The Leghorn Chicken originated in Italy and was first brought to North America in the 1820s under the name Italian chicken, this was later changed to Leghorn from the Italian port that they were first transported through. White Leghorns were introduced into Britain from North America in the 1870′s, followed by Brown Leghorns. The White Leghorn Chicken is the most popular commercial breed of chicken in the USA as they are prolific white egg layers; white eggs being the most favoured egg colour in N. America.
Leghorns are prolific white egg layers and rarely go broody. The chicks are easy to rear and grow and mature quickly. Leghorns are happy free ranging but equally happy in a run. They are alert, noisy, energetic birds that can be tamed but do not tend to like handling. Leghorns are not very meaty chickens so do not make good table birds.
As well as white Leghorn there are also brown, black, blue (not laced), buff, cuckoo, golden duckwing, silver duckwing, exchequer, mottled, partridge and pyle recognised varieties. Leghorns have large combs so care needs to be taken to avoid frostbite.