About Leghorn Chickens
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About Leghorn ChickensAbout Leghorn Chickens

The breed Livornornor "Italian chicken" is known as "Leghorn" all over the world. The origin isrnnot so clear, probably from Central Italy, obtained from the selection of lightrnchicken reared in Tuscany countryside. The name comes from the harbour fromrnwhich, in 1828, some flocks have been sent to North America. (In the worldrnthere are many stocks of Leghorn: Italian L., Dutch L., English L., Danish L.,rnGerman Italiener, American L., Canadian L.)

rnrnIn 1874 was addedrnto the American Standard of Perfection in its white, black and brown livery.rnThe white specimen was most of all selected as layer. Later on, the Leghornrncame back to Europe from America, landing at U.K. in 1870 and back to Italyrnagain. In England they still have a standard very similar to the specimen theyrnreceived from U.S.A. but this kind of bird is very different from presentrnchickens.

rnrnIn 1886 thernAmerican Poultry Association recognised the rose-mottled Leghorn.

rnrnThe Leghorn is anrnexcellent layer of eggs with white shell. The white Leghorn can reach meanrnproduction of 280 eggs a year, with peaks of 300-320 eggs. This breed is worldrnwide spread with different colours of livery. The Livorno chicken has a typicalrnMediterranean body shape, slim, lively and strong, with elegant temper. Earlyrnfeathering, fast growth, poor broodiness.

rnrnIt was onlyrnrecently that Italian breeders were enabled to refer to the Italian standard ofrnthe Livorno's native type.

rnrnThe Italienerrn(German stock) is included in the "Italian Standard of Perfection" with arnspecific typology, different from the Livorno.

rnrnBefore thernpublication of the "Standard book", all the animals included as Livorno werernjudged using the Standard of Italiener (German stock), probably because of thernlarge presence of German flocks. This went against the selection of the Livornornnative type, so that the German selection of the Italian chickens - thernItaliener - became the only strain to be found in Italy. According to F. Focardirn(Scientific Committee of the Italian Standard Book) the Livorno is the onlyrnbreed which has been added in the Standard of many Countries with differentrnstrain; strangely none of those Countries recognise the Livorno native type.rnThis breed is officially recognised in Italy.

rnrnThe nativernLivorno is a leaner and taller breed compared to the Italiener selected inrnGermany. The neck is carried upright and slightly arched, which confers to thernbird a lively and alert appearance. Even the temper is different: the Livornornis quieter than Italiener (German stock). The tail is carried with an angle ofrn40-45 degrees in the male and 30-35 degrees in the female.

rnrnThe main tailrnfeathers are quite opened and regularly arranged. In the cock the sickles arernrounded and they cover the main tail feathers. The body has the shape of arncylinder, of medium length, slightly sloping towards the rump.

rnrnWings are wornrnclosed and very tight to the body, with horizontal inferior line. The legs arernlonger than in the Italiener, The shanks are fine-boned, of a beautiful deeprnyellow (orange traces are admitted); 4 toes. Yellow skin. The abdomen is wellrndeveloped, especially in the female, which is a good layer. All the livery isrntight to the body, with ample and soft feathers.

rnrnThe head is wellrnshaped. The beak is proportioned to the head and yellow (dark traces arernaccepted on the edge, only in varieties Barred, Blue and Black). Eyes are bigrnand lively, red-orange. Single comb, of medium size, carried erected in thernmale, and folded after the second point in the female. Five-pointed, with arnquite ample base, regularly distributed on the comb blade, radial to the eyes.rnThey must be erect, not leaning backwards.

rnrnA 4 or 6-pointedrncomb can be considered a good one. The comb blade follows the neckline without touchingrnit. The wattles are red, oval-shaped, of medium length, without any horizontalrnor vertical wrinkle.

rnThe face is red and smooth. The earlobes are white, oval-shaped, smooth, withrnno trace of red.

rnrnThe livery isrnshining and iridescent in each variety. The White Livorno is the most common.rnIt's frequently used to create hybrids with layers or white hybrids for thernproduction of meat. Other varieties are: Barred, Blue, Silver Duck-wings,rnOrange Duckwing, Black Red, Buff, Black, Pyle.

rnrnThe most commonrndefects are: a morphology too similar to Italiener (German stock), erect combrnin female or wrong shape of the points; too long or opened wattles, yellowrnearlobes or red spotted earlobes.

rnrnContent and photornsource: Agraria.org

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