A while ago I started a series on chicken breeds. I wanted to post about my experience with several different breeds, and which ones I found to be the best when it comes to egg laying. Backyard chickens are becoming increasingly popular here in the U.S. and several other countries. I wanted to give as much helpful information as I can when it comes to chicken breeds and choosing a breed. It can be a little tricky navigating through all the various and multiple breeds of chickens available out there. In an effort to help narrow the choices down I thought I would do a series of blog posts about chicken breeds. I will be covering three categories: egg layers, meat birds, and fancy breeds. Within each category I will be posting about the top three chicken breeds within each category. I kicked the series off with the egg layer category – Barred Rocks. You can read that post here. The breed which I will be posting about today and that is next in the line up in the egg layer category is the Leghorn.
History: The specific origin of the Leghorn is not clear. They are thought to come from breeds originating from Italy. They came to the United States in the 1800’s. According to Wikipedia they were first called “Italians”, and latter were called Leghorns in 1865.
Pros: Leghorns are one of the top egg production breeds, and are the go to breed for many large companies that sell eggs. They can lay anywhere from 280-300 eggs a year. Leghorns are very good at and enjoy foraging, and are smaller framed than other chicken breeds. Both of these traits can help cut down on the feed bill. They do not tend to be aggressive, and get along well with other breeds. They do not go broody which means they will not stop laying, and you will not have to worry about putting them in a separate cage away from the eggs to help snap them out of it. They lay year round, and are not put off by cooler weather.
Cons: Since Leghorns like to forage they are very flighty. They are not a good breed to let free range as they tend to fly or wander off making them more susceptible to being killed by other animals. They also may or may not come back to the coop. It is better to keep Leghorns in a mobile coop, so they can get new growth to forage each day, but can’t wander off. That can be an added burden though of having to purchase a mobile coop, and move them everyday. Leghorns are not good mothers. If you are looking to raise your own chicks you will most likely need to purchase an incubator. Leghorns were bred as egg production birds which means they do not make good mothers. They can tend to be more skittish and easily spooked. They are not good for meat.
Eggs: Leghorns lay white eggs that are considered large to extra large.
I loved my Leghorns. They were faithful layers, and I could count on them just about everyday to have fresh eggs waiting for me. The Leghorns I had were much more shy than other breeds I have had, and they would not let me get too close to them. But they would follow me around the yard, at a safe distance of course, and were never mean or aggressive. Overall we enjoyed them, they were excellent egg producers, and worked well on our homestead. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for high producing egg layers.
Coming up: Meal Plan Monday – Monday, October 10th
Coming up: Fall Front Porch Décor – Tuesday, October 11th
Coming up: Chicken Breeds-Egg Layers 3 – Friday, October 14th
Have a lovely weekend!