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Spotlight Breed Of The Week Leghorns
It’s not exactly clear the origin of the Leghorn (pronounced leg-urn) however, it appears they derived from a lightweight brown breed in Italy around the early 1800s and were known as the “Italians”. By 1850 there were two varieties the original brown version, and white. Years later in the US, they have renamed leghorns after the Tuscan port they were exported from. They immediately became popular for their prolific laying abilities, feed-to-egg ratio, and their rarity to exhibit broodiness resulting in uninterrupted egg-laying cycles that had not been seen before. Although leghorns are a leaner bird their value as egg layers earned them greater appreciation despite their small size. These beautiful birds are clever, alert and are a very active breed. They feather quickly, mature early and the pullets often begin laying at 4 months of age. Leghorns are efficient foragers and are one of the best birds for free-ranging that can avoid predators. The White Leghorn is one of the premier commercial egg-laying breeds of today and produces the majority of the world's crop of white eggs. The American Livestock Breed Conservancy have the Leghorn breed status listed as recovering and is considered a heritage sustainable breed.
Adult Birds description: Short backs, short shanks, low set bodies with graceful curves and long flowing tail feathers. All the plumage of the White Leghorn is white. The Brown Leghorn roosters heads are orange-red, shading to golden yellow toward the shoulders, and then deep, orange-red over their backs. Their tails, wings fronts and breasts are black. Hens are more brown in color with an orangish head and neck. Leghorns have white earlobes and yellow legs.
Baby Chick description: The white variety chicks are pale yellow or creamy white. The brown variety is brown in color and have two light brown streaks down their backs.
Classification Type: Mediterranean Class
Temperament: Flighty, noisy avoids human contact, adaptable to confinement or free range.
Purpose: Eggs laying production
Hardiness: Very hardy
Maturing: 17-20 weeks Mating ratio: 12 females to 1 male
Egg color: White Egg size: Large to extra large
Rate Of Lay: Excellent Eggs per year: 300- 320
Weight: Hen 4 1/2 lbs Rooster: 6 lbs
Pullet 4 lbs Cockerel 5 lbs
Spacing: Confined at all times 7 1/2 square feet per bird. Confined at night only at least 3 square feet of space per bird.
Roost height: 4Ft - 8FT
Life Span: Because Leghorn chickens are productive egg layers, their lifespan is less than the average bird they live to be around 4-6 years of age. However, egg production will decrease each year.
Varieties: Black, Brown, Buff, Dominique, Silver Duckwing, and White.
Other facts: Most breeds that have white earlobes lay white eggs. The unique color pattern of the brown Leghorn helps to camouflage them making it harder for predators to detect them when free ranging.