Chicken Breeds : ‘Leghorn Chickens’

White Leghorn Chickens

white leghorn chicken Of all the Mediterranean fowls, white Leghorns are probably the most popular breed and colour, holding most of the big laying records; the eggs are large and white. Leghorns get very docile in confinement, but on a free range they are good foragers, and are very busy from morning until night. The poultry industry owes a great deal to white Leghorn chickens. The white Leghorn had the distinction for many years of being found on special poultry farms more than any other breed because of its natural inclination to lay very good numbers of large white eggs.

Carol Ehlinger : “My little leghorn is such a sweetheart. I just got her this spring and she laid her first egg yesterday! It was the cutest and smallest egg I’ve ever seen!  Normally leghorns are flighty birds but this one is just a treasure as she is SO calm and I can pick her up at any time. Not sure how she’ll be once we mix her in with the older hens and the rooster. Am dreading that as I want her to stay this way.”

A White Leghorn Trio (video)

Hatching a white Leghorn chick in a chick-bator

Keeping Chickens Newsletter subscriber Tammy Peck first got interested in keeping chickens when she looked after a neighbours flock for a few days. After a little bit of research into hatching her own eggs she ordered a small chick-bator incubator – and could hardly wait for it to arrive 🙂

GQF Chick-Bator

The incubator was set up a couple of days prior to putting in the eggs so the temperature could get regulated. Tammy’s neighbour let her have 3 nice-sized eggs for her new hatching project. She put an X on one side of the eggs and O on the other side of the eggs. Only two eggs would comfortably fit in so one had to be left out. The eggs went in and were turned twice a day (morning and night) for 18 days. On the 21st day like clockwork, one of the eggs started to hatch. 14 hours later and the chick was still trying to come out. The hummidity must have been slightly off and it had become stuck to its shell. Larry, Tammy’s neighbour, came over and used a spray bottle with warm water to spray the chick and its shell very, very carefully to help get the chick work its way out. It worked and the total hatching time was 20 hours 🙂

White Leghorn Chick - Just hatchedJust hatched!

White Leghorn chick at 2 days and 6 days oldWhite Leghorn chick at 2 days and 6 days old

Leghorn pullet at 16 weeks old‘Pippin’ at 16 weeks old

Although there was a bit of peeping from the second egg it unfortunately was not ready or strong enough to start to break the shell and so sadly it did not make it.


four rooster and hen pairs of leghorn chickens in different colours

Leghorn chickens : Single Comb Buff Leghorns, Single Comb Brown Leghorns, Silver Duckwing Leghorns, White Leghorns

Leghorns lay medium to large white eggs and are well known for their egg laying abilities (in the late 1970s a white leghorn set a world record of 371 eggs in a year). They originally came from Italy but became popular in America in the first half of the 19th century and are believed to have spread to England and other countries from the leghorns bred there. They were originally imported from Italy in “all colors except black” but it was the White leghorns and Brown leghorns that were the first to really take hold. Later Buffs, Blacks and Duckwing leghorns were developed in England and exported back. Leghorns mature quickly and the girls are likely to start to lay at around 4 months old. Very rarely will a leghorn hen go broody and they are hardy to the weather so with good care and conditions should lay throughout the year (apart from during moult).

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Seperating the Pullets