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The Leghorn: A Prolific Layer from Tuscany

illustration of a leghorn chicken in profile
Image created with the assistance of DALL-E

The Leghorn: A Prolific Layer from Tuscany

Originating in Tuscany, Italy, the Leghorn chicken is a breed renowned for its exceptional egg production and efficient feed conversion. This breed, with its long history and practical attributes, is a staple in poultry farming, especially for those seeking high egg yield.

Origin and Development

The Leghorn chicken, anglicized from the Italian word "Livorno," hails from Tuscany. Its exact origins are unknown, but it is believed to have been developed from several small breeds of landrace chickens in this region. The breed was first exported to North America in 1828 from the port city of Livorno​​​​​​.

Physical Characteristics

Leghorns are known for being smaller and more mobile compared to other chicken breeds. They are active birds, often described as noisy and rarely broody. The breed includes both standard and bantam varieties. In terms of size, large fowl roosters weigh around 6 pounds, with hens slightly lighter at 4.5 pounds​​​​.

Temperament and Adaptability

Leghorns are characterized by their active temperament. They are excellent foragers and adapt well to both backyard settings and small homesteads. Their non-sitting nature makes them less likely to brood, aligning with their reputation as prolific egg layers rather than mothers​​​​.

Egg Laying Capabilities

One of the most significant attributes of the Leghorn chicken is its egg-laying capacity. Leghorns are very productive, laying between 200-250 large white eggs per year. This exceptional egg production, combined with their low feed cost, makes them an ideal breed for those prioritizing egg yield​​​​.

The Leghorn chicken, with its blend of historical significance and unparalleled practicality in egg production, continues to be a valuable asset in the world of poultry farming.

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Jan 17

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