Leghorn or Leghorn chicken breed: everything you need to know.

 Leghorn or Livorno chicken breed: everything you need to know.

Where does Livorno come from? 

Originally a brown bird, the Leghorn ("Livorno") was bred in northwestern Italy as a small hen that laid many eggs but did not eat.
These are two reasons why Livorno is still popular in Italy today. The date of their transfer from Italy to the United States is unknown, but it was sometime between the early 1820s and 1850s.
In 1853, there were actually two colors: brown - the first - and white. These remain the two most common colors today.
The white Leghorn, now known as the Leghorn, was imported from the United States to England around 1870, followed by the brown a few years later. It has also not been as popular in the UK as it is in Italy or the US, although it is often used by textile manufacturers due to their large fabrics.

Leghorn or Leghorn chicken breed: everything you need to know.


What does a leghorn look like?

The chicks hatch and grow their wings quickly, which means they can tolerate cooler temperatures than most other chicks.
But unlike Red Stars, another good layer, there is no way to tell the males from the females until they are several weeks old. They both look at the same thing until the comb grows - and the song begins.
As adults, they are small, compact, leathery birds weighing between 4 and 6 pounds. Breeding has created different types including silver, black and buff, but the main thing remains brown and, especially, white.
The comb of the first Leghorns was simple and large. The chicken comb fall to one side, which gives them a funny look.
A male's comb should stand up, even if some fall off. Regardless of its color, Leghorn chickens have beautiful wattles, bright orange eyes, white ears and yellow feet. 

Leghorn or Leghorn chicken breed: everything you need to know.


What climate do they like?

 They are bred to withstand high temperatures. They can cope with extreme cold and hot summer without any problems.
The only real problem can be their large comb that can collapse in the cold. Some American versions of the Leghorn use pink combs to avoid this problem.

What about personality?
The Leghorn is an active bird, always active, usually the first to leave the coop in the morning and the last to return in the evening. They are good for foraging. They like nothing more than to spend the whole day, even on the poorest soil, looking for any tasty food that they can find. 

They also have a little appetite. One of the reasons they are often used as battery hen commercially is that although they are good at laying eggs, they do not require a lot of food. The fact that they are used on battery farms means they are often available for adoption, particularly in the UK, once they are no longer laying eggs every day.

White Leghorn chickens are used commercially in battery cages. A white Leghorn chicken in a commercial battery cage. They are very independent and not the friendliest of chickens. While Red Star is always ready to chat and curious about what's going on, I always find Livorno a little "cough". A small noise scattered them all over the camp.
They also don't like to be picked up, so they're not for you if you're looking for a kid-friendly pet that's open to adoption. That said, mine is a rescue. Having spent the first part of their life with little social interaction, they will not be more friendly than chicks that are raised from 2 or 3 days old, which can become quiet adults. and friends. Male tend to be more active, they are not aggressive. 



Egg leghorn


One of the strong points of Livorno: they lay an average of 300 eggs per year. Unlike other chickens, they don't slow down in the cold, they don't slow down when it's too hot or when they jump. And they continue to lay eggs until they are at least three or four years old.
Things which may problems.

  •  Can be "fear" - they are afraid of the smallest thing. They don't need to be child friendly.
  • Unless you feed them from chicks, they tend to be a little "over the top" - they don't like to be picked up.


  • Although they are good feeders, they are not picky eaters, so take care of your flower beds! 
  • Chickens are not good mothers: Leghorns are bred to lay eggs, not hatch.


  • Combs can be very large and can be frozen. A little Vaseline can help, but it's better to be safe than sorry - make sure your coop is waterproof.

 Where to buy

USA: Cackle Hatchery.
If you live in the United States, I recommend Cackle Hatchery as a supplier of a variety of high-quality chickens. They will provide all stages from eggs to chicks and mature hens, and can send male or unfertilized eggs, depending on the age and type.


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