Opinions? Duals or leghorns?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by W-Warren, Feb 13, 2015.

  1. W-Warren

    W-Warren New Egg

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    So, leghorns are the best layers for the amount of feed put into them, right? Is it really that much of a difference with your average run-of-the-mill feedstore bin birds? Every penny we can save can go to use, but if it's only, say, generally a $5 monthly difference between a flock of 7 duals vs 7 leghorns, my dual mutts will probably stay...or be exchanged with Buff Orp's, maybe. I love them puffballs.

    As it is, dual's aren't essential (we'll eat culls, but we don't particularly care for them), and we're buying about 99% of their feed because they're not allowed to forage and we've no scraps for them. Egg color doesn't matter, but I'd probably eventually cross them into the EE's I'm holding onto anyway.

    If someone could correct me if I'm wrong in thinking leghorns may be best for our situation, please do. :/
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Smaller birds definitely consume less feed. Leghorns and Red Sexlinks are the best bang for your buck if eggs are your goal. Back when I had a mixed flock of hatchery birds they were giving extra large and Jumbo eggs 9 days in a row then a day off in first year. It's not just less feed but also more eggs and larger eggs.

    If your not found of roasted dual purpose birds then egg layers are a good bet. They'll make excellent stock and soups when their better egg laying years are over. I culled late fall of second year as molting was starting. Was pretty sure they'd be lucky to give 5 eggs a week (likely only 4) after months of feeding during molt. Was more cost effective in my to replace with pullets.
     
  3. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes- they were bred for most efficient feed conversion into eggs.

    As for exactly how much is the difference in feed.... good question. When I had them, it was plain they ate less than heavier dual purpose breeds but again, good question- how do they compare to something more average sized. It's been a very long while since I had leghorns.

    You've got me wondering about feed efficiency of cream legbars. They seem leghorn-ish in size and shape and perhaps as a bonus for you- they lay blue eggs. No idea on their laying ability.

    Another factor to consider perhaps- how do they tolerate confinement. Leghorns definitely are very active birds, and to me active birds= may have problems in close confinement such as feather plucking?
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes, smaller birds are better at converting feed to eggs than larger-bodied birds because they don’t have to eat more to maintain a larger body. If eggs are your only real goal, then leghorns are definitely the away to go compared to the dual-purpose chickens. I don’t have a cost of feed per dozen eggs difference but if every penny counts, pennies will count up.

    Some sex links are based on the commercial egg-laying hybrids. They are small like the leghorns and are as good or even better about laying eggs. But some sex links offered by the hatcheries we buy from offer sex links made by crossing dual-purpose breeds. These sex links are not really different from their dual-purpose parents. It’s been a couple of years since I checked but McMurray and Cackle used to offer sex links based on the commercial hybrids, Ideal offered the dual-purpose crosses, and Meyer offered both. A good clue as to which they are is the adult weight of the chickens.

    You can cook any bird of any age and sex, but the leghorns and commercial hybrids won’t give you much meat. Broth is a great use for them, plus you can pick off the meat after the cooking is done to get some really good cooked meat, but you won’t get a lot. Stews and chicken ‘n dumplings are also traditional ways to cook and older bird.
     
  5. Akrnaf2

    Akrnaf2 The educated Rhino Premium Member

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    Leghorns aren't the best layer in proportion to the feed thy get! The best breed that produce the largest number of egg in proportion to the feed you put in,is the Naked Neck or Turceke! This breed is covered only whit 40%-50% of the total number of feathers other breeds have, and because feathers are 80% made of protein(keratin) thy need to invest less protein from feed in feathers manufacture, that leaves them a bigger percentage of protein feed for egg production!
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Years ago, I raised a "Mini-Pearl Leghorn." They matured at 2.5#, and laid an extra large egg. They had the best advertised feed conversion rate. But, I don't remember what that was. Since getting back into poultry 3 years ago, I've not seen them advertised. IMO, for super layers, I'd recommend Black Sex links for the cold northern areas, and Leghorns or Black Sex links for the southern climates.
     
  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Black sexlinks are a large bird. I had those too. Were as good of layer as the Reds and Leghorns but far bigger bird. The large comb Leghorn will get a touch of frost bite loosing some points on comb but with good ventilation nothing more serious than that. At least in northern New Hampshire that was my experience.
     
  8. W-Warren

    W-Warren New Egg

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    Two EE hens and a roo would be kept with them, bringing the total birds in the living space to 10. I'm guestimating their pen is at least 30x20' and the coop is 8x8' or so, so I don't think they'd be too crowded? They just scratched the same ground so much, I don't imagine they're finding much there. Even when they were briefly allowed to roam, their yolks didn't get any richer, so I don't think they found much in the rest of the forest either.

    It doesn't drop below freezing too often here, either, and my dad insists on keeping a lamp on in their house at night. Even so, I'm not sure naked-necks would fit in well here. They look too weird. lol
    Some consistency would sure look nice. XD Right now, our eggs range from a silkie's to jumbo. Probably doesn't help I have two silkie crosses in the mix and a little Sicilian buttercup, though. LOL Aside from them, my duals and their crosses seem to lay medium/large, with the exception of the two oldest EE/RIR's that lay the jumbos.
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    MMc has their Black star (Black sex link) listed at 5#.
     
  10. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Cream legbars are a little larger than leghorns. Their feed conversion is pretty efficient. They are a lot calmer than leghorns and tolerate confinement pretty well. Their eggs are large or extra large in their second season.
     

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