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thoughts on hatchery white leghorns

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by kfacres, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. kfacres

    kfacres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2011
    If a person wanted some white leghorn hens to lay tons- and a male to be able to reproduce more super egg layers--- would one go the hatchery sourced route as a best option?
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  2. gallorojo

    gallorojo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2009
    If the only thing you want is lots of white eggs, fast, economically, you really can never beat the commercial white leghorn. They do have their downsides, of course-but, it all depends on your purpose for them. Breeder leghorns will be larger, lay longer, and have less egg laying health issues. But they will be slower to reach POL, not have as good of feed conversion, maybe not quite as good overall rate of lay.
  3. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    This bird may be what your looking for, it has been selectively bred for an even more enhanced laying. It is also a white leghorn cross. I have 10 doz of these in the bator now from a local guy who raises them and gave me the eggs, I plan to sell them all at the auctions and have a bunch already sold to friends. Anyway these are know to be crazy egg machines hence the name. this bird holds the guiness book of world records for laying an egg for 448 days straight, it eats less feed and produces a seriously large white egg.

    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  4. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    I think a good commercial White Leghorn would be the way to go.

    Fed and managed right my commercial birds will lay just as long as a breeder bird, started at eighteen weeks, the eggs sized up quickly, and they have great feed conversion.

    At the end of their first lay cycle cull out all but the best and breed from those.
  5. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

    Jan 10, 2010
    Vacationland, Maine
    I'd just like to throw in my two cents. I have 4 hatchery white leghorns. Two of them don't lay eggs that are edible. Let me explain.

    One of them has a wry tail, and while she laid for a few months, for about the past year she's been internally laying. Her abdomen is huge and she waddles. As long as she's happy with life, I'll let her be. I'm surprised she's made it this long.

    (back when she was externally laying)

    Another only lays eggs that are soft shelled. I've brought her inside and done intensive calcium/D therapy on her, and I still get soft shelled eggs. I just gave up.

    The other two are egg laying machines.

    I do love them, and I'll certainly get more once these die, but I wouldn't expect perfect stock from hatcheries.
  6. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    Quote:I agree it's just that the hatcheries work so hard and fool around so much with expermenting trying to increase egg laying ability in all their breeds that their is allways the increased chance that those results will have a miriad of problems with their egg laying plumbing. Hatcheries use contract commercial breeders and dictate breeding criteria to them, as opposed to a breed that has been bred using science and developed over a longer period of time to weed out and cull for obvious problems. These things are not of any concern to hatcheries, because once again it's all about the numbers for them and nothing else.
  7. kfacres

    kfacres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2011
    Very interesting... What hatcheries have you all dealt with, and who would you reccommend?

    Al, very neat birds-- any more details or information other than the one bird who broke the record. Was that just a freak? Since they're cross, what's the Magical cross? Can it reproduce itself on?
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Wow, 2/4 being duds! That is some luck. I've had maybe 40 or so leghorns that I kept for laying over the years, over 100 otherwise that were sold before point of lay and have only had one dud. She laid double yolkers for a month and then just died. Suppose I had two duds if you include the dozens of roosters which hatched out with the hens... he had a wry tail, but all the roos got butchered young.

    I will always have a few leghorns. They are machines! First at your feet, first to run in danger, first to run away. LOL They keep the flock employed so to say, as the sexlinks and other brown layers just don't quite keep up with the production from the leghorns. I cull out most my layers at 3 and replace them though, only one leghorn I kept till 5 and she still laid eggs more regularly than the sexlinks her age.
  9. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    Quote:Actually they were developed I am sure as you read by a scientist over a long period of time and is really not a cross but a selective breeding quality. Iam not sure if that one hen is a fluke or just one, my guess is maybe but on the average the bird is supposed to produce a huge egg every 24 hrs for 365 days at least the first full year. My buddy does have some of these and they are bigger and less flighty than regular leghorns and they seem a little broader and more stout than your standard leghorn. Yes they can reproduce and are sex linked so I am told, the roosters being black at birth and the hen's are white at birth.
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    The hatchery route for your goals is not a bad option. Not all hatcheries are the same. They have different goals, different methods, different business plans, and different people running them, so you are not going to get the same quality bird from all of them. Many keep their own flocks and select their own breeders, some rely on contract breeders to supply the eggs, and some do a combination. Some that we think of as hatcheries don't even hatch the eggs but drop-ship, which means they get their chicks from hatcheries that do hatch their own.

    It is hard to generalize, but I'll try anyway. Most hatcheries we buy from use methods to mass produce baby chicks for the backyard flock. Their proces reflect the mass production idea. They use the pen breeding method, which means they might have 20 roosters in a pen with 200 hens. This is a proven method to maintain genetic diversity, but they have no control over which rooster mates with which hen. This means you are going to have less consistency in the chicks, plus you are generally reinforcing certain characteristics, but not as intensely as if you were carefully pairing specific roosters with specific hens. Since the hatcheries are generally going to select the chickens for breeding from the acceptable ones that hatch, hens that lay early and often have a higher chance of having offspring selected for the breeding flock. So over time, the entire flock moves to better egg production and earlier laying.

    Since they are a commercial operation where they make money based on eggs laid per pound of feed fed, they also tend to eliminate the ones that are not laying and maybe the ones that go broody. So you tend to get offspring from chickens that lay a lot and don't tend to go broody as much. Of course you can get a dud every now and then, depending on how you classify a dud, but in general you get chickens that lay pretty well compared to how the breed is supposed to lay. The roosters will inherit the same traits.

    Breeders on the other hand are not nearly as consistent. Each has his/her own goals and they may be quite a bit different. Some may be breeding to win a grand prize at a chicken show. Productuion qualities may mean nothing to them, or sometimes even are to be avoided since that might interfere with showing. Some breed for shows, but also for some production traits. Some don't overly worry about how many points are on the chicken's comb, which is inportant if you are going to show it, but concentrate on production. I even knew one guy that was developing a strain of six-toed Cochin.

    If you can find a breeder that has the goals that match yours, and the breeder knows what they are doing, this is the best way to go. But instead of just blindly buying from someone who calls themselves a breeder, I'd personally go the hatchery route. Since production seems to be your goal, I think you are more likely to get sopmething closer to what you want.

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