Chicken Breeds: Leghorn
The most famous Leghorn chicken has to be Foghorn Leghorn, the Looney Tunes character. True to name, Foghorn Leghorn was indeed a Leghorn chicken.
Leghorns are an Italian breed of chicken, and were in fact called “Italians” when they were first imported to America in the mid 1800s. The typical leghorn is white, with a red comb and wattles.
Leghorns are one of the most popular breeds of chickens in the commercial chicken industry. The breed has been adapted to the commercial industry, where it will lay eggs dependably even in the face of extremely poor conditions. However, as a trade-off the Leghorn is an easily panicked breed, and not at all friendly.
Although Leghorns produce well (both meat and eggs), most backyard chicken owners choose a more interesting and friendlier breed. Leghorns produce about 280 eggs per year, which is a very high rate, but not as high as that of better breeds like the Australorp. And as a bonus, Australorps are friendly and very easily tamed as pets.
As a Mediterranean breed, Leghorns are a very lightweight, thinly feathered bird. This does make them very well suited for hot climates, which can be an important consideration for prospective chicken owners who live (for example) in the Desert Southwest or Florida.
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