White leghorns hardy as heritage breeds?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by texas hiker, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. texas hiker

    texas hiker Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2009
    East Texas
    Location: Southeast Texas, we have had some great weather lately.

    In January I bought a dozen chicks - 6 leghorns, 3 delawares and 3 silver laced wyandottes.

    The flock is around 20 chickens of various ages and breeds + the dozen chicks. The house is 16 x 16 feet, the chicken yard is 1/2 acre, and the chickens free range outside the yard.

    Chicks were given chick starter for the first 6 weeks, then given laying crumbles. I bought chick grower today and put the whole flock on it.

    My white leghorns are 2 months old. A week after going to the big house, one of the leghorns has fallen sick and probably will not make it.

    The leghorns look like they are not doing well, while the silver laced wyandottes look fine.

    I do this same thing every year. Buy chicks, keep them in a 6 foot X 8 foot enclosed house until they are around 6 weeks old and then move them to the main flock. Rarely, if ever, do I lose a chick that is 2 months old.

    The main flock is barred rocks, buff orpingtons, rhode island reds, autralorp, dominique.. just your typical dual purpose heritage breeds. None of them have ever had a problem like what the leghorns are having.

    Compared to the older heritage breeds, how well do leghorns compare?
     
  2. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 25, 2015
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    I am sort of confused at the question but seeming as you live in Texas the leghorns will do well there, it is warm and does not cold so that is good weather for the breed.

    Did you put the chicks also on laying crumbles? In my knowledge you should not be giving anything that young layer feed. Could the older birds be picking on them? Did the temperature dip down and they got cold? Have you checked poop for signs of worms or coccidiosis?
     
  3. texas hiker

    texas hiker Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2009
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    Difficult to know if the chick is pooping, unless I separate it from the flock.

    Temps have been in the 50s at night. All the chicks huddle in a corner. Some of them have been going outside during the day. Saw several of them 30 or 40 feet from the chicken house yesterday.

    Everyone is on laying crumbles.

    Have not seen any poop with worms.
     
  4. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Even looking at everyone's poop can determine if one has it. Coccidiosis is likely as they are just starting to go outside.

    6 week old birds should not be being fed layer feed either, the chicks should still be on a chick starter feed or a start and grow
     
  5. texas hiker

    texas hiker Out Of The Brooder

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    I picked them up some grower today.

    Being free range it is impossible to restrict their diets to just grower. I had a mama hen who had her chicks foraging at two - three weeks old
     
  6. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is fine for them to forage but having to eat layer feed is not good.
     
  7. texas hiker

    texas hiker Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2009
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    I have seen chicks hatched in the house by a hen, they were raised on laying crumbles and never had a problem. Same with guineas, but they were hatched in some bushes and not in the house.

    There is nothing wrong with the feed.

    The question still stands, are leghorns farm hardy? Are they able to thrive in a free range environment like various heritage dual purpose breeds?

    Why does one breed do great, the other struggles. 2016 I bought a bunch of leghorns, all but one was killed by a feral cat. The one leghorn does not seem to do very well in a free range environment. Now one of my new chicks has died.

    Is it just my chicks, or are white leghorns not well suited for farm life?
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  8. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Leghorns are suited well for farm life yes. Mine work great on our ranch.
     

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