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FFA Project - White Leghorns?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

My son is working on an FFA project, and has finished his coop and ready for his hens.  He is planning to buy white leghorn pullets.  Is this a good breed for him?  At what age do they ususally start laying and then at what age to they stop laying.  This is be his first time having chickens, so I'm sure we have lots to learn.  Thanks for your help!!

post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamamy 

My son is working on an FFA project, and has finished his coop and ready for his hens.  He is planning to buy white leghorn pullets.  Is this a good breed for him?  At what age do they ususally start laying and then at what age to they stop laying.  This is be his first time having chickens, so I'm sure we have lots to learn.  Thanks for your help!!


That depends.  What are his goals for this project?  He will do much better with his project if he has clear goals from the beginning and it will help him determine if a given breed is appropriate for him or not.  Is he looking to sell eggs?  Chicks?  Showing?  Breeding?  What's the market for white eggs in your area? Are they going to be confined to the run/coop or is he planning to free range all or part of the day?  For pure egg laying ability, it's hard to beat production white leghorns.  They are very efficient in their feed use and supposedly handle confinement well.  But they can be more flighty than heavier egg laying breeds.  Leghorns can also be great foragers, which makes them good for free ranging, but white birds may be more easily picked off by predators.

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your reply.   To answer a few of your questions, his goal is egg production.  According to his research, they are very productive layers.  And their eggs are high quality.  He has built a very nice coop (12 x 16 feet) .  It has a nice run as well.  He does not plan to allow them to free range.  What age do they start and stop laying?

Thanks again!!

post #4 of 13

They should start at around eighteen to twenty weeks of age.  He ought to get about a year of laying from them once they do then they'll need to molt.  They'll slow their laying during that period, but most of them should continue to produce eggs just at a slower rate.  Once the molt is finished they'll pick up again, but not quite as many as in their pullet year.  The ones they do lay will likely be somewhat larger than before.

I have a pen full of Murray McMurray Pearl White Leghorns and like them right well.  They're a light bodied active breed so if he wants them to be calm he needs to act calmly and deliberately around them and not do things that may startle them.


Edited by A.T. Hagan - 4/14/11 at 12:09pm
Chance favors the prepared mind.
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Chance favors the prepared mind.
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post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your reply.  I just wanted to make sure that the breed he was chosing is a good match for him and his objective.  This is probably a silly question, but he is going to look at some this weekend.  How do you tell the hens from the roosters at  8 to 9 weeks of age?

post #6 of 13

If the chicks are 8-9 weeks, Leghorns are really easy to tell the difference in gender.  Look at the combs (on top of the head) and waddles (the kind of droopy things just to the side/below the beaks).  A cockerel will be quite red, and significantly bigger and redder than a pullet.  A pullet will be very, very pale pink in those areas, and very small combs and waddles.

I raised some white leghorn(ish) chicks last year, and I could easily tell gender well before the 8-9 week mark.  If you want, I can try to dig up some pictures of my pullets and my cockerels together so you can see.

I will say that my white leghorn is definitely the flightiest, least friendly of my chickens.  She's not as much fun as a pet because she's still very spooked by people.  However, she is a fantastic layer.  She didn't start laying til she was a good 5 months old though.

Hatch Cam is not live. Next hatch will be SEBASTOPOL GEESE! Will go live apprx  May 1. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/wendywr1

 

I have 20ish chickens, including legbars, FBCM, polish, EE and OE

http://acaptivechicken.blogspot.com

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Hatch Cam is not live. Next hatch will be SEBASTOPOL GEESE! Will go live apprx  May 1. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/wendywr1

 

I have 20ish chickens, including legbars, FBCM, polish, EE and OE

http://acaptivechicken.blogspot.com

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post #7 of 13

Leghorns are flighty, but my roo is the first to greet me in the morning on my porch. He won't hesitate for a treat and he is one of the best roosters I've ever had.

4 white hens, 1 blue Andalusian hen, my old turkey hen, 2 australorp hens, 3 buff orp hens, 2 RIR hens, 1 black Sumatra hen, too many game hens, and 8 guinea fowl plus many many fish and shrimp.
A video of my flock

Flock eating a treat

My Cherry Shrimp
The chicken is no less complex than man :)

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4 white hens, 1 blue Andalusian hen, my old turkey hen, 2 australorp hens, 3 buff orp hens, 2 RIR hens, 1 black Sumatra hen, too many game hens, and 8 guinea fowl plus many many fish and shrimp.
A video of my flock

Flock eating a treat

My Cherry Shrimp
The chicken is no less complex than man :)

Reply
post #8 of 13

My white TSC Leghorn started laying at 17 wks.  Never stopped during her molt or during the unusually cold winter.  She was the only on laying.  Good luck on your sons project.

   Retired Nurse

Buff Orpingtons, White Rocks, Brown Leghorns, Lavender Americanas, Easter Eggers and Black Aussies

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/654681/florida-always-sunny-side-up-chicken-swap#post_8835572

 

Memorial Thread

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   Retired Nurse

Buff Orpingtons, White Rocks, Brown Leghorns, Lavender Americanas, Easter Eggers and Black Aussies

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/654681/florida-always-sunny-side-up-chicken-swap#post_8835572

 

Memorial Thread

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post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamamy 

Thanks for your reply.  I just wanted to make sure that the breed he was chosing is a good match for him and his objective.  This is probably a silly question, but he is going to look at some this weekend.  How do you tell the hens from the roosters at  8 to 9 weeks of age?


By that age the combs on the males will be noticeably larger than those on the females.

Chance favors the prepared mind.
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Chance favors the prepared mind.
Reply
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

You guys are so nice to answer all of these questions.  I do have one more though.  We are going to look at two sets if chicks tomorrow.  One are 10 - 12 week old pullets, and the other are 8 - 10 week olds.  I'm sure there is a difference in quality of chicks...just like any other animal.  Can you tell me some characteristics we should look for to help assure they will grow to be quality hens?

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