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California Tan Chicken Breeds – Everything You Need To Know

California Tan Chicken Breeds – Everything You Need To Know

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The California Tan chicken is one of the best egg-laying hybrid breeds. This breed is a great option for those who want to raise a medium-sized flock.

This will ensure a constant supply of eggs throughout the year. Under good care and proper nutrition, a California Tan hen can lay around 300 eggs annually.

These adorable chickens are also easy to keep and maintain. They are sometimes confused with the California White chickens.

However, the two only share a common name, but they are entirely different breeds with different specifications.

If you plan to add the California Tan Chickens to your backyard flock, then you have come to the right place.

This article will discuss everything you need to know about the California Tan Chickens, including their physical appearance, egg-laying, and personality. Keep reading to learn more.

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What Is A California Tan Chicken?

The California Tan chicken is a hybrid that was developed after careful breeding between the White Leghorn and the Rhode Island Red.

The breed was developed to give the best out of both worlds, which is laying many eggs.

The Rhode Island Red is a dual-purpose chicken breed that provides meat and lays around 270 eggs annually.

On the other hand, the White Leghorn is a pure breed chicken that can lay up to 280 eggs annually.

If you combine these two egg-laying breeds, you will get a hybrid bird that can lay about 300 large brown eggs annually.

These birds have become more popular among egg producers because of their high egg production.

Another reason why they have become so popular is that they can be raised under any climatic conditions.

Appearance And Breed Standard

Since the California Tan chickens are not a pure breed but rather hybrid chickens, they are not recognized as a standard breed. 

They have medium-sized bodies with lean stature. This is the reason why they can fly higher.

Their slender bodies are because of the high egg production, where most of the energy is used in laying eggs.

They have white feathers with red or blackish highlights on the feathers on some parts of their bodies.

These birds have a dark-colored upper beak and a single comb. Their comb and wattles are rose red.

Hens usually have leaner bodies with short tails pointing backward. On the other hand, roosters have larger combs and wattles, broader chests, and tail feathers that point upwards.

A mature California Tan hen weighs 4 pounds, while a mature rooster weighs 6 pounds. 

Egg Laying And Meat Production

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The California Tan is a hybrid breed that is bred specifically for egg production. They tend to follow the footsteps of their parents, the Production Red and the White Leghorns.

They are preferred by many backyard chicken keepers and commercial hatcheries because of their high egg production rate.

Hybrids chickens are mainly raised to improve egg production. The California Tans have not failed their breeders as they have managed to offer a high egg production rate.

If you are looking for a chicken that will offer you many eggs for domestic, commercial, or business purposes, this is one of the breeds to consider.

If you just want to raise a small flock in your backyard, this breed will ensure that you have enough eggs to eat and even have more to share with your family, immediate neighbors, or friends. 

Under proper nutrition and good care, a California Tan hen can lay up to 300 eggs annually. Their eggs are larger and brown.

The egg production rate tends to lower as the birds age. Therefore, you can slaughter them if you realize a drop in their egg production due to old age.

Because of their medium-sized bodies, these birds are not considered ideal for meat production. 

Personality And Temperament

California Tan chickens are loving and friendly birds that will do well in any backyard flock. Since they are docile and non-aggressive, you can raise them alongside other birds in your backyard.

Because of their docile nature, they can be victims of bullying in the flock. Therefore, you should only raise them alongside chicken breeds that are also friendly and non-docile.

These birds get their personality and temperament from their leghorn parents. They are active chickens that love to forage. While they prefer to free-range, they can also do well in confinement. 

The California Tan chickens fly quite well because of their small bodies. Therefore, you will need to ensure your backyard is well-fenced if you allow them to free-range.

They love to work for their food and are very efficient at it. You will often find them roaming around the backyard, looking for tasty snacks.

These chickens are very strict with the pecking order and enjoy staying in groups. You should have one rooster for ten hens to lower the level of competition which can lead to stress and aggressiveness.

Like roosters of most other chicken breeds, your California Tan rooster can be a bit aggressive. They will tend to fight any intruders and predators to protect the rest of the flock.

Health Issues

California Tans are healthy birds born without any hereditary health issues. They are self-reliant chickens and can tolerate both hot and cold climates.

Although they do not have any known health concerns, they are sometimes susceptible to common health issues that affect both purebred and hybrid chickens.

The common challenge that you will have to deal with is parasites, such as mites and lice. You will need to regularly check your birds for these parasites and treat them.

Other issues are egg-binding problems and stress due to neglect. In addition, your chicken may suffer from a prolapsed vent which is common among obese hens. 


One of the good things about these chickens is that they are light eaters. Therefore, they are good for those who are raising chickens for the first time or those who may not afford plenty of chicken feed.

Since they are good foragers, you can allow them to free-range insects and bugs in your backyard.

Once they are fully grown, you should offer them a 16% layer feed. During the molting season, you can increase the protein content in their diet to around 20% to help them through a hard time.

In addition, your chickens should have insoluble grit and oyster shell in separate containers. The oyster shell will ensure your hens have enough calcium to aid in the formation of strong eggshells. 

Coop Setup

Since California Tan chickens are small-sized birds, they will not need much coop space.

However, the space should not be too small since they are active chickens that will love moving around the coop. The standard 4 square feet per chicken will do good for them.

For roosting space, the standard 8 inches of roost per bird will be enough. It will give them enough space to spread out in the summer and snuggle up in the winter.

They will also require 12×12 inch nesting boxes. The size is too small to allow double bunking and large enough for your birds to move around in.

If you are raising them in confinement, they will need a chicken run to keep them active. You should keep them busy and active with different things for them to explore.

Piles of leaves, perches of different heights, and tree stumps can help them to stay busy.

Difference Between California Tan Chickens And California White Chickens

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It can be very difficult to tell the differences between these two breeds if you put them together. Both of them are born from a process of genetic mixing. 

California White chickens are a cross between the California Grays and the White Leghorns. On the other hand, California Tans are a cross between the Production Reds and the White Leghorns. 

California Whites have white feathers, while California Tan chickens have red feathers, which can sometimes have black or brown spots. 

In addition, there is a difference in the color of the eggs they lay. While California Tan chickens lay brown eggs, California White chickens lay white eggs. Apart from these differences, their characteristics are almost similar.


California Tan chickens are friendly and non-aggressive birds that can do well in any backyard flock. They are prolific layers that will ensure you have a sufficient supply of eggs throughout the year. 

These adorable birds can tolerate any climatic conditions. They are sometimes confused with the California White chickens. However, the two are totally different varieties.

If you are looking for a chicken that will ensure you have a steady supply of eggs throughout the year, you can consider this breed.

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