California White vs Leghorn Chicken – What is the Difference?

California white chickens and Leghorn chickens are excellent layers. These two chicken breeds lay approximately 300 white eggs yearly. First-time chicken keepers usually confuse these two chicken breeds with each other, thanks to their similar appearance and traits.

California White vs Leghorn White – Similarities and Differences

Knowing the differences and similarities of these two breeds is crucial for all chicken keepers looking for an excellent laying breed. The two breeds have differences and similarities in appearance, size & weight, temperament, egg production, meat production, and care & requirements.


California white chickens and Leghorn chickens look almost identical. Unless you are pretty keen when observing these two breeds, you won’t notice any physical differences between them.

They all have red wattles, white lobes, and more prominent combs than most chicken breeds. Their eyes can be red or orange, while the beaks are yellow. Their legs and skins are also yellow.

However, there are notable physical differences between these two chicken breeds, notwithstanding their almost identical appearance.

California white chickens, for instance, have larger combs than leghorn chickens. California white chickens’ feathers also have black spots, mostly on their lower back.

Size & Weight

Both California white chickens and Leghorn chickens are bigger than the standard chickens. Leghorns have a slim and trim profile, with leghorn hens weighing between 5 and 6 lbs.  Leghorn roosters weigh between seven and eight lbs.

California white chickens are much larger and heavier than their leghorn counterparts. The smallest California white hen can weigh more than 6 lbs, while huge California white roosters can weigh over 7.5 lbs. Overly, California white chickens are heavier and larger than leghorn chickens.


Leghorn chickens are overly resourceful and intelligent birds. These active birds are usually nervous and tend to avoid human contact, although these chickens can tolerate confinement.

These chickens are high-energy chickens that love foraging outdoors. They can be a bit aggressive, especially leghorn roosters. Furthermore, leghorn chickens can be noisy and might not get along with other breeds.

On the contrary, California white chickens are pretty social and interactive birds. They are pretty friendly with humans and other chicken breeds. Furthermore, California white chickens can tolerate human contact, and they are less noisy, unlike leghorns. Nonetheless, they are less active, making these chickens an excellent breed for urban dwellers.

Overly, both California white and leghorn chickens are non-aggressive. They are also friendly compared to most chicken breeds. These chickens can also be docile depending on their environment, making them great additions to any chicken flock. They are hardy and capable of tolerating the presence of other chicken breeds in your flock.

If you want an active egg-laying chicken in your backyard, a leghorn chicken is an excellent choice for you. Similarly, a California white chicken is the ideal chicken breed for chicken keepers seeking a friendly chicken breed.

Egg Production

Both leghorn and California white chickens are terrific egg-laying breeds that give chicken owners a constant supply of large, high-quality white eggs. Nonetheless, leghorn chickens boast a high egg production capacity compared to their California white counterparts.

Leghorn hens are a favorite choice of the poultry industry. The average leghorn hen can lay between 280 and 320 eggs annually. This egg-laying capability translates to more than four eggs weekly, making leghorns egg dynamos.

With a proper diet, Leghorn eggs can still maintain their egg-laying capabilities for up to four years. Leghorn chickens also grow pretty fast, with most young hens starting to lay at 15 weeks old.

Leghorns lay white-shelled eggs, with these eggs weighing around 55 grams each. Their eggs become larger as they age. Your leghorn hen will lay large eggs when she starts laying, and the eggs will be extra-large at the end of the egg-laying cycle.

California white chickens are also decent layers, although they can’t match their leghorn counterparts. These egg-laying chickens can lay around 300 eggs yearly. They also lay white-shelled eggs like leghorn chickens.

Nonetheless, their eggs aren’t as large as leghorns’ eggs. Their eggs don’t also increase in size as they age.  Most California white hens start laying between 17 and 20 months after hatching.

Meat Production

California white and Leghorn chickens are good layers. Nonetheless, these two breeds score poorly when it gets to meat production. Leghorns are inferior meat producers, including leghorn roosters. Leghorn chickens are overly lightweight, and they are not viable meat producers.  California white chickens are slightly bigger and heavier than leghorns.

Nonetheless, they are also more of laying breeds than meat producers since they are lightweight compared to other meat-producing chicken breeds that are much bigger and bulkier.

California whites are better meat producers since they have high-quality meat in terms of meat production. California white roosters are larger and heavier than leghorn roosters, making the former decent meat producers.

Care & Requirements

Both California white and leghorn chickens need proper care to keep them laying effectively. Leghorns are more of perching birds, and they also love moving around. Provide your leghorns with a coop that gives every chicken at least three sq. feet of living space.

Furthermore, provide roosting bars for your chickens in the coop. Given that California whites are significantly bigger than leghorns, it is prudent to have a much bigger coop for your California whites.

For California white chickens, it helps to have proper bedding since these chickens love nesting when they aren’t active. Diet is also an essential requirement while keeping both leghorns and California whites. These breeds require protein and calcium-rich foods to maintain a proper egg-laying cycle.  Leghorns need more proteins and calcium than California whites due to their high egg-laying capabilities.

Water is an essential requirement for both California whites and white leghorns. Water helps these two chicken breeds self-regulate their body temperature since they aren’t hardy, unlike most egg-laying breeds. Leg-horns, however, need more water than California whites since they are at a high risk of overheating.

Leghorns require more nesting boxes since they lay more eggs than California whites. Leghorns need wider nesting boxes than California whites since their eggs are larger. Collect eggs more frequently if you have several leghorn hens in your flock to provide space for other hens to lay their eggs.

Leghorns and California whites are vulnerable to predators, especially leghorns since they are efficient foragers. Foraging outdoors will expose your chickens to predators, and thus it is essential to seal-proof your yard and coop to protect your birds from potential predators.


California white chickens and Leghorn chickens have their fair share of similarities and differences. However, these two breeds are excellent egg layers. Again, taking care of these two chicken breeds is pretty easy compared to caring for other egg-laying chicken breeds.

Check the differences and similarities of each breed while deciding which of these two breeds suits you best.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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