There is no record of the genetic origin of the Leghorn breed other than the fact that it first came from Italy. It was formerly called the 'Italiana', but later renamed to 'Leghorn' after the city in Italy on the Ligurian Sea from where it was first shipped.
It was not until the Leghorn was first imported into America around 1835 and then later into England that it became the most popular egg producing chicken in the world. As such, the Leghorn has become the most important commercial egg producing breed in the world. In fact, it is quite rare to find any other breed in use at a commercial egg production facility.
The Leghorn lays large white eggs and
has an excellent feed to egg conversion ratio. The hens have very little
tendency towards broodiness. Despite its extreme importance to the commercial
egg production industry, it is of little value as a meat production bird
because of its small size and skimpy flesh. Because of this reason, more
and more commercial producers are finding that they cannot sell or even give
away their unproductive 'spent' Leghorn flocks to meat processing
The leghorn is one of the smallest standard
breed chickens. The hen weighs only four pounds. Her trademark is her flopped
over comb. The leghorn comes in both single and rose comb varieties. Besides
the standard white color of the Leghorn, it also comes in Light Brown, Dark
Brown, Buff, Black, Sliver, Red, Columbian, Golden Duckwing, and Black-Tailed
Red. However the white leghorn, with its pure white plumage, is probably
the most popular variety in the world.
Back to the Mediterranean Standard Breeds Page