowl brought to Cuba from the Philippines with the more ornately feathered game fowl of Europe – creating an elegant-looking chicken. The primary breed characteristic is the unique “lobster tail.” This attribute features a downward-angling tail with lavish feathering making these birds difficult to confuse with any other breed of chicken. 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 both cocks and hens solid black. There have been a few whites, and the most favored traditional color in Cuba seems to have been the blue-red wheaten, which they refer to as "ashen" (cenizo). A distinctive trait of the Cubalaya is a lack of spurs, which was favored during the breed’s development. This lack of spurs prevents young males from injuring one another during struggles for dominance.
Cubalayas are known as producers of quality meat and can often be very reliable layers of tinted eggs. They are medium-sized birds with cocks weighing six pounds and hens weighing four pounds at maturity. This breed is slow to mature taking up to three years to reach adulthood, although they are capable of reproducing beginning at six - seven months of age. Adult roosters grow to 6 pounds at maturity and hens will reach 4 pounds. These birds do well when raised on grass and actively enjoy foraging for insects.
The trait most favored in this breed 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. These birds have a generally brave disposition and, as chicks, may not fear predators unless caution is learned from their parents or other experienced birds.
Photo courtesy of Frank Baylis
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