Leghorn or other "laying" chicken vs. Dual purpose?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Feb 25, 2010
I have heard that leghorns are some of the best layers, but I was wondering how much better do they do than the dual purpose (RIR's, Plymouth Rocks). Also, is the leghorns good to eat once they stop laying productively?
I think leghorns are pretty scrawny...not good eating. I think the egg laying is comparable to a RIR or the sex links. Of course the leghorn will lay white eggs though.
Leghorns are the best layers. They dont require as much feed as brown egg layers,this is why they are used for egg production commercially. My experience with them is when they are ready to lay an egg,they dont mess around. They go take care of business and immediately leave the nest letting everyone know they layed an egg. I've had several occasions when my leghorn has layed 2 eggs in one day. They might make a good stew, I dont think there's much meat on them.
When you look at it by the pounds of feed required to get a dozen eggs I don't think there is anything out there that can be a decent White Leghorn. On the ground I find them to be hard working birds that really hustle when it comes to foraging. There's a reason why they are the most common laying breed in the world and have been pretty much since the beginning of commercial egg farming.

The downside is that they are a very active breed that does not agree with some folks who call them panicky or nervous. They also lay a white egg that many folks who want "farm fresh eggs" do not want. And when it comes time to butcher them they are the proverbial rubber chicken. They'll make great soup, but you're not going to use them as roasters.

The nearest thing you'll get to a Leghorn in the brown egg breeds is a good sex-link. They'll approach a Leghorn in egg laying if well managed though it'll cost you more in feed. They are usually a larger bird so butcher out to more meat. The down side is that they are hybrids so will not breed true if you want to hatch your own.

If you want a breed that can reproduce itself then I recommend Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshires, Barred or White Rocks, or White Wyandottes. None of them are used commercially anymore for egg laying or broilers, but upon a time they used to be up until about the mid-twentieth century. They'll still lay decent, if not as well as a good sex-link, and they'll butcher out to a nice carcass if not as well or as tender as a modern Cornish cross hybrid, but you can hatch their eggs and get more of what you started with.

Thanks for the great tips! I appreciate it. I'm definitely liking the RIR's and the Plymouth Rocks, which is good, because I think that's what I've got!

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