PHOTO: cskk/Flickr
Hobby Farms Editors
February 4, 2011

Use: The Leghorn breed is noted for extraordinary production of large chalk white eggs. A smaller lightweight breed, they are efficient converters of feed to eggs. Not particularly useful as a meat breed though cockerels can be used as small fryers. They are hard to beat for egg production. The White Leghorn is the foundation of the modern commercial egg industry worldwide.

History: The Leghorn is an Italian fowl, originally bred for high egg production in Northern Italy. They were imported into the United States in the 1830’s and admitted into the first American Standard of Perfection in 1874. Leghorns are recognized in 16 varieties; Single Comb Dark Brown, Rose Comb Dark Brown, Single Comb Light Brown, Rose Comb Light Brown, Single Comb White, Rose Comb White, Single Comb Black, Rose Comb Black, Single Comb Buff, Rose Comb Buff, Single Comb Silver, Rose Comb Silver, Single Comb Red, Single Comb Black Tailed Red, Single Comb Columbian, Single Comb Golden Duckwing. Other non-recognized varieties include Mille Fleur and Exchequer and Blue. They are classified as a Mediterranean Breed.

Conformation: Leghorns are sometimes referred to as a breed of ‘curves’. Their body type viewed from profile should be a sweeping curve from the top of head down the neck to the back and from the base of the back across up the tail. They should also have a smooth sweeping full curve from up on the well-rounded breast across the underline. Leghorns are a smaller breed, but special attention should be paid to avoid underweight specimens. Standard weights: Cock: 6 lbs., Cockerel: 5 lbs., Hens: 4 ½ lbs, Pullet: 4 lbs.

Special Considerations/Notes: Leghorns are an active, sometimes flighty breed. Increased egg production correlates with flightiness. They are non-sitters, rarely exhibiting any signs of broodiness. Commercial hybrid leghorns are often much smaller than the listed Standard weights and will likely lay at a higher rate and often lay larger eggs than standard-bred Leghorns.

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