The Leghorn: A Great White Egg Laying Chicken Breed

Who doesn’t know Foghorn Leghorn? This cartoon rooster single handedly made Leghorn chickens a household name. But aside from cartoon fame, Leghorns are famous among backyard chicken owners for being a reliable and prolific white egg laying chicken breed.

I have had two types of Leghorns; the Pearl White and the Single Comb Brown. Although they are in the same breed family there are some distinct differences between the two.

Egg Laying 

Single Comb Brown– At least 3 per week

White – At least 4 per week


Single Comb Brown – A beautiful brown color with black penciling, an orange-brown breast, darker brown wings and a large floppy comb.

White – All white with a large floppy comb.


Single Comb Brown – Active and skittish

White – Active and skittish


I enjoy having Leghorns in my backyard chicken flock. The White Leghorns are slightly better at egg laying but really not enough to make a big difference. I do have to say the White Leghorns started laying a bit earlier than the Brown Leghorns.

There is a substantial size difference between the two types; the Brown Leghorns are much bigger. As an example, I can hold the White Leghorns upside-down in one hand. I cannot do this with the Brown Leghorns.

I know the hatcheries classify this breed as active and skittish and this definitely applies to my Brown Leghorns. But, I found my White Leghorns to be very personable, easy going and downright docile, hence the upside down hand trick mentioned above.

Both breeds love to fly if you don't clip their wings. Ours can often be found grazing somewhere outside of the fenced yard. I don’t clip their wings because I want them to be able to escape predators.

Leghorns as a family, originated in the Mediterranean as an egg-laying species. They can develop spurs as they grow older and this is the case with one of my Brown Leghorns. Although well suited for warmer climates, my Leghorns do well in winter. During the cold months, I am mindful of their big, floppy combs and I make sure to cover them generously with Vaseline to prevent frostbite. 

Overall, Leghorns are a great addition to a backyard flock!
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