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The origin of the Master Gray chicken breed is hidden by a veil of secrecy. There are two versions explaining where this meat and egg cross came from. Some believe that these chickens were bred in France, others that they were bred in Hungary by the Hubbard company.
In which country, in fact, the breed was bred is unknown, because the ownership of the Hubbard company itself is shrouded in mystery. The company is international and they did not bother to indicate the address of the head office on the website. There are breeding centers in several countries, and their representatives work all over the world. The company's products come to Russia from Hungary. But the breed received its first recognition in France 20 years ago, hence the opinion arose that it was bred in this country.
Description of the breed of chickens "Master Gray"
Chickens of the Master Gray breed were named for the color of the plumage, which is dominated by gray feathers with randomly scattered individual white and black feathers. The speckled pattern is most clearly seen in the neck and along the edges of the wings. On the body the speck is oiled.
Chickens have powerful legs that support a large body. Laying hen weight 4 kg, roosters grow up to 6 kg. Master Gray chickens begin to lay even earlier than industrial egg crosses.
Attention! If egg crosses are laid from 4 months, then Master Gray starts laying eggs as early as 3.5 months with a productivity the same as that of industrial breeds: 300 pieces per year.
Meat without excess fat, very tender. The large yield of dietary meat makes the chicken suitable for making baby food. And there are also those who wish for large meaty legs.
Chickens Master Gray are very docile and have a phlegmatic temperament. They can be tamed very quickly. However, all crosses are distinguished by the absence of fear of a person. Many owners, having got chickens of this breed, refuse to keep ornamental chickens.
In the photo cross Master gray:
Warning! Although Master Gray has a well-developed hatching instinct, it is not recommended to breed the breed on your own.
Since this is a cross, genotype splitting takes place in the offspring. Even genius genetics will not be able to breed a cross on their own using parental breeds, for the simple reason that the original breeds are kept secret. Therefore, you will have to purchase chickens from Hubbard.
The chickens themselves can be used to incubate eggs from chickens of other breeds, but this may turn out to be unprofitable if we are not talking about rare and expensive breeds for sale.
The disadvantage of the Master Gray chicken breed can be considered too slow in comparison with broiler crosses, weight gain.
Important! Birds gain full weight only by 6 months.
Plus in private households - chickens easily lay 200 eggs a year, but they do not reach 300 eggs. According to the owners, this may be due to the fact that it is impossible to provide the best conditions for keeping poultry in the backyard, similar to those in poultry farms.
However, the same is observed in the personal backyard and when growing broilers, which is why the myth arose about the addition of steroids to broiler feed in poultry farms.
The breed of chickens Master Gray is distinguished by high adaptive abilities and is unpretentious in keeping. But it still imposes minimum requirements for its content. All requirements are dictated by the exceptionally large size of the chickens.
Attention! It is necessary to keep Master Gray in a dry, well-ventilated chicken coop, where sand-ash baths must be installed without fail.
The chickens could satisfy the instinct of felting in the dust by bathing in sawdust, but ash is what is needed. Chickens need to bathe in ash to destroy the feather eaters that settle in the feather cover. Without sand, too light ash will quickly scatter throughout the chicken coop, without bringing any benefit. To prevent ash from flying everywhere, it is mixed with sand.
The calculation of the area for chickens is done taking into account the fact that Master Gray chickens need much more space than ordinary chickens. Therefore, one square meter of floor area should have no more than two chickens of this breed.
For winter maintenance, the chicken coop is insulated and equipped with infrared lamps. In addition to warmth, these lamps provide additional lighting on short winter days, helping to keep egg production at a high level.
In principle, Master Gray feed for chickens does not differ from feed for any other breed of chickens. If there is no goal to feed chickens like broilers, then Master Gray does not provide feed especially rich in protein and carbohydrates.
Actually, feeding broilers and egg chickens differs in that broilers focus on protein and carbohydrates, while egg feed contains large amounts of vitamin E, calcium and protein.
Master Gray is fed at least 3 times a day. Grain is given in the morning and in the evening, and in the afternoon, herbs, vegetables and a wet mash with bran and chicken. If there is a green area with weeds, you can let the chickens go for a walk.
In the diet of chickens, there must be feed of animal origin: bone, meat and bone, blood or fish meal. For the strength of the shell, chickens will need mineral supplements in the form of ground eggshells, chalk or shellfish. Grains, herbs and vegetables form the basis of the diet.
In the photo, day old chickens Master Gray:
Grown up chicken Master gray:
Chickens under the age of one month should receive feed with a high protein content: finely chopped hard-boiled eggs, meat, chopped fish. It's also a good idea to add greens. You can use ready-made feed for chickens. But you need to be more careful with compound feed, because when using compound feed for broilers, the chickens will grow faster, but they will not rush.
Important! When feeding small chickens, it is important not to overdo it with animal feed.
In addition to protein components, grains are also needed. From the first day, you can give boiled millet mixed with an egg. Although chickens with access to sand can digest raw cereals.
From a month and a half, chickens are added "heavy" cereals: ground barley and wheat, - with a high carbohydrate content. The increase in feed consumption occurs with the growth of the chick. For each kilogram of the gained weight of feed, the following is consumed:
- up to 2 weeks - 1.3 kg;
- from 2 weeks to 1 month - 1.7 kg;
- from 1 to 2 months - 2.3 kg.
For normal development, chicks should not lack food. To avoid malnutrition and the struggle for food, where the stronger will inevitably push the weaker away from the trough, it is better not to skimp on feed and give it in abundance so that everyone can eat their fill.
Other breed variants
The mysterious breed "Master Gris" is still the same "Master Gray", but in the French interpretation of this name.
Attention! In Russia, the Master Gray breed has another name: Hungarian giant.
This is due to the fact that this breed of chickens comes to Russia from Hungary.
Based on the same parent breeds, Hubbard has developed another line with a red color, which is called "Foxy Chik" (literal translation "fox cheek"). Another name for this breed is "Red Bro". They have similar characteristics to Master Gray, but their plumage is reddish.
The direction of this line is also egg-meat, but breeders believe that Red bro is larger than Master Gray and rush better.
Pictured is a typical Red Bro or Foxy Chick chicken:
Day-old chickens Red bro:
Grown up chicken Red bro:
In addition to the original Master Gray and Red Bro, the firm has already developed two more subspecies:
- Master Gray M - the result of crossing the gray cocks Master Gray and Red bro chickens;
- Master Gray S - the result of crossing Master Gray M roosters and Red bro chickens.
Both subspecies differ from the original breeds in a pale yellow, almost white color, dark edging of the wings and a characteristic gray dot on the crown.
In the photo, the line Master gray M:
And on the bottom photo is the next line Master Gray S, in the color of which there is a little more reddishness.
Since Master Gray and Foxy Chick are similar in their characteristics, chicks can be kept together from day one. In case of warm weather, the chickens calmly walk outside in the aviary.
Reviews of the owners of the Master Gray chickens
Vitaly Valiev, Egorievka village
I have been keeping Master Gray chickens for several years. Before that I tried to buy industrial crosses for eggs, they turned out to be too capricious. They needed a constant temperature in the coop for stable egg production. Master Gray is much less whimsical. They need long daylight hours rather than a stable temperature. They are also unpretentious in feed. To be honest, they do not reach the advertised three hundred eggs a year, but more than 200 are carried regularly even in winter. When buying a large batch of hatching eggs, when the hatched chicks grow up and it becomes clear where the hen is, where the rooster is, I separate them from each other. I feed the roosters with compound feed for broilers, future layers - with feed for egg hens. I buy lots so that the chickens hatch in March. I keep roosters until autumn, layers until next year.
Julia Konakova, Nizhny Novgorod
I ordered eggs of this breed on the farm, knowing almost nothing about it. When hatched, several chicks died within a week. Now I think I did something wrong or were they just weak? I like the rest so much that I really regret that they cannot be bred by myself. In the morning you go out on the porch, they are already waiting. They are not afraid of people at all. Unhurried and important people walk around the yard. And the eggs are large. Weighed, from 65 to 70 g each. I slaughtered the extra roosters, but the hand does not rise to the layers, they really took for the soul. Keep it straight until old age. On the other hand, I don't live off the sale of eggs. It is now compelled to sell superfluous, so that the good does not disappear. They will rush less, and God bless them. Maybe I really will leave until old age. Very tame.
The owner of these chickens very well describes his impressions of Red Bro on the video:
Hubbard chickens are already very popular in the West and are becoming more and more famous in the CIS. They are a very good substitute for broiler and egg industrial crosses in private backyards that require special conditions of keeping.