Use: The gorgeous Cubalaya chicken is a popular show breed and has dual-purpose qualities. Hens are broody and will lay a respectable number of small, white eggs yearly.
History: The Cubalaya chicken breed originated in Cuba, resulting from a cross between Oriental fowls brought over from the Philippines and elaborately feathered European game fowls. In addition to being good providers of meat and eggs, Cubalaya chickens were once used as gamefowl. The breed was accepted into the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1939.
Conformation: The Cubalaya has several distinctive attributes, one being a “lobster tail” that trails behind it. This downward-angling tail with ornate feathering resembles the shape of a lobster claw. The lack of spurs on Cubalaya roosters also sets this breed apart from most chickens. The APA recognizes three color varieties in Cubalayas: Black, Black-Breasted and White. Shanks are slate on the black variety and pinkish-white on the two remaining varieties. Its small pea comb, wattles and earlobes are bright red. Standard Cubalaya cocks weigh 6 pounds and hens weigh 4 pounds; bantam cocks weigh 26 ounces and bantam hens weigh 22 ounces.
Special Considerations/Notes: Although the Cubalaya chicken breed is mild-mannered in comparison to other gamefowl, it can be somewhat aggressive toward other chickens. Interestingly enough, it tends to develop close relationships with its keepers. Cubalayas do not tolerate confinement and prefer to noisily forage in hot and humid climates. It may take up to three years for this chicken breed to reach full maturity; however, hens are able to reproduce at 6 months of age. The Cubalaya chicken is listed in the Threatened category of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List.