For those seeking to produce large numbers of eggs for their backyard coop, meet the Smokey Pearl chicken. This breed is known for its hardiness, excellent egg production, and pleasant personality.
On top of that, this chicken is considered by many to be a great choice for first-time fowl owners. It can be kept in an urban setting or on a small farm — and it loves being around children.
In this article, you will find information about Smokey Pearl chickens, including their appearance, temperament, lifespan, health concerns, and more. So be sure to read all the way through!
Smokey Pearl Chicken Overview
|Gray with ghost barring
|Docile, friendly, gentle
|4–5 eggs per week; 200–280 eggs per year
|Known for Hardiness:
|Suitable for Beginners:
What Is a Smokey Pearl Chicken?
The Smokey Pearl chicken, alternatively spelled as Smoky Pearl chicken, is a medium-sized fowl that’s known for its distinctive gray coloration. It is not a recognized breed but rather a hybrid formed from crossing different types of chickens together.
To be specific, the Smokey Pearl chicken breed is believed to have been formed by breeding two dual-purpose chicken species, particularly the California Grey and the California Tan.
Another theory suggests black sex-link roosters were mated with female White Leghorns to produce this hybrid chicken. Yet, despite its mixed origin, the Smokey Pearl has become quite popular among backyard chicken fans.
Overall, it’s safe to say that Smokey Pearl chickens are proof that careful crossbreeding can yield robust and unique fowls.
Smokey Pearl Chicken Appearance
The Smokey Pearl chicken is an interesting breed in terms of its appearance. Beginning its life as a yellow-pigmented chick, this fowl gradually grows into a gray-colored adult chicken.
For your reference, here’s a photo of a young Smokey Pearl:
Its plumage isn’t just gray, though, as it’s speckled with tiny black spots that add a somewhat distinctive dimension to its overall look.
Moreover, note that a fascinating feature of Smokey Pearl chickens is their “ghost barring,” a subtle pattern that may appear on their feathers. This can vary from chicken to chicken, making each Smokey Pearl slightly unique.
Aside from their plumage, a couple of other traits stand out in Smokey Pearls. They possess a single, red-colored comb and a small, similarly red wattle.
Meanwhile, you will notice that their clean legs are often tinged with an orange hue.
Watch this video to see what Smoky Pearl chickens look like in action:
How Big Do Smokey Pearl Chickens Get?
Smokey Pearl chickens fall into the mid-sized category. However, as they mature, these hybrid fowls exhibit noticeable size differences based on gender.
For instance, female Smokey Pearls typically weigh between 3 and 4 pounds. On the other hand, male Smokey Pearls are usually heavier, averaging from 4 to 6 pounds.
One thing to remember about the Smokey Pearl chicken, though, is it doesn’t have an American Poultry Association (APA) breed standard. Hence, some may grow to be smaller or larger than this average size.
Further, several factors can influence a Smokey Pearl chick’s final height and weight. Its genetics, health, and the environment it lives in all play a role.
Egg Production of Smokey Pearl Chickens
The Smokey Pearl chicken is a reliable egg layer. On average, a hen of this kind can lay eggs 4 to 5 times a week. This translates to a substantial annual production of between 200 and 280 eggs.
To add to that, the eggs laid by Smokey Pearls are not just numerous but also substantial in size. Each egg is typically large and has a brown shell. These attributes make Smokey Pearl eggs a practical addition to any coop.
However, it’s important to remember that egg production can be affected by a few factors. For example, in winter, Smokey Pearl hens may lay fewer eggs.
Also, like many chicken breeds, the Smokey Pearl’s egg production tends to decline after the first two or three years. This decrease is natural and can be expected with age.
Lastly, female Smokey Pearl chickens are not known to be broody. Simply put, they do not prefer to sit on their eggs. This trait can make it difficult for these fowls to hatch their own chicks.
Smokey Pearl Chicken Temperament and Behavior
Smokey Pearl chickens are renowned for their docile, amiable, and gentle streak. They are not just calm birds but also quite sociable, making them excellent companions for humans.
Specifically, their gentle behavior extends even to children. These fowls tend to be patient and forgiving with the often unpredictable behavior of young kids.
When I was growing up, I’d spend summers at my grandfather’s farm, where he had a coop full of Smokey Pearl chickens. I fondly remember their gentle demeanor.
One day, he let me tag along to feed them. As a ten-year-old city kid, I was nervous; however, the Smokey Pearls were just as my grandpa described. They were amiable and didn’t mind my clumsy attempts to handle them.
In addition, the Smokey Pearl breed is an excellent choice for novice chicken keepers, as its hardy nature makes it easier to manage and care for when compared to other chicken breeds.
Smokey Pearl Chicken Lifespan and Health Issues
The lifespan of a Smokey Pearl chicken typically ranges from 4 to 5 years, similar to other medium-sized breeds. Yet, their health and longevity can be influenced by various factors, including diet, environment, and disease.
Below are some common health issues that can affect Smokey Pearl chickens:
- Avian Influenza: Avian influenza, also known as bird flu, is a viral infection that can affect Smokey Pearl chickens. Symptoms include coughing, lower egg production, and respiratory distress.
- Salmonellosis: Salmonellosis is another illness that Smokey Pearl chickens might face. It’s a bacterial infection causing diarrhea, loss of appetite, and weakness.
- Coccidiosis: Smokey Pearl chickens, like other poultry, are susceptible to coccidiosis, a parasitic disease affecting the intestinal tract. Signs of this condition include a bloody stool, ruffled feathers, and decreased activity.
While the Smokey Pearl chicken breed is generally hardy and resistant, it can still fall prey to common poultry diseases. Thus, to ensure your Smokey Pearls will live long, it is vital to do health checks regularly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Smokey Pearl Chickens Good Egg Layers?
Yes, Smokey Pearl chickens are good egg layers. In fact, a Smokey Pearl hen can lay around 200 to 280 eggs annually.
However, it’s vital to note that Smokey Pearls aren’t typically broody. This means they don’t often sit on their eggs to hatch them.
In short, although these chickens are excellent layers, they might not be the best choice if you want to increase your flock.
What Age Do Smokey Pearl Chickens Start Laying?
Smokey Pearl chickens generally start laying eggs around the age of six months. It’s a fairly standard age for many chicken breeds to begin egg production.
Yet, keep in mind that some fowls may start a little earlier or later, depending on their health and environment.
What Color Are Smokey Pearl Chicken Eggs?
If you’re raising Smokey Pearl chickens, you can expect to collect brown, large-sized eggs from your coop. These eggs provide a delightful contrast to the grayish coloration of the breed.
Are Smokey Pearl Chickens Friendly?
Yes, Smokey Pearl chickens are known for their friendly nature. They are sociable and enjoy human interaction. All in all, they make wonderful companions for chicken enthusiasts.
Overall, Smokey Pearl chickens offer a notable combination of beauty, temperament, and productivity. If you have any further insights or questions about the Smokey Pearl breed, drop them in the comments!