Cubalaya Chicken – The Unique Cuban Chicken Breed

The Cubalaya chicken is a Cuban breed of chicken. In fact, it is the only official breed of chicken to originate from Cuba. This makes it incredibly unique, so we figured we would take the time to run you through the Cubalaya chicken and what it brings to the table (quite literally, in many cases!)

Cubalaya Chicken Facts at a Glance

Eggs150 – 200 per year
Egg Color White, sometimes Tinted
UseOrnamental (used as dual purpose in Cuba)
Comb TypePea comb type
Weight Male Standard: 6 lb (2.7 kg)
Male Bantam: 26 oz (740 g)
Female Standard: 4 lb (1.8 kg)
Female bantam: 22 oz (625 kg)
TemperamentFriendly, but can be aggressive to other birds.
Country of origin Cuba
Cubalaya chicken
Cubalaya Hens and Rooster (Photo by Kruppert)

The Origins of the Cubalaya Chicken

As we said previously; this bird originates in Cuba. Although, its journey didn’t start there. The bird was actually bred in Cuba but from several different birds that the Spanish brought from throughout Europe and the Philippines. Although, nobody is quite sure the exact breeds that the Cubalaya Chicken was bred from.

Although they were first admitted to the APA back in 1939, in recent years, the Cubalaya chickens have become endangered.

This is, mostly, down to the fact that it is not a particularly useful chicken.

While, as you will see soon, the chicken is fairly decent at laying eggs, these eggs are far too small for the chicken to be raised commercially. Instead, this is a chicken that seems to be pretty much suited only to the world of show chickens.

To be honest with you, if something isn’t done within the next ten years or so, then the Cubalaya chickens is likely to end up disappearing.

Sadly, despite it being the only official breed that originates from Cuba, there does not really seem to be a massive drive to try and stop the chicken from being on the edge of extinction.

The Look of the Chicken

There is both a standard size and a Cubalaya bantam version of this chicken available. However, even the standard size is quite small, barely erring over 5-6 lb in weight.

The bantam version is about a third of this size.

When it comes to the standard size, the hen is considerably smaller than the rooster, sometimes as much as 3 lb smaller.

There are very few chicken breeds that have this sort of difference between the two sexes.

These chickens are well-known for their beautiful, almost regal look. This is exactly what they were bred for, after all.

cubalaya chicken
Cubalaya chicken (Photo By dalemcneill)

They stand nice and proud, with stunning flowing feathers on their body. In our opinion, the Cubalaya Chicken is one of the most beautifully feathered chickens of all of the breeds.

All of this look is backed up by a bright-red pea comb, and some of the best-looking eyes in a chicken. Honestly, you can see that a lot of effort has gone into developing this breed.

The bantam Cubalaya hen, with its 22 oz. is one of the smallest chicken breeds recognized in the US.

one interesting fact is that this is one of the 4 longtail chickens recognized in the US.

The Cubalaya Chicken as a Show Chicken

The main purpose of this breed, even when it was being developed, was to be a show chicken. So, to this day, the main reason why the Cubalaya Chicken is still bred is so that it can be shown off at various shows. It stands to reason that this is a popular chicken breed. After all, it looks fantastic.

Of course, the show competition is going to be quite hot, so we can’t imagine that there are many people reading this that will be raising their chickens for competitive shows, at least not for a few chicken generations.

However, you can still put this breed to good use. It makes a fantastic ornamental chicken for out there in your yard. If you have a couple of these kicking about, you really will be able to spice up the look of the land!

Cubalaya Hen as an Egg-Laying Bird

While this bird is not raised for its eggs, mostly because the eggs are small, you may be pleased to know that it is still a regular egg-layer.

You can get somewhere between 150 and 200 eggs per hen each year.

It also can lay them at all times of the year, so you do not have to worry about those dreaded winter lulls.

Although, once again, we must reiterate that the egg size is incredibly small.

This is a broody chicken, so if you want, it shouldn’t be that difficult to breed more Cubalaya Chickens.

Cubalaya chicken (Photo By dalemcneill)

You can also make use of their broody personality and try to raise other chicken’s eggs that may not be quite so broody.

If you are interested for raising chickens for eggs, then read our article what are the best chickens for laying eggs.

It is worth noting that in Cuba, today, this chicken is used as a dual purpose breed for meat and eggs. However, here in the United States, hens are not that good at laying eggs compared to those in Cuba. The main reason is the climate conditions.

Is it Worth Raising Cubalaya Chicken as a Meat Bird?

While some people do feel that the Cubalaya Chicken is a touch too small to be a decent meat chicken breed, the meat from this bird is supposed to be very good.

By all accounts, it has a flavor unlike most other chickens. The flavor can be quite delicate.

You are not going to be getting much meat on the bird when you slaughter it, but you will almost certainly be ending up with a bird that tastes fairly good!

Raising Cubalaya Chickens

One of the main goals for the people that developed the breed of this chicken was to create a breed that was friendly. Even to this day, the Cubalaya Chicken is one of the friendliest chicken breeds that you can own.

Many families report that they are more than happy to allow their children to feed the chickens. These chickens love to be hand-fed.

The problem is that you do not want to have too many Cubalaya roosters, and you almost certainly do not want to be mixing these roosters with other breeds. These breed has aggressive roosters in some individuals.

While these birds can be friendly, a lot of people have reported that the roosters can be somewhat aggressive on occasion. So, try to ensure that you are not putting roosters together, and this shouldn’t be too much of a problem!

Another issue with this breed is that they were bred to be rather fearless as a bird. This means that they are more likely to not be scared of predators.

Obviously, this is going to cause an issue on occasion, so do make sure that you have your chickens cooped up to minimize the risk of them being a tasty snack for a predator.

Other than this, there are no special care tips. They love to forage, so give them the space to do this. They will be just like any other chicken breed out there. Food, water, and a bit of regular interaction will keep them nice and happy.

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