The Smokey Pearl chicken is a stunning and unique breed that is becoming increasingly popular among backyard chicken keepers. This breed is a relatively new addition to the chicken world (introduced just in 2023), but it’s quickly gaining popularity due to its unique coloration and friendly disposition.This breed guide will tell you everything you need to know, so you can decide if the Smokey Pearl chicken is right for your backyard or small farm.
Overview of the Smokey Pearl Chicken Breed
Here is a summary of the Smokey Pearl chicken:
|Ghost barred gray
|Docile and friendly
|200-280 eggs per year; 4-5 eggs per week
|Egg Size & Color
|Large, brown eggs
|Low to Moderate
History of the Smokey Pearl Chicken
The Smokey Pearl chicken breed is not a real APA-recognized breed but a hybrid that has been trademarked by Hoover’s Hatchery. This hybrid was recently introduced in the 2023 catalog as a “calmer brown egg layer.” Not much is known about the breed, including the original two parents. It is believed that Black Sex-Links, California Grays and Tans, and White Leghorns were used in the breeding of Smokey Pearl chickens, but there is no telling. Furthermore, you should know that you cannot get any more Smokey Pearl chickens by breeding them together. Hybrids do not breed true.
Physical Characteristics of the Smokey Pearl Chicken Breed
If you’re looking for a unique and eye-catching addition to your chicken flock, look no further than the Smokey Pearl chicken. Hoover’s Hatchery calls their unique coloring “ghost barring,” as the plumage is a stunning pearl gray color that has some iridescence when hit by the sun. You may also notice that there are some black splashes on the Smokey Pearl chicken. This is caused by an autosomal trait among Black Sex-Links.
Most Smokey Pearl chickens have single red combs, yellow beaks, and medium-sized wattles. They also have slightly yellow legs that are clean of feathers.
The Smokey Pearl rooster is slightly larger than the hens and has longer tail feathers, as well as a bigger comb. You can expect the hens to be around 4 pounds, while the roosters are between 5-6 pounds.
This video gives you a good visual of what Smokey Pearl ladies look and sound like:
Smokey Pearl Chicken Temperament and Personality
When it comes to temperament, Smokey Pearl chickens are known for being friendly and docile. They are a great choice for families with children or novice chicken keepers. As a breed, Smokey Pearls are also known to be good with children and other pets, making them a great addition to a family flock. They are not aggressive and do not have a tendency to peck at other chickens.
In addition to their pleasant disposition, Smokey Pearl chickens are also known for their curious nature. They love to explore their environment and will happily scratch around in the dirt for hours. They are active birds and enjoy free-ranging in a safe, secure area.
Despite their active nature, Smokey Pearls are also content with living in a coop and run environment. As long as they have plenty of space and stimulation, they will be happy and healthy.
Also, while Smokey Pearls tend to make some noise, they aren’t exceptionally loud. You should be able to keep them, even with neighbors around.
Smokey Pearl Egg Laying
The Smokey Pearl chicken is a great addition to any backyard flock not just for its beauty, but also for its egg-laying abilities. This breed is known for being a consistent and reliable layer of large brown eggs, with an average of 200-280 eggs per year. When you consider that Smokey Pearl chickens may have some Leghorn in their background, their egg laying abilities make sense.
Smokey Pearl hens typically begin laying at around 5-6 months of age, which is earlier than some other breeds. They are known for their ability to lay eggs throughout the year, even during the winter months when daylight hours are shorter.
One thing that sets the Smokey Pearl apart from other egg-laying breeds is its tendency to lay larger-than-average eggs. These eggs can weigh up to 75 grams, which is almost double the weight of a typical large-sized chicken egg. This can be a great selling point for those who sell their eggs or want larger eggs for cooking.
Another aspect of the Smokey Pearl’s egg-laying abilities is their consistent egg production. Unlike some breeds that may lay for a few weeks and then take a break, the Smokey Pearl tends to lay consistently throughout the year. However, it is important to note that like all chickens, their egg-laying abilities may decrease as they age or when molting.
Do Smokey Pearl Chickens Get Broody?
If you want a chicken who is going to sit on eggs, you may want to look elsewhere. While Smokey Pearl hens may get broody, the chance is moderately low. You can anticipate these hens not sitting on the eggs they lay. This is good for those who do not want to hatch their own chickens. That said, do keep in mind that your Smokey Pearl chickens do not breed true. Anything that hatches from the egg of a Smokey Pearl hen is going to be something else!
Caring and Raising Tips for Smokey Pearl Chickens
Smokey Pearl chickens are a relatively healthy breed and don’t have any major health concerns. Knowing that, you should still provide them with the best level of care possible. That said, being that these are hybrid chickens, their lifespans tend to be shorter than heritage breeds. You can expect your Smokey Pearls to live between 4-5 years, though their health will impact their longevity.
Here are some care and raising tips for healthy Smokey Pearl chickens:
Start your Smokey Pearl chickens with a good starter feed that has plenty of protein, around 20%. From there, your grower feed should have been 16-18%. Later, 16% is enough, though you can boost that to 18% when your hens are molting.
Like any chicken, Smokey Pearls require a balanced diet of chicken feed, which should be high in protein and nutrients. Supplementing their diet with fresh fruits and vegetables is also beneficial. Since Smokey Pearl hens do produce a lot of eggs throughout the year and never stop, you may also want to supplement their diet with calcium. You can do this by providing some crushed oyster shells.
Additionally, you must keep your Smokey Pearl chickens well hydrated. These chickens are rather hardy, but they are just as susceptible to heat exhaustion or stroke in the summer. Make sure you are providing them with hydrating snacks, too.
Housing and Nesting Boxes
Smokey Pearls need a comfortable and secure coop to sleep in at night, with enough room for them to move around and perch. A good rule of thumb is to provide at least 3-4 square feet of space per bird. The coop should be well-ventilated and provide protection from the elements. On the perches, make sure each chicken has about 8-10 inches of space. Though these are not humongous chickens, they do like to maintain a personal bubble.
As always, you must be mindful of the cleanliness of the coop and nesting boxes. Make sure you are regularly cleaning the area of chicken poop to prevent any diseases and infections from spreading.
Chickens need space to move around and get exercise. Provide them with a fenced area to roam and scratch for bugs and other food sources. Smokey Pearl chickens love to free range, so it is recommended that you give them the space to do so. Since these are docile birds, they will not cause much of a fuss when you fence them in. However, you should consider how much room they require and ensure that the run is spacious enough to supplement their need to wander.
Regularly check your Smokey Pearls for signs of illness, such as abnormal behavior, lethargy, or abnormal discharge. It is also recommended that you routinely use a dewormer in your chicken’s water as a preventative against internal parasites. If possible, consider taking your chickens to a veterinarian who can give them various vaccines to inoculate them against various viruses.
Final Thoughts on Smokey Pearl Chickens
Overall, the Smokey Pearl chicken is a unique and delightful breed that would make a great addition to any flock. They are beautiful, hardy, and friendly birds that are sure to turn heads in your backyard. Their moderate egg production and ease of care make them an excellent choice for beginners and experienced chicken keepers alike. If you’re looking for a visually stunning and friendly breed, the Smokey Pearl chicken may be the perfect fit for you.
Valerie has been content writing since 2016 for websites and companies all around the world. A traveler, dancer, martial artist, Valerie loves gathering experiences and wisdom. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, and she hopes to see more of the world soon.