What you need to know about Leghorn Chickens
The leghorn chicken produces most of the white eggs found in grocery stores. They make perfect backyard pets because this breed is does not have the best tasting meat. The Leghorn chicken can be found in different colors including red, light brown, dark brown, black, buff and blue. However, you will not find a leghorn chicken to be affectionate. They do not like human contact and are very flighty. They can also be very loud.
Originally from Italy, the leghorn chicken was first brought to the United States in 1853. They were important to early settlers because of the constant production of eggs. The main purpose of leghorn chickens still continues today with commercial chicken farms that keep these birds for eggs to sell. Reproduction is also important so more birds can always be added to the flock of egg layers.
Some people that live in the country raise leghorn chickens and learn how to save eggs for hatching chickens. Because this breed is not known for broodiness or sitting on their eggs to keep them warm, an incubator is used to develop the fetus. There also has to be a rooster among the hens to fertilize the eggs.
An incubator is an air tight space where ventilation, temperature and humidity can be controlled. Small incubators can be purchased just for hatching chickens or you can make one yourself. Never wait longer than seven to ten days after the egg has been layed to begin the incubation process. If you have to wait a few days before placing on an incubator, keep the eggs in a carton, large end up, close and keep in a location that is 50 to 70 degrees F. Turn the eggs once a day to keep the yolk from sticking to the inside of the shell.
It is a good idea to use a thermometer to know how warm your eggs are after placing in the incubator. Hatching chickens is largely controlled by a constant heat setting and you need to know if the temperature is changing. Do not become alarmed when you first place the eggs inside the incubator and watch the temperature suddenly drop. The eggs have to adjust to the warmth and will cause the temperature to drop until they are warm.
Follow instructions for levels of humidity, temperature and ventilation and lay eggs on their sides for about 18 days. The eggs need to be turned three times per day except for the last three days. The excitement builds as you watch you eggs during this countdown. Prepare for little chicks to emerge by lining the bottom of the incubator with cheesecloth to catch the broken shells and debris. When the eggs begin to crack open, delivering a wet bundle, allow the chicks to move about and dry off until the feathers are dry and fluffy before removing from the incubator.
Hatching chickens from the eggs of a leghorn chicken can be a very fulfilling and exciting way to learn about life and how to create your own food source.
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