Breed Profile: Cubalaya Chicken

Breed Profile: Cubalaya Chicken

Part of our Breed Profile series, learn more about the Cubalaya chicken, a Cuban breed.


The gorgeous Cubalaya chicken is now recognized as a Cuban breed, but they were developed from Sumatran and Malay birds brought from the Philippines to Cuban in the mid-19th century and then re-crossed with several European game fowl breeds. They were first recognized in 1935 as a distinct breed by the Asociacion Nacional de Avicultura (the Cuban national poultry association). First shown in the U.S. in 1939, the Cubalaya was recognized as both a standard and bantam breed by the American Poultry Association.

Cubalaya rooster, photo courtesy of The Livestock Conservancy, by Frank Baylis


Primary Use: Meat
Friendly, temperate, and curious
Medium-sized standard breed, medium to large bantams
Egg production annually:
150 to 200, eggs are on the small size
Egg Color:
green- to brown-tinted
Average Weight:
Standard adult cocks average 6 pounds (2.40 kg), while adult hens average 4 pounds (1.59 kg). Bantam cocks weigh around 1.6 pounds (740 g), while hens top out at 1.3 pounds (625 g).

Black-breasted Red Cubalaya Rooster. Adobe Stock/The Nature Guy

Physical features

Cubalaya were selectively bred for wide, extended “lobster” tails carried about 20 degrees upright. They have a pea comb, curved beak, and long hackle feathers. While they come in a variety of mixed colors, the most common (pictured above) is the black-breasted variety. Roosters typically have red necks and backs, while hens are a dark-wheat to cinnamon color.  Both cocks and hens tend to lighten as they age.

Cocks have been bred to be spurless to keep young males from injuring each other.

The breed is a slow-maturing one, reaching full adulthood by 3 years.

Red Cubalaya Hen, Adobe Stock/The Nature Guy


The hens are consistent layers with calm dispositions and good mothering instincts. Chicks tend to be friendly and not too skittish.

Health and Safety

Cubalaya chickens have no unusual predilections for disease or illness. They’re healthy, calm, beautiful birds.

Further Resources

The Livestock Conservancy
American Poultry Association
American Bantam Association

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