Leghorn Chicken Breed Guide

ChiChi – Aditya Raj, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Leghorn chickens are a popular breed known for their egg-laying abilities. They originated in Italy and were brought to the United States in the 1800s. Leghorns come in various colors, including white, brown, and black. They are valued for their high productivity, often laying around 280 to 320 eggs per year.

Order Leghorn chicks

If you order baby chicks through the links in this article, we may receive a small fee at no extra cost to you.

Physical Characteristics

Leghorn chickens are typically small to medium-sized birds. They have a sleek and compact body shape with an upright stance. The primary colors of their feathers include white, brown, and black, with some variations in patterns like mottling or speckling. Leghorns are known for their distinctive single comb, which is large and upright, along with their long, slender wattles and bright red earlobes.

Leghorn Egg Production

Leghorn chickens are renowned for their impressive egg-laying capabilities. They typically lay around 280 to 320 eggs per year, averaging around five to six eggs per week. The eggs are usually large in size and have white shells. This breed is known for its consistent egg production, making it a favorite among backyard poultry enthusiasts and commercial egg producers alike.

Temperament and Behavior

Leghorn chickens are known for their active and alert temperament. They tend to be more on the flighty side, preferring to roam and explore their surroundings. While they may not be as cuddly as some other breeds, Leghorns can become accustomed to human interaction with proper handling and socialization.

With proper supervision, Leghorns can be good with children, especially if introduced to them at a young age. However, their flighty nature may make them less suitable for very young children who may accidentally startle them.

Leghorns generally handle free-ranging exceptionally well, as they enjoy foraging and exploring outdoor spaces. However, they can also adapt to confinement if provided with enough space and enrichment to keep them stimulated.

Hardiness and Climate Tolerance

Leghorn chickens are well-suited for hot climates due to their Mediterranean origins. They have minimal feathering, which helps them regulate their body temperature in warm weather. However, they may require additional protection in extremely cold climates, as their lack of heavy plumage makes them more susceptible to frostbite.

In terms of hardiness, Leghorns are generally considered robust and resilient birds. They have a strong immune system and can thrive in various environments with proper care. While no chicken breed is entirely immune to diseases, Leghorns tend to have good disease resistance when provided with appropriate housing, nutrition, and management practices.


Leghorn chickens were primarily developed for their egg-laying abilities. They excel in producing a high volume of eggs consistently throughout the year. While they are not typically raised for meat due to their smaller size and leaner build compared to meat breeds, their eggs are highly valued in both backyard and commercial egg production settings.

Broodiness of Leghorn Chickens

Leghorn chickens are not known for being particularly broody. They tend to have a low inclination to sit on eggs to hatch them. If a Leghorn does go broody, it’s often less reliable compared to other breeds, as they may abandon the nest prematurely or be less attentive to their chicks.

Leghorn Feeding Requirements

Leghorn chickens typically thrive on a balanced commercial poultry feed. This feed should be formulated specifically for laying hens to support their high egg production. Additionally, Leghorns may benefit from access to fresh greens and insects if allowed to forage, but their primary diet should consist of commercial feed to ensure they receive essential nutrients consistently.

It’s essential to provide Leghorn chickens with access to clean, fresh water at all times to support their overall health and egg production. Additionally, calcium supplementation is crucial for laying hens to maintain strong eggshells. Offering crushed oyster shells or providing a calcium supplement in their feed can help prevent issues like soft or thin-shelled eggs.

Browse top chicken feed brands and chicken feeder reviews for Leghorn chickens.

Space and Housing Needs

Leghorn chickens require adequate space in both their coop and run to thrive. For the coop, allow at least 2 to 3 square feet per bird, ensuring they have enough room to roost comfortably at night. In the run, provide a minimum of 8 to 10 square feet per bird to allow for ample space for foraging and exercise.

When designing their housing, ensure good ventilation to prevent moisture buildup and ammonia accumulation, which can lead to respiratory issues. Provide roosting bars at varying heights to accommodate their natural instinct to perch. Additionally, incorporate nest boxes lined with clean bedding material for them to lay their eggs comfortably.

Build the perfect home for your Leghorn chickens with our curated picks for chicken coops and nesting boxes.

Health and Common Issues

Leghorn chickens are generally hardy and robust, but they can be prone to certain health issues. They may be more susceptible to respiratory infections, especially in poorly ventilated environments. Owners should regularly monitor their Leghorns for signs of illness, including lethargy, decreased appetite, coughing, sneezing, or nasal discharge.

Regular health checks should include inspecting their eyes, nostrils, and feathers for any abnormalities. Owners should also observe their behavior, noting any changes in activity levels or social interactions with other chickens. Providing a clean and hygienic living environment, along with a balanced diet, can help prevent many common health issues in Leghorn chickens.

Leghorn Lifespan

The lifespan of Leghorn chickens typically ranges from 4 to 8 years. Factors such as genetics, diet, housing conditions, and predator pressure can influence their longevity. With proper care and attention to their health needs, Leghorns can live a relatively long and productive life, especially during their peak egg-laying years.

Noise Level

Leghorn chickens are generally known for being noisy birds. They are quite vocal, especially when laying eggs or communicating with other flock members. Their loud cackling and occasional crowing can be heard throughout the day, making them unsuitable for noise-sensitive environments.

Special Care Considerations

Leghorn chickens don’t have many specific care requirements, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Due to their active nature, providing ample space for them to roam and forage is important to prevent boredom and feather-pecking behaviors. Additionally, because they are light-bodied birds, protecting them from predators like foxes, raccoons, and birds of prey is crucial, especially if they are allowed to free-range. Regular health checks and prompt treatment of any illnesses or injuries are essential to ensure their well-being and longevity.

Common Uses

Primarily, Leghorn chickens are valued for their high egg production, making them a popular choice for both backyard and commercial egg-laying operations. While they are not typically raised for meat due to their smaller size, some may be kept for this purpose in backyard settings. Additionally, Leghorns with particularly striking plumage may be exhibited in poultry shows or kept for ornamental purposes, although their egg-laying capabilities remain their most prominent attribute.

Fun Facts and Unique Characteristics

Leghorn chickens are known for their active and curious personalities, often being described as “busybodies” in the chicken world. They have a reputation for being excellent foragers, eagerly searching for insects and greens in their environment. Additionally, Leghorns are renowned escape artists, with a knack for finding gaps in fences or flying over barriers, making them challenging to contain in some situations.

Where Can I Find Leghorn Chicks?

Leghorn chickens are one of the most popular and widely recognized chicken breeds worldwide. They are readily available for purchase from hatcheries, poultry breeders, and farm supply stores. Due to their prolific egg-laying abilities and versatility, Leghorns remain in high demand among poultry enthusiasts and commercial egg producers alike.

Order Leghorn chicks

Browse more chicken breeds.

Leave a Comment