If you’re looking for a clucky bird with abundant egg production, the Leghorn Chicken could be the right choice for you! Leghorn Chickens are fairly easy to raise. They like to free-range, scavenging for food such as insects around your backyard. Frequent human interaction from a young age will allow your Leghorn to grow up independent, but friendly towards people. Continue reading to learn more about these chickens.
Quick Facts about Leghorn Chicken
|Breed Name:||Leghorn Chicken|
|Place of Origin:||Italy|
|Cock (Male) Size:||5-7 lbs.|
|Hen (Female) Size:||4-6 lbs.|
|Color:||Mostly commonly white, but can vary|
|Climate Tolerance:||Hardy, except in extreme cold|
|Production:||200 eggs per year|
|Flying Ability:||Good (up to six feet high)|
Leghorn Chicken Origins
Hailing from Tuscany, Italy, Leghorns were introduced to America in the mid-1800s. Their ancestors are unknown. The Leghorn we have today is slightly different from the bird that came overseas. Today Leghorns are smaller than when the breed started and they have become non-brooding, which means the hens aren’t good mothers.
Like the Looney Tunes character, Leghorns are confident and loud. Roosters are the feistier sex, but hens are also known for being quite plucky. Somewhere along the way of breeding, hens became non-brooding, which means they don’t take the best care of their young.
If you want chicks, you’ll probably have to place the eggs under an incubator because these restless girls don’t want to sit still and hatch eggs. They prefer to spend their time strutting around the yard plucking up pests such as insects—as well as seeds from your garden if you’re not careful.
If Leghorns are raised around people, they’re typically friendly or at least tolerant, but these aren’t the best breed to have as a pet. If you are looking to raise a chicken primarily as a pet, consider a friendlier breed such as the cochin.
You’ll get an average of an egg a day, or up to 260 a year from these chickens. Leghorns are excellent egg-layers, but if you’re looking for meat this isn’t your bird. They don’t have much meat on their bones, and what meat they do have doesn’t taste that great. This bird is better to raise purely as a hobby or for laying eggs.
Appearance & Varieties
The standard Leghorn Chicken has white feathers with a red comb in single or rose. The comb refers to the flappy red appendage on top of a chicken’s head. Rose doesn’t refer to the color of the comb, but rather the type.
There are various types of combs in the chicken species, but for Leghorns, there’s single and rose. The single comb is tall and spiked (think the logo for Chick-Fil-A), while the rose comb is relatively flat, bumpy, and close to the head.
While most people picture white feathers when thinking about the Leghorn Chicken, these birds can come in a variety of colors. Some examples include buff, black, silver, red, and various shades of brown.
How to Raise Leghorn Chickens
Leghorns love to free range in the daytime, but they will need a coop for nighttime to give them shelter and hide them away from predators. They will also stay in their coop more in the wintertime because chickens can’t tolerate extremely cold weather.
A Leghorn chicken needs about 3 to 4 square feet of coop space per bird. Keep in mind that they like to fly, so you’ll need a fence about 4 to 6 feet high to keep them from flapping out of your yard.
Are Leghorns Good for Small-Scale Farming?
If you’re looking to raise chickens for egg production or as a hobby, the Leghorn is a good choice. This isn’t the chicken to raise for meat, nor is it a good choice if you have a small space in an urban area so that they can’t roam around. This chicken is best suited for a farm or a suburban backyard with at least some room to forage.
The Leghorn is considered the standard American chicken. Plucky and hearty, these chickens are resilient in every environment except extremely cold weather and tight spaces. If you have a yard for them to forage, consider adding these chickens to your backyard farm or homestead. You’ll benefit from the constant egg supply and enjoy watching their eccentric behavior.
Featured Image Credit: Ivdonata, Shutterstock