California White Chickens – Breed Profile & Facts
If you like a medium or small-size flock, then look for California White Chicken. These excellent layers are known for their white eggs. They are very quiet and fast-growing birds that can do well in your backyard.
California White Chicken is a crossbreed between a White Leghorn hen and a California Grey male. This breed of backyard chickens boasts a superior hybrid characteristic and vigor that leads to excellent livability.
These backyard chickens are easy to handle. They can withstand both the confinement and cold weather well. California Whites are easily identified by their light yellow feathers with black flecks when young. Adults have white feathers with black speckles. Here is everything you need to know about California White Chicken.
History of California White Chicken
From their name, California White Chickens trace their origin to the United States of America. This chicken breed was developed in the US (California) in the 1930s for commercial egg and meat production.
California White is a combination of California Grey rooster and White Leghorn hen. This breed belongs to the heavy class of hybrid chickens. Most of its physical attributes are from White Leghorn. Broodiness, docility, and hardiness are taken from Barred Plymouth genes.
California White Chicken Characteristics
As mentioned above, California White chicken is one of the hardy chicken breeds for your backyard. Their longevity and laying ability exceeds that of breeds such as White Leghorn and others.
As the name suggests, the mature hen color is white with a few spots of black. However, the chicks are covered with black. Features such as wattles, combs, and earlobes are red. Besides, adults have a single comb.
California White chickens are also versatile. What this means is that they can do well in local conditions and perform excellently in free-ranging environments.
They are great winter layers in addition to being adaptable to all seasons. These birds are more energetic than most chicken breeds that slow down in their egg production during autumn.
– Size & Weight
California White chickens are a great addition to your backyard. They tolerate confined places well, making them ideal for urban setups. Males’ standard size is about 7lbs (3.2kg) while hens can weigh an average of 5.5 lbs (2.5kg).
There is no known California White Bantam version yet. In general, California White chickens are good-looking birds with upright style similar to the Mediterranean types of chickens.
If you decide to add California White chickens to your existing backyard flock, you should first know their behavior. These lovely birds are usually energetic but can be a little bit flighty or aloof when you interact with them.
Even though you can allow them to free-range in your backyard, California Whites can fly higher than most average chickens. So, when you let them roam your backyard make sure they are well contained.
While most chicken keepers describe California White chickens as “distant” and “aloof”, some owners find them to be interactive and very social. Their interaction involves both humans and other chickens. Overall, this breed of layers is adaptable, and friendly, making it suitable for beginners.
If you are an experienced chicken keeper, you should know that the lifespan of your birds depends on their respective breeds. Environment and genetics also come into play when it comes to how long a certain type of chicken can live.
On average, California White chickens can live about 5 years. With proper care and protection from predators, these prolific egg layers can live to 7 or 8 years. Besides predators, there are other factors that can affect the life expectancy of California whites, such as:
- Better genetics
- Control of diseases and parasites
- Improved housing
- Proper sanitation
- Improved diet
- Veterinary care
All these improvements are necessary for all backyard chickens and not just for California Whites only. Extra care should be taken seriously to help protect your flock of California White chickens.
– Egg Production
California White chickens are among the most commercially preferred layers by hatcheries. Typically, these birds start laying eggs at the age of 17 weeks. On average a California White hen can produce between five and six white eggs per week.
In one year, a single hen is capable of laying at least 300 eggs. All these eggs are usually large, which makes California White layers popular for commercial egg production.
If you have four of these layers you might stand a good chance of collecting a dozen or so eggs per week. This number of eggs can feed your family and still have enough to sell or trade with close friends, next-door neighbors, or other family members.
What is more, this breed of backyard chickens is active in laying eggs across all seasons when other breeds stop. This means that you will always have an endless supply of eggs from your flock of California White chickens.
– Meat Production
Although the main reason for keeping California White chickens is for egg production, this hybrid can also be used for meat production. This happens more often when layers start producing a low number of eggs. When this happens, most hatcheries send their California White chickens to the slaughterhouse.
On the other hand, California White roosters are mainly raised to fertilize eggs (in the case of breeders) or to provide meat for most families. Make sure to check with your local ordinances to know if roosters are allowed within your zoning areas before you start raising them.
This is because some states or cities have strict laws and regulations regarding roosters, especially in residential areas.
Some rules may encourage you to have a few roosters provided that they don’t make a lot of noise that can upset your neighbors. This is where the “no-crow collars” come to help reduce the crowing sound to a more manageable faint noise.
California White Chicken Care
Generally speaking, California White Chickens are wonderful backyard chickens. These birds are not only hardy but also easy to look after. Above all, they are excellent egg layers, capable of producing around 300 white eggs annually.
As a sex-linked chicken crossbreed between a Gray California roosters and a White Leghorn hen, California White has some of the best traits you can find in most poultry.
Check out below how you can take care of these lovely backyard chickens:
– Feeding & Nutrition
Just like other animals, California White chickens need a nutritionally balanced diet to stay active, healthy, and productive. Bear in mind that these chickens are raised mainly for commercial egg-laying. This should tell you that most of their diet must contain lots of proteins and calcium. These two essential nutrients play an integral role in the production of high-quality eggs.
Since they are layers, your California Whites should be fed on layer mash. A few pellets and crumbles can come in to enhance their diet while some treats should be given occasionally to supplement their dietary needs.
You can also allow your birds to forage in the backyard. Doing so will expose them to worms, grubs, and bugs which are a great source of proteins. Free-ranging your chickens help them acquire other nutrients by feeding on different types of grasses and herbs found in the backyard.
Water is also as important to you California White chickens. Chickens need two times the amount of water as their feed. Therefore, if you give them 1 pound of food to eat, make sure to provide them 2 pounds of fresh, clean water to drink.
Housing for your poultry is another essential requirement that you should consider first. Your California White coop should provide enough space for your birds to live comfortably. The coop should be well-ventilated, secure, and safe to keep predators away. It must also be easy to clean and maintain.
– Health Problems
Keeping chickens is not difficult at all. The challenge comes in where issues such as health problems arise. Here are some of the common health problems you are likely to encounter when raising California White chickens:
- Picking or cannibalism
- Egg eating
- Chicken mites
- Foot injuries
- Chicken diseases
Out of these problems, chicken diseases are the most dangerous since they can wipe out your entire flock within a short time. Some of these diseases can be parasitic, viral, bacterial, or fungal. It is always a good idea to put the well-being of your flock first. Identify each problem and solve it as soon as it occurs. Most importantly, seek veterinary services all the time.
California White is one of the sex-linked breeds of chickens. It has the best traits from each parent. Sex-linked breeds are usually created when you select the correct female and male breeds to mate.
In this sense, a California Gray rooster can mate with a White Leghorn hen to produce a California White chicken hybrid. It is wise to remember that hybrids do not breed true. So, a male California White chicken and female California White chicken will not produce offspring that bear their traits.
California White chickens are ideal for your small backyard because they can withstand small spaces. These excellent egg layers are also suitable for different climatic conditions. They can thrive in both cold and warm climates.
Even though they produce lots of large, white eggs, these birds require low maintenance. Just provide them with enough feed, water, and better living conditions and they will supply you with enough eggs for your family.