White Leghorns: are they really that mean?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by switters, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. switters

    switters Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 3, 2008
    We're about to order some chicks for egg production in our backyard. I've read that White Leghorns are some of the best producers, but I've also read that they can be nervous and/or mean.

    On the other hand, My Pet Chicken, who we will order from, says on their website that their Leghorns have actually been the nicest and most docile birds in their flock.

    I asked a local "urban homesteading" expert his opinion, and he didn't think White Leghorns were a good idea for a backyard flock.

    Now I'm confused! What has your experience been with White Leghorns? And if you don't recommend them, what other breeds lay almost as prolifically as they do?

  2. poultryhaven

    poultryhaven Addicted to Seramas!

    Jan 19, 2009
    Ocala, FL
    My white leghorn is the only bird except for the frizzles that comes up to me and lets me hold it [​IMG] Its my favorite
  3. luvmychicknkids

    luvmychicknkids Canning Squirrel

    Mar 6, 2008
    Floresville, Texas
    I have only, personally, know 4 White Leghorns. They have been some of the sweetest, most docile, friendliest birds I have known. 2 of them came from My Pet Chicken, in fact. [​IMG] I say get them!!! I doubt you will be disappointed....unless you want brown eggs. LOL
  4. CityClucks

    CityClucks The Center of a 50 Mile Radius

    Jan 31, 2009
    Tulsa, OK
    In my experience white leghorns are WONDERFUL producers of large white eggs and don't eat as much as other heavy breeds. But as adults, they've never been particularly nice or friendly - they are curious but flighty.
  5. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    I have two that should be starting to lay any day now. They are very flighty and not really friendly at all. I figure I will keep them if they can "earn their keep".
  6. switters

    switters Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 3, 2008
    I guess it really depends on the individual birds' personality, huh? Even in this thread there is variation of opinion, but so far 3 out of 4 say they're friendly.

    EDIT: oops, make that 3 out of 5. Seems like it's just a roll of the dice.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2009
  7. FutureChickenMan

    FutureChickenMan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2007
    mine never give me any trouble.. they're not "friendly" but they never attack, peck, none of that. They go the other direction when I'm in the pen. Unless I sit down they they'll come up and check me out. The friendliest, calmest birds I have are the speckled sussexs. You can easily pick up any one of them, even the roo.
  8. JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom

    JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2009
    West Central WI
    Could be the strain/line, and PetChicken has a lead on calm ones. The way they are handled makes a difference too.

    We had leghorns from a large hatchery, the rooster was the most aggresive towards people that I have ever dealt with and the hens were very flighty of people. However we had a flock of 30 birds, so not a lot of one-on-one contact.
  9. CheepSunglasses

    CheepSunglasses Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2009
    Yay! I get to vote. My two Leghorns are very friendly, sweet birds. They are also great layers. But they were raised with a lot of attention and I am certain that it makes a ldifference when they mature. I have a BCM that was very sickly as a chick and we needed to isolate him. As a result, he got a lot more attention than the others and, at 7 weeks old, he thinks he is a little person. He is now integrated in with the others, but the second you step into the run, he rushes over and starts "talking" to you. If you sit down, he snuggles up next to you. There is no doubt in my mind that if you raise these birds to be friendly, they will be. If you have 5000 of them in a chicken house, they are going to be a little flighty [​IMG]. I do think that there are some general differences between breeds, but socializing will overcome a lot of them.

  10. cap1717

    cap1717 6 chooks, 1 slave. . . me!

    Jun 12, 2009
    I suspect that personality in these birds differs both according to genetics and to early handling. Birds "bond with" those who they interact with in their first days of life. . . and if these birds are handled, gently, early and often, they should be just fine.

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