LEGHORNS! Tell me about them.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by shelleyb1969, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. shelleyb1969

    shelleyb1969 Star Bright Farm

    Ok, so here's my newest mind venture. I've been enticed to the Leghorn breed by all of the "hoopla" about their egg production. So now, I'm contemplating getting a few in the spring. I've seen that there are several different varieties, and I can't really decide which is best for me. I live in Michigan, where the winters are bad...very cold. I would like to get at least 4-6 eggs per week. Most of the articles I've read indicate that Leghorns are flighty and spastic. Is this true even if they're handled daily from the time they're day olds? So, with all these factors considered, I'd like to get some opinions on the different varieties...I want to know about them all, from people with first hand experience! Bring on the knowledge!
     
  2. babyboy1_mom

    babyboy1_mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    528
    0
    149
    Apr 13, 2008
    Louisiana
    The only ones that I can give you any input on is the white leghorns. I have owned them in the past and currently only have one left, thanks to a raccoon.

    I will never again own white leghorns. They are good layers, but they are the most flighty, scared chickens that I have ever owned. It did not matter that I hand raised them from chicks. I was afraid that they would hurt themselves whenever I would go out to the pen, when they were trying to get as far away from me as possible.

    I have had the lone one that I have now for 2 1/2 years and she is still scared to death of me.

    As long as you do not plan on holding, petting or even getting close to them, then white leghorns will be good layers for you.

    Hope this helps.

    Dorothy
     
  3. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    7,008
    21
    261
    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    They are flighty and spastic, no matter if you handle them from day one.
    While they do lay almost everyday, they do not lay any better than my barred rocks, sexlinks or rhode island reds which also lay everyday.

    They may not be suited for your climate, they are lighter and have a more slender body than the above mentioned breeds. Their combs are affected by frostbite.

    A heavy breed with a rose comb that lays everyday might be a better choice.

    This chart may help you by giving the specific characteristics for several different breeds.
    http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html
     
  4. FisherMOM

    FisherMOM Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2008
    Bergen, NY
    I have 2 leghorns and they aren't any more scared of me than the rest of my flock. I got them when they were about 3 months old too.
    We handled them everyday, even though they did not like it. While they were separated from my flock, I moved them from the inside dog crate, to one outside so that they could eat grass and play in the dirt.

    Maybe it depends on the leghorn.

    I have 2 chicks right now... leghorn/mutt cross. They are a little scared, but they follow their surrogate momma (who is a cochin), and she is not afraid of us. For the most part though, they are more tame than I expected.
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    The commercial white leghorns are the lines you hear the wonderful egg laying from. I have a handful and I don't mind them myself. They are egg laying machines for their body size, but are only a tiny bit "better" than things like sexlinks and produciton reds. They do lay lots of eggs, but the big single comb and 3lb body might be something to take into consideration if there is high risk of frostbite and cold weather. Mine do fine outside in tractors in the PNW, but our weather is rather "mild" year round.

    Efficent yes, flighty yes!

    Mine freak out like crazy and hate being held, but mine follow my feet to the step and if I stop, I have had them run into the back of my legs. Silly things. They are also often the first to respond to treats and are VERY alert. They will walk right up to you, but as soon as they see you see them, they will panic and run off just out of arms reach. They are so flighty and fast they do well for me in escaping day preds and have only lost one to a coon when it reached in and pulled the chick out from under the brooder's wall.

    They'll require lots of handling and treat giving to be "nice" but won't be prone to be cuddly, although I gave a pair to a family with little kids who each held the chicks for like an hour a day plus numerious hours over them, and they became "friendly" but not as friendly as their production reds who they also had a pair of.
     
  6. shelleyb1969

    shelleyb1969 Star Bright Farm

    I'm thinking that maybe the rosecomb brown leghorns would be best for these cold winters. But I do know that csibb has the whites, and she lives WAY NORTH...up in the U.P....and doesn't really have a problem with hers. And I haven't seen any posts regarding the rosecombs, either.
     
  7. whatsup chickenbutt

    whatsup chickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    317
    3
    131
    Sep 9, 2008
    I have had two different experiences with 2 different white leghorns. The first one was very tame. Sat on our arm, followed us around, tried to come in the house all the time. But, she lived here all by herself, with no one but a pig for company. The second, the one I have now, lives with all my other chickens, and she is extremely flighty. She doesnt want to be anywhere near me, although she is getting better, but she is nothing like the other chickens. That said, they were both great egg layers, and the second gets along great with the other chickens.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  8. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Virginia
    They're pretty nutty...they're not scared of me, but...

    I have 2; I go in the coop every night after supper to bring a tray of kitchen leftovers. Both Leghorns are at the front of the pack of 25 and they jump out of the coop to attack my feet - I have to scoop them back into the coop where the follow my every footstep and I can barely walk. The treat pan is almost always upside down, so I bend down to turn it right side up and they're pecking at my fingers. As soon as I get it right, they're in it, often knocking it over again. I hold it down with one hand and try to put the leftovers in the pan while they keep jumping in the pan and pecking my fingers. I've dumped food on them more than once - nothing like a white leghorn smeared with pink yogurt [​IMG]

    I only have 2 of these guys, but it's like they're everywhere at once. My other chickens are excited about treats, but not as psyco as Thing 1 and Thing 2. Mine haven't even starting laying, yet, so currently, I have no benefits to outweigh the annoyances.

    I keep them because I like to have a rainbow of egg colors and I don't plan to get rid of them even though they drive me nuts. I would probably never let them free-range - they're just so crazy - I wouldn't trust them outside.

    If you're looking for friendly, loveable pets, then I'd look elsewhere. My EE's are the sweetest chickens I have.
     
  9. I have 6 leghorn hens and one leghorn roo. The hens are not particulary large. They lay medium sized eggs and they do so at a fairly young age. The roo on the other hand is one big handsom devil. He is "the chicken" in the yard. I have seen him with a guinea fowl, one of his hens, one of the wild game hens, a golden polish and a few cinamon queens all at the same time. I am guessing he is a provider, a protector and I know he is VERY gentle with the hens. We call him FOGHORN LEGHORN. He follows me from the yard to the barn to make sure I am doing no funny business. I think the cinamon queens are actually a better bird. They are crosses between a leghorn and a Road island red. They are bigger, sweeter and prolific layers.The best layers i have are Cochin hens. But you can not have too many of these as they eat like little banshies. The roo to them is simply gorgous, but he is just to big and heavy to do alot of good. Believe it or not the Wild red jungle fowl hens are great layers and they go broody often. They are great moms and they are really sweet things.
     
  10. ridgefire

    ridgefire Chillin' With My Peeps

    561
    1
    161
    Jan 8, 2008
    Northern Michigan
    I live in Northern Michigan and I currently have 8 California White leghorns in my flock, including the roo.

    They are egg machines, I am getting large white eggs. They are not scared of me, but they don't want to be handled either. They are not afraid of my dogs, in fact they chase my dogs away so they can get to the good areas of the yard.

    If you want a loving pet that hops up on your shoulder and gives kisses then this is probably not the breed your looking for. If your looking for a chicken that lays really well for its size and feed consumption then they are excellent.

    I will toss in some pics too.

    This is the roo
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by