The California Tan chicken is among the hybrid breeds that make excellent backyard chickens. This breed is easy to keep and maintain and best of all, it’s a prolific egg layer if you’re looking to raise a medium-sized flock that will produce loads of eggs. Now, you may have heard of the California White, which is a crossbred between the California Grey rooster and the White Leghorn hen. But, for the California Tan?
The California Tan lays large brown or tinted eggs. It manages to lay around 300 eggs annually, which is a feature it has picked from its parent breeds. To those that have heard of the California White, it’s good to note that these two hybrid breeds only share a common name. Otherwise, they’re entirely different breeds with different specifications. So, let’s discuss the California Tan chicken in detail.
What Is a California Tan Chicken?
The California Tan is a chicken breed that’s considered a hybrid. This chicken was developed after careful breeding between the Rhode Island Red and the White Leghorn. Its main purpose as a hybrid is to give the best out of both worlds, which is the production of many eggs.
The White Leghorn, for instance, is a pure breed that lays around 280 eggs annually. The Red Island Red, on its side, is not a pure breed. However, it’s a dual-purpose breed that lays around 260 eggs annually and loads of meat.
So, by combining these two egg-laying breeds, the result is a hybrid chicken that lays 300 large brown eggs annually. This is considered a massive advantage to poultry farmers as the high egg production record of the California Tan means that this chicken can be relied on for commercial production of eggs.
Specifications of California Tan Chicken
|Lifespan||Around 5 Years|
|Weight||Roosters: 7 Pounds; Hens: 5.5 Pounds|
|Egg Production||Around 300 Annually|
|Egg Size & Weight||Large Brown Eggs|
|Temperament||Docile & Friendly|
|Plumage||White Feathers with Shades of Black or Red|
Differences Between California Tan Chicken vs. California White Chicken
Most farmers usually search for California Tan chicken information before raising this breed. The reason is simple. Most people tend to confuse the California Tan with the California White. Since they share the same White Leghorn parent, these chickens usually appear similar in appearance with just a few differences.
Now, looking at the similarities, both of these birds are hybrids that produce the same number of eggs annually. Both have slender bodies with weights that range from 5.5 pounds for the hens to 7 pounds for the roosters.
Both breeds are single combs and have almost identical plumage. They’re both docile breeds and can fly higher than most other chicken breeds.
About their differences, California Tan chickens produce brown or tinted eggs while California Whites produce pure white eggs.
About the plumage, California Tans have pure white feathers, just like the Leghorns, but with red or black highlights against the white feathers. On the other hand, California Whites have pure white plumage with black spots on their tail and lower back feathers. Note that, these black spots are not common, meaning some California Whites might not have them.
Physical Appearance and Breed Standard of California Tan Chicken
About the breed standard of the California Tan, this chicken isn’t recognized as a standard breed as it’s not a pure breed but rather a hybrid. Regarding their physical attributes, these chickens are very similar to the California White chickens but with minor visible differences.
Their bodies are medium-sized with lean stature that allows them to fly higher. I guess their slender bodies are caused by the high egg production where most of the energy is used in laying eggs. The hens have leaner bodies with short tails that point backward. Roosters have broader chests, larger combs and wattles, and tail feathers that point upwards.
About the plumage, California Tans have pure white feathers with visible reddish or blackish flecks on most parts of the body. They have yellowish beaks though some chickens have beaks with dark shades.
Productivity of California Tan Chicken (Egg Laying and Meat)
The California Tan chicken breed is a perfect example of a hybrid breed that’s bred specifically for laying eggs. This chicken tends to follow the footsteps of its parents, the White Leghorn and the Production Red, which are purebreds preferred by most commercial hatcheries for their high egg production rate.
In most cases, hybrids are raised to improve egg production. As a hybrid, the California Tan has not failed its breeders as it has managed to offer a high egg production rate. With such an excellent production rate, this breed is a perfect fit for farmers who are looking to mass-produce eggs for commercial or business purposes.
To those looking to raise just a small flock, having the California Tan means that you’ll have enough eggs to cater to your personal demands and maybe have more to share with your friends, family, and immediate neighbors. Something else about the eggs is that they’re usually large and brownish-tinted in color.
Regarding meat production, the California Tan is not an ideal pick as it’s only a medium-sized bird that weighs around 5.5 pounds for the hens and up to 7 pounds for the roosters. But, as hybrids, egg production usually tends to lower within the 2nd or 3rd year. So, if you notice your chickens have slowed down egg production due to old age, then perhaps you can slaughter them and have them for dinner.
California Tan Chicken Characteristics (Personality and Temperament)
If you’re planning to add California Tan Chickens to your existing backyard flock, then it doesn’t hurt to learn about their behavior. To your surprise, you’ll be happy to learn that these chickens are docile and very friendly just like most other breeds.
When mixed with other chickens, the California Tan is well-behaved and will never start fights or bully other chickens. I guess they might have picked these wonderful traits from their parents, the White Leghorn and the Production Reds.
Both hens and roosters are very friendly towards humans and will occasionally follow you around to get picked up and cuddled. These birds enjoy staying in groups and are very strict with the pecking order. Therefore, to lower the level of competition, which leads to stress and aggressiveness, you should have the right ratio of hens to roosters, which is mostly one rooster in every ten hens.
Other than that, the California Tan is a hardy breed that tolerates harsh climatic conditions. This chicken can survive in both high and low temperatures.
Common Health Issues of California Tan Chicken
Now, the California Tan chicken breed is one of the simplest breeds to raise as a poultry farmer. These chickens are excellent free-ranging birds that enjoy foraging in search of seeds, worms, bugs, and leftover foods around the backyard.
Although they don’t have any known health concerns, these chickens are sometimes susceptible to various health issues that affect both hybrid and purebred chickens. Some of these problems include parasites such as mites and lice, stress due to neglect, egg-binding problems, and prolapsed vent, which is common if your hens are obese.
About your chickens being neglected, California Tans are chickens that enjoy companionship, either from humans or fellow chickens. So, in case they feel bored or stressed, they can easily develop cannibalistic behaviors by picking their feathers and eating eggs.
Required Environment for California Tan Chicken
The California Tan chicken is a breed that ticks most check boxes for breeders that search for excellent egg-laying birds. Since they produce lots of eggs, these chickens are ideal for farmers planning to start commercial eggs business.
These chickens are also low maintenance as they’re not susceptible to any known health conditions. These chickens are excellent foragers that enjoy moving around searching for food.
They’re also less noisy making them great backyard chickens in quiet environments. Something else about these chickens is that they adapt well to both hot and cold climates. However, as single comb breeds, California Tan chickens require special care in cold climates to avoid being frostbitten.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Raising California Tan Chicken
- High Egg Production: The first benefit of raising California Tan chickens is that they can produce high amounts of eggs. These chickens average 300 eggs annually, which is enough for commercial production.
- Hardy: The California Tan is a chicken that adapts well to both warm and cold climates. Some breeders call it a “winter wonder” due to how it adapts well to cold climates despite having a single comb.
- Large Eggs: Back to egg production, the California Tan is among the breeds that lay large eggs. So, whether they’re for selling, for consumption, or for baking purposes, the eggs are large and perfect. Also, the California Tan chicken egg color is brown or tinted.
- Easy Maintenance: Lastly, this hybrid chicken is cost-efficient and very easy to raise. It’s an avid free-ranging bird that enjoys confinement and free-ranging at the same time. It’s also calm making it easy to mix with other breeds.
- Less Meat Produce: If you’re raising the California Tan to harvest their meat, then this bird is not the best pick. These chickens have slender bodies that prevent them from producing enough meat.
- Rarely Goes Broody: Another major setback with California Tan chickens is that they rarely go broody. I think these hybrid chickens have inherited this feature from their parents, the White Leghorn and the Production Reds, which rarely go broody.
Raising Tips for California Tan Chicken
Feeding & Nutrition
Starting with feeding, California Tan chickens are hybrid breeds that demand a high level of care when it comes to feeding them. Since these chickens produce enormous amounts of eggs annually, they need a well-formulated feed that consists of lots of proteins and calcium.
A rich balance of these two essential nutrients means that your chickens will lay high-quality eggs that will not only be delicious but hard-shelled.
Since these chickens mass produces eggs at a very high rate, they need a layer mash. You can also add crumbles and pellets to enhance their diet and lots of supplements, herbs, grasses, and treats such as Arugula and pickles to strengthen their immune system.
Another California Tan chicken information you should have is that of housing. Now, as hybrids, California Tans are chickens that can perform in both confinements and open free-range systems. When it comes to the coops, these chickens demand enough space to live comfortably.
Since they’re excellent layers, the nesting boxes should be large enough to cater to the demands of your chickens. The coops should be safe and secure to keep predators away and well insulated/ventilated depending on the weather conditions.
As for a free-ranging system, your chickens should have enough backyard space to forage without interfering with other members of the flock.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. When Do California Tan Chickens Start Laying Eggs?
As we have already discussed, the California Tan is a great choice if you’re looking for a chicken that lays a high number of eggs annually. While their parents, the Production Reds and the White Leghorn, begin laying at around 18 – 20 weeks, the California Tan begins its egg-laying journey at around 17 – 18 weeks.
Q2. What’s the Life Expectancy of California Tan Chickens?
As hybrids, California Tan chickens have a life expectancy of 2 – 4 years. However, with special care such as a balanced diet and ideal coop conditions, these chickens can last for up to 5 years. In most cases, these birds are believed to have a shorter lifespan than their heritage sisters due to their high egg production.
Q3. What is Coccidiosis Infection?
Coccidiosis infection is a very deadly intestinal infection that affects the intestinal lining of a chicken. This infection is caused by a parasitic invasion that damages the intestinal tract of a chicken preventing it from absorbing essential nutrients that are vital to its growth.
Common symptoms of this infection include diarrhea, pale comb, low egg production, weight loss, and lack of appetite among others.
The most common form of treatment for this infection is giving your chickens an Amprolium dose to prevent these parasites from multiplying. The dose can be given orally or added to drinking water if your chickens are feeding well.
As you can see, the California Tan chicken is a breed that thrives in both warm and cold climates. This chicken has white plumage with reddish or black flares. It’s a beautiful chicken to keep in your backyard as it’s docile and very friendly.
As a hybrid breed and a descendant of the White Leghorn and the Production Red, the California Tan is a prolific egg layer that produces up to 300 eggs annually.
That said, whether you’re looking to learn about its temperament, meat and egg production, its appearance, or California Tan chicken egg color, this guide has offered you every bit of information you might need regarding this unique hybrid chicken.
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Hello, I am John Reid. I have been raising chickens for the last 15 years. I have got my experience from my father. My father is the owner of a large chicken farm. This is our family business that has been continuing for over 35 years. I am very interested in backyard chickens and I know how to take care of them. You can learn more About Us here. Happy Reading!!