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Can You Identify This Mystery Chicken Breed?

A Mediterranean heritage chicken with an important, I say, important history in egg production, this mystery breed is the most common bird in the U.S.

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by Chickens Magazine HQSeptember 1, 2021
PHOTO: Faenkova Elena/Shutterstock

Chickens and other poultry members come in all sizes, shapes, colors and personalities. Nearly 400 recognized breeds and varieties of poultry exist, including large fowl and bantam chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guinea fowl.

Using our watercolor illustration, a few selected hints and the following photo, can you guess which breed we have in mind?

The answer to our mystery breed question is below. But first, some hints!


Hints

  • This Mediterranean breed came to America via Italy.
  • Hens of this breed lay between 280 to 320 medium-sized white eggs each year.
  • It was used as a foundation breed for the modern egg-laying hen.
  • Boy, I say boy, this famous cartoon rooster with a voice like a foghorn was one.
leghorn chicken photo
jmfonzy/Pixabay

Mystery Breed Answer

The mystery breed depicted above is the Leghorn! If you’re a fan of classic cartoons, then your first encounter with the Leghorn breed might well have been an animated one. Foghorn J. Leghorn, the mischievous, loudmouth rooster with a penchant for pranks, ruled the barnyard in Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. 

Today, the Leghorn is the most common breed of chicken in the U.S., key to the country’s commercial egg industry. 

This chicken breed’s appeal isn’t purely industrial, however. To discover why heritage poultry breeders and small-flock owners alike are falling back in love with this unique egg-laying machine, click here for a profile of the majestic heritage breed!

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This article originally appeared in the July/August 2021 issue of Chickens magazine.

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