Date(s) - 10/12/2018
Leghorns originated in Italy prior to 1815 and came to the United States from Spain and Italy as early as 1835. Single Comb White Leghorns were admitted to the Mediterranean Class of Standard in 1874. They have been the most popular variety and best-known white egg variety for many years. Over the years, no other variety has been bred with the intensity for economic egg production trait improvements. As a result, most of the commercial white egg layers are predominately White Leghorn crosses. The Standard Weights for White Leghorns is as follows: Cock 6lbs; Cockerel 5lbs; Hen 4.5lbs and Pullet 4lbs. Special note is made that breeders and exhibitors and judges should pay due regard to the Standard weight of Leghorns. Prior to 1950, most of the commercial pure line White Leghorns were selected for the production of large and extra large eggs, which resulted in larger White Leghorns. As feed conversion became an important trait, selection since the mid 1960’s has yielded smaller birds, and many commercial White Leghorns are now smaller than the Standard weights. Most White Leghorns are kept today for the production of large white eggs. Their small body size, however, results in only a small amount of fowl meat.
All of the plumage of White Leghorns is white. There is a significant difference in appearance between White Leghorns that have been bred for exhibition and those which have been selected for economic traits. The commercially bred adults do not exhibit the same angular body shape and long, flowing tail feathers that are essential in birds bred for exhibition.
Chicks are pale yellow or creamy white. They have single combs and clean, yellow legs and feet.
Strain cross and breed cross White Leghorns have proven to be more efficient producers than pure strain White Leghorns; therefore, these crosses are sometimes substituted for the pure strains. To be assured of receiving White Leghorns that do not have black spots, specify White Only White Leghorns.