Leghorn chickens are fascinating creatures. They are full of life and funny little quirks. But how much do you really know about the Leghorn? Today, we are going to blow your mind with interesting facts about Leghorn chickens. By the end of this article, you will want to run out and grab a few Leghorns for your flock as well.
Leghorn Chicken Origin
The first interesting facts about leghorn chickens is their origins. These beautiful birds originate from Tuscany, Italy. And they first came to the USA in 1828 from the port of Livorno. We actually get the name “Leghorn” because it is the English variant of Livorno.
It didn’t take long for these chickens to become one of the most widely known chicken breeds across the USA. We even have famous Leghorns. Foghorn Leghorn from Looney Tunes is one of the most recognized chickens. And chances are, most of the cartoon chickens you see today are also Leghorns.
Eggs, Eggs, Eggs
White Leghorn chickens are egg producers like you have never seen before. You can expect a Leghorn chicken egg production to be 4-6 extra-large white eggs every week. That equals 280-320 eggs per year! All you need is a couple of Leghorns in your flock to have enough eggs to go around.
Early To Start, Late To Stop
Not only will you get plenty of eggs from your hens, but you also get them for longer. Leghorn chickens start laying between 4.5-5 months old, and they don’t stop until they are 3-4 years old. That means you will get about 600-1,100 eggs in one Leghorn’s lifetime.
Any other breed of chicken that produces this many eggs doesn’t have long laying years. At most, you might get two years from a different laying breed. So owning a Leghorn pays for itself. You will be drowning in delicious white eggs before long.
Not A Broody Bunch
You would think that a breed that lays so many eggs would go broody often. But the opposite is true of these hens. Your Leghorn chickens will go broody less frequently than the average hen due to selective breeding. If you ever try to breed your Longhorn, you might want to keep the incubator ready.
Not only does the Leghorn produce a ton of eggs, but they also make decent meat birds. The average hen will weigh 5 pounds while roosters weigh up to 7.5. So once these birds finish laying, they make decent table birds.
One of the most noticeable Leghorn chicken characteristics is their wattles and combs. Leghorn chickens come in either a single comb or rose comb variety. If you live in harsh winter conditions, the best choice for you is the rose comb. These birds have gone through selective and precise breeding to make them a cold-hardy bird.
This isn’t to say that your chickens won’t need any winter precautions. You should still insulate and ventilate the coop according to winter standards. And you should also keep a close watch on their floppy combs as these are prone to frostbite. A bit of vaseline daily and high ventilation will prevent this, though.
And the best part is that most Leghorns keep producing eggs throughout winter. So while your other hens might slow to almost a halt, your Leghorns will keep on laying.
Some interesting facts about Leghorn chickens are their impeccable health. These birds don’t have the intense genetic traits that make them prone to illness. And even for chickens who produce so many eggs, they have excellent reproductive health.
So if you are new to owning chickens, the Leghorn varieties are a great option. These chickens are so healthy that they have long lifespans. Your Leghorn chicken lifespan will be around for 4-6 years with proper care.
All of the egg talk is wonderful, but are Leghorn chickens friendly? While the Leghorn is a great producer, they aren’t famous for their perky dispositions. You might find that your Leghorns are more flighty than most chicken breeds. They don’t make the best pets, but they are fascinating to watch.
Your Leghorn will spend most of her day foraging and looking for things to get into. They also tend to bully other hens in the pecking order. So if you have a laid-back flock, the Leghorn might not be the best fit.
Most roosters act very differently than hens, and the same goes for Leghorn roosters. The White Leghorn rooster is known as one of the most aggressive rooster breeds. They often don’t care for human interaction and well-known for attacking their owners. For that reason, they aren’t the best breeds for children or in flocks with other roosters.
Your rooster will protect his hens with his life. He takes this duty seriously and does an excellent job. Not only does he sound the alarm when danger is near. But he also breaks up fights in the flock and accounts for all hens every night. You will love your roo in a way like no other.
Are They A Quiet Breed?
Leghorns are not exactly a quiet bird. They often chatter and squawk all day, every day. Their noise can especially get loud if there is an argument in the pecking order. So if you have a small yard in a neighborhood, these birds might not be the best option.
We recommend keeping the coop at the furthest end of your property. This placement will prevent your birds from disturbing you throughout the day. It can also help you get a little more sleep as these chickens like to get up early to get out.
If you live in the suburbs, the Leghorn might not be the best option either. Just because they aren’t bothering you with their noise, they might disturb the neighbors.
Leghorn chickens tolerate confinement when necessary. But these chickens prefer to have free-range of their pastures to run and forage. If kept in runs, you will need to be sure that your hens have more than 10 square feet per bird.
If your Leghorns feel too cooped up, they will let you know. Leghorn hens will start to chatter and squawk frequently to get out. They might even resort to fighting each other for space and food.
But even if your run is large enough, you will need to take a few precautions to keep them happy. Things like landscaping and providing plenty of foraging and boredom busters to keep your hens busy. If your hens don’t have enough to do, it won’t matter if your run is oversized.
Save On Food
What do Leghorn chickens eat? The truth is that they will eat anything and everything. Since your Leghorns prefer to forage, they will get most of their food on their own. They love things like slugs, beetles, grains, and weeds. If you let your Leghorns out in the yard to free roam, they will eat very little feed.
But you should still give them feed twice a day according to their age. And because these hens lay so many eggs, you will want to provide them with plenty of calcium as well. Your Leghorns will gobble up crushed oyster shells to give you the highest quality eggs.
And of course, you can give your chickens treats. Some kitchen scraps, fruits, vegetables, and scratch are all great and healthy snacks for a laying flock.
Leghorn Chicken Colors
The most notable Leghorn coloring is white. But did you know that Leghorns also come in several other varieties? The Black, Barred, Silver, Red, Buff, Golden, Columbian, and Brown Leghorn are also very popular. And each of these colors comes in either a single comb or rose comb. So there is no end to the possibilities.
For the most part, these chickens all act the same. They are all excellent layers and have similar dispositions. But some of them are bred specifically for their unique color, and others for calmer temperaments. The biggest advantage of these variations is that you can have a beautifully colored flock with one breed.
What The Breed Is Used For Now
And our last interesting facts about Leghorn chickens is what they are for. If you have ever bought white eggs from the supermarket, chances are, it came from a Leghorn. The industry picked up quickly on these hen’s fantastic ability to produce quality eggs for prolonged amounts of time.
Because of the Leghorn’s popularity, most chicken egg farms consist of mostly Leghorns. Some argue that this also means that they are one of the most abused breeds in the industry. That is because these hens are in cramped quarters with no room to move or breathe. But if you want the fresh eggs that you know and love, it’s not hard to get started with a small flock of your own.
So Do You Want A Leghorn?
With so many great qualities, it’s easy to understand why people love them. But they aren’t the right choice for everyone. But now that you know these interesting facts about Leghorn chickens, you are better prepared.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!