California Grey

Average User Rating:
  • Breed Purpose:
    Dual Purpose
    Climate Tolerance:
    All Climates
    Egg Productivity:
    Egg Size:
    Egg Color:
    Breed Temperament:
    Less flighty
    Breed Colors/Varieties:
    Breed Size:
    Large Fowl

    From the Privett website:

    "California Greys are a breed cross of Barred Plymouth Rocks and White Leghorns. Mature hens weight is 4.5 pounds. This breed is one of the most efficient white egg producer of breeds or crosses that are not primarily white."

    From the Stromberg website:

    "The California Gray is a single comb, clean legged variety that originated in the U.S. Developed during the 1930's by crossing White Leghorns with Barred Plymouth Rocks. Great layer of white eggs"

    They are said to be among the least flighty of the white laying breeds they are dual purpose. Roosters reach about 5.5 lbs and hens about 4.5

    California Gray chick

    California Gray hen

    California Gray rooster
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  • Chicken Breed Info:
    Breed Purpose: Dual


    Broodiness: Rare

    Climate Tolerance: Cold Hardy

    General Egg Info:
    Egg Productivity: Good to Excellent
    ven in Winter

    Egg Size: Large

    Egg Color: White

    Breed Temperament: Calmer and less flighty than other white egg layers

    Breed Colors / Varieties: Cuckoo with hens being quite a bit darker than Roosters.

    taken from an article found here:
    Breed Details:
    by Kim Dieter

    Created on: April 03, 2010
    The California[​IMG] Gray breed of chickens was developed in the United States to be a dual-purpose breed. The hens lay large white eggs and both roosters and hens are meat producers. However, the California Gray breed was never recognized officially by the American Poultry Association and today the breed is rare with few raised in the United States.

    In 1908, Dr. Horace Dryden, a professor at the Oregon[​IMG] Agricultural College (now known as Oregon State University) experimented by crossing white Leghorns and Barred Plymouth Rocks. White Leghorns are small white chickens known for excellent white egg production. Barred Plymouth Rocks are a very popular heavy breed of dual-purpose chickens with alternating black and white stripes. In 1927, Dr. Dryden moved to Modesto, California, and started the Dryden Poultry Breeding farm. The Leghorn and Barred Rock crosses were sold as California Grays, a high producer of white eggs.

    California Grays are an autosexing breed. Very young cockerels (males) are a lighter color than the young pullets (females). Thus the sex of the young birds can be easily determined by color. The roosters are barred with light gray and white stripes. The hens are also barred but with very dark gray or almost black and white stripes. The color is similar to a Barred Rock but the body style more resembles the Leghorn breed. The chicks are black with a white spot on the top of their head. The abdomen, chest and wing tips are also white.

    California Grays are heavier than the Leghorn breed but not as large as the Barred Rock breed. The roosters average 5.5 pounds and the hens 4.5 pounds. They have a red single comb and small white earlobes. The eyes are reddish-brown and the shanks and toes are yellow.
    California Grays produce large quantities of white eggs. They are well known for their winter egg production in cold climates.

    The California Grays are described as having a quieter temperament than Leghorns. They are not as flighty. California Gray roosters have been crossed with white Leghorn hens to produce the California White hybrid. California Whites are known as a hardy breed and are excellent white egg layers.

    Because the American Standard of Perfection has not accepted the California Gray, it is not subject to classification by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
    Ekarius, C. (2007). Storey’s illustrated Guide to poultry breeds. Storey Publishing.

    Chicken Breed Photos:

    Primary Image







Recent User Reviews

  1. willchickeneat
    "Smaller birds, not too loud"
    Pros - Smaller, eats less feed.
    I have 2 that are about 3 months. They are smaller than some easter eggers/welsummer that I grew out at the same time, so I ended up putting them with my 2 month juvie run. Even though they are smaller, they don't get bossed around when put with the adults. Just waiting a few more months when to see how soon they'll lay.
    Purchase Price:
    Purchase Date:
    March 2018


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  2. dheltzel
    "Excellent layers"
    Pros - Started laying at 5 months, lay nearly every day
    Cons - More nervous and flighty than most breeds
    The first pullet laid an egg at exactly 5 months of age and before they were 6 months old, I was getting 20 eggs from 24 pullets. None of my other breeds come close to that. I am using them to produce black sexlinks that lay blue eggs by putting an Ameraucana roo over them. I'm pretty sure this cross will be a great layer of blue eggs.

    They are similar to leghorns in temperment, much more nervous than the Barred Hollands I used for the sexlink cross the previous year. Once they matured they were considerable calmer.
    Nyla likes this.
  3. Lady of McCamley
    "Very Pleasant White Egg Layer"
    Pros - Good layer of medium size eggs, good feed to egg ratio, smaller bird
    Cons - A bit flighty, not overly friendly, mine lay a medium sized egg
    Overall I am pleased with my 2 California Greys. This is the first opportunity I've had to assess the breed, though they've been on my wish list for a number of years, as they are harder to find even in my area, which is close to where the breed was originated. That original line is long lost, so I've been told, so what the hatcheries have today are a crossing of White Leghorn and Barred Rocks. This makes for a smaller bird that is a bit skittish but calmer than the Leghorn. It keeps the same feed ratio as the Leghorn and likewise lays very well if not quite as prolific as the WL. However mine continue to lay a medium size egg though slowly gaining in size their first laying year vs. the large to extra large of the WL or Brown Leghorn. I would get them again as I like having the nice stark white egg against the dark browns and greens of my other layers but would prefer a larger egg size. Hopefully that will come in their second season. The Cal Greys are calmer and less noisy than the Leghorns I've had, but definitely less inquisitive than Barreds, which actually I kind of prefer as my Barreds have been too curious to the point of annoyance. The Cal Greys keep to themselves, are a bit wary, yet still come to the shake of the treat bucket, though shy away from any hand contact. Most importantly they overall remain quiet. Good foragers as well and seem hawk savvy. Overall productive and useful for a white layer.

User Comments

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  1. DeerChicken14
    It would be fun to have one of those.
  2. Silkies for life
    Do they have a good temperment?
  3. zephyr16
    One of mine still hasn't started laying. Perfectly healthy but has smaller comb and wattles than the other and are the same age, 7 mo.
      Youngxq likes this.
  4. Bronco rob 94
  5. zephyr16
    My 2 California Grey's have not started laying yet. They are 22 weeks and my RIR and Silver Laced Wyandottes have been laying for 1-2 weeks now. All my eggs are brown and light brown. No white. When do they normally start laying.
  6. zephyr16
    I have 2 California Grey Hens and they are precocious! Very inquisitive!
  7. dheltzel
    The black sexlinks are excellent layers. The blue color fades as they get farther into their laying season because they can't produce enough pigment to keep up with the number of eggs. Hard to fault them for that, but if you want really blue eggs, go with a Cream Legbar or Ameraucana. You will get fewer, but bluer eggs.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. dheltzel
      "Black Sex Link" is a genetic condition that uses the sex-linked barring gene to allow chicks to be sexed at hatch by the white head spot on the males. These males grow up to be single-barred males, looking a lot like their mothers. The females remain completely black, lacking any barring genes.
      dheltzel, Jul 31, 2018
    3. dheltzel
      I make my "blue egg black sexlinks" with a female barred white egg layer (California Grey) and a male black chicken with blue egg genes (Black Ameraucana). Blue eggs are dominant, so the all black females lay light blue eggs. They are hands down, the best layer of blue eggs I know of, even outlaying Cream Legbars. Your BSL are from a hatchery and they use barred rock hens with another brown egg layer as the father, usually a RIR. The resulting black females lay a lot of brown eggs.
      dheltzel, Jul 31, 2018
    4. dheltzel
      If you used a black Ameraucana over barred rock hens, you would get green egg black sexlinks.
      dheltzel, Jul 31, 2018
  8. Dead Rabbit
    How did this cross do?
  9. Lady of McCamley
    Up date on these gals...and they are still laying strong. Size has come up to a nice large. I can count on white eggs almost every day from them and they are going on year two. A bit flighty, but definitely quieter than a White Leghorn. A good choice for white eggs.
  10. free burd
    Strombergs is a drop shipper company (don't ask me how that works) those birds come from Privett as well. Also, the quality of other Privett breeds that I have seen around town and at swaps and the county fair are exceptional, so they are doing something right. Order in confidence.

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