The Leghorn chicken breed is the standard breed that most commercial egg farms keep. This is because Leghorn chickens mature fairly quickly and have a very high annual egg production rate…
Leghorns are very productive chickens. A Leghorn hen will lay ~150-300 egg annually (for the first few laying years).
The Leghorns’ History
The Leghorn originated in Northern Italy, where it was commonly called the ‘Livorno’ or ‘Livornese’. After being imported to the United States, Leghorns where commonly called ‘Italians.’ They later became known as ‘Leghorns’ which is what they are most commonly called today. The most common color that leghorns come in is white. However, the first leghorns imported to the US in 1852 where brown and many other color variations have been created since… Because of the Leghorns’ adaptability, hardiness, cost efficiency, high egg production and fertility, the breed became very popular in the U.S. In fact, the Leghorn is still the choice breed for a large percentage of chicken egg farmers today.
Leghorns are slightly built chickens. Female Leghorns weigh ~4-5 pound and male Leghorns weigh ~5-6 pounds. Leghorns’ legs are yellow and clean (no foot feathers). Their beak is also yellow, often with orange markings on the upper portion.
There are two comb types recognized by the APA (American Poultry Association): Rose Combed and Single Combed.
Single Comb Color Variations (recognized by the APA):
Dark Brown, Light Brown, White, Black, Buff, Silver, Red, Black-Tailed Red, Columbian andGolden Duckwing.
Rose Comb Color Varieties (recognized by the APA):
Dark Brown, Light Brown, White, Black and Silver.
Maintenance, Activity Level & Hardiness
Leghorns are very hardy, adaptable chickens. They love to forage and scratch pretty much wherever they find themselves. However, they do not eat as much as many other egg-laying breeds. This combination makes the breed very cost efficient and practical for free range chicken-keepers/egg-farmers. However, Leghorns are superb fliers. For this reason, care must be taken when fence height is being determined.
Leghorn hens are generally friendly, inquisitive chickens but some leghorns can be the flighty. Leghorn roosters have a shadowy reputation for being aggressive towards people. However, not all, or even most Leghorn roosters are this way.