Legbar Chicken – Breed Profile & Facts
The Legbar chicken breed is a beautifully-crested medium-sized chicken that lays blue eggs. Legbar chickens are good foragers and friendly birds. They are swift to avoid predators when living in a free-range environment.
These chickens adapt well to urban households and small yards. Their super egg-laying capabilities make them among the most popular auto-sexing chicken breeds. Their striking appearance and blue eggs make them an ideal chicken breed for backyard chicken keepers.
What is Legbar Chicken?
The Legbar chicken is a rare auto-sexing chicken breed from the UK. Two geneticists from Cambridge University, Michael Pease and Reginald Crundall Punnet, developed this breed after crossing brown Leghorns with Barred Plymouth Rock chickens.
The Legbar chicken is among the most prominent auto-sexing species. Although this breed is common in UK’s commercial flocks, it’s pretty rare in the US.
Legbar Chicken Characteristics
The Legbar chicken is a medium-sized bird with several color varieties, including cream, silver, and gold. The Legbar chicken has a crest that looks similar to that of the Barred Leghorn chicken. Legbar roosters have muscular, firm, and wedge-shaped bodies. Roosters also have distinct, prominent breasts.
Legbar roosters have horn-colored or yellow beaks. Roosters from this auto-sexing breed have bright red single combs with seven or five spikes. Males have small and compact crests. They have long and thin bright red wattles.
Roosters have muscular, clean, and round legs with four toes on each leg. Legbar roosters look stunning compared to roosters from other breeds, thanks to their well-feathered necks. Males also have silky plumage, which is without excessive or coarse feathers.
Legbar hens have physical traits similar to those of their male counterparts. Nonetheless, hens have single combs that can either erect or fall beautifully to any side of their faces. Hens have slightly hanging tails. Legbar hens have yellow, light willow, or orange legs.
They have more prominent crests than roosters. Both Legbar roosters and hens have long necks and tail feathers. Both sexes have white or yellow skins and blue earlobes.
– Size & Weight
Legbar chickens are medium-sized chickens—Legbar hens weigh approximately 5.5 pounds. Legbar roosters weigh around 7.5 pounds.
The Legbar chicken breed is an ideal breed for egg production. Legbars are fabulous foragers and hardy chickens. Many people choose them because of their blue-colored eggs. Legbars can tolerate confinement, making the birds ideal for backyards. These chickens are pretty docile, although they cherish being on a free-range system.
Nonetheless, Legbars are alert, curious, and relatively noisy. Hens aren’t broody, although they aren’t excellent winter layers. Legbars are gregarious chickens that love foraging in fields in groups.
Legbars are hardy, and most of these birds live between five and ten years. Some issues determining how long these chickens will live include hereditary issues, environment, living conditions, and nutrition. Legbars are healthy birds and rarely have several problems that are likely to shorten their lifespan.
– Egg Production
Legbar chickens are lovely layers. These chickens can lay around 200 eggs yearly, about 3 to 4 eggs weekly. Legbar hens lay green or light blue-colored, medium-sized eggs. These colored eggs are quite popular, prompting chicken enthusiasts to raise Legbars for eggs.
Legbar chickens start laying between 5 and 6 weeks old. Egg production in Legbar hens usually stops during wintertime because many auto-sexing and crested breeds don’t thrive in cold climates and are also prone to frostbite.
While Legbars don’t lay all year round, these birds are suitable for farmers keen on getting colored eggs from their flocks.
– Meat Production
Legbars may be excellent egg layers, but these chickens aren’t your best meat producers. First, the birds mature slowly; it can take a couple of months before they produce decent quantities of meat. That notwithstanding, Legbars can produce sufficient amounts of chicken meat for smaller families.
Furthermore, their yellow or white meat is wonderfully delicious and tender. Legbar roosters are relatively large and can produce decent amounts of meat than the average roosters from other chicken species.
Legbar Chicken Care
Legbars are among the best chickens to keep for colored eggs. These chickens are active, friendly, and curious. Because these birds have minimal health issues, raising and maintaining them in your cage or backyard is easy. Nonetheless, giving your Legbars great care is advisable to keep them active, healthy, and happy. Below are some insights into how you should care for your Legbars.
– Feeding & Nutrition
The first key to caring for your Legbars is to ensure they have quality food at their disposal. Legbars can thrive on quality feed, although chicken feed alone won’t meet all their dietary requirements.
Since Legbar baby chicks are too tiny to eat various food items, baby chicks can do fine with a starter feed. However, the starter feed should be highly nutritious for the Legbar baby chicks. For instance, it should have a high protein content, preferably 20% protein.
Protein will help your baby chicks maintain steady growth and development. Most baby chicks that suffer from stunted growth usually have a protein deficiency. They also tend to grow feathers pretty slowly because protein offers building blocks for feather growth in baby chicks, and baby chicks can’t grow feathers without adequate protein.
Once your baby chicks are mature enough to eat solid foods, you can introduce quality chicken feed to the birds. Although the chicken feed, in this case, shouldn’t have a relatively high amount of protein, it should have all the nutrients, fiber, healthy fats, and minerals to propel your chicks’ growth and development.
Younger Legbars, or Legbars in their prime, can eat various foods apart from commercial chicken feed. For instance, you can supplement chicken feed with vegetables, grains, fruits, and treats.
The more vegetables your young Legbars will consume, the more vitamins and minerals the birds will get in return. The good thing with Legbars is that they aren’t picky. They can consume various vegetables, including chard, lettuce, broccoli, spinach, and kale.
Legbar pullets and laying hens equally require more protein, like Legbar baby chicks. Legbar layers must consume at least 16% protein daily for maximum egg production. While your hens will get decent quantities of protein from consuming layer feed, additional protein is essential for your hens.
Therefore, additional protein supplementation is crucial for Legbar hens. Insects and bugs make excellent additional protein sources for Legbar hens. Young hens that eat plenty of bugs and insects tend to lay good-tasting colored eggs. Other protein sources for your Legbar hens include fishmeal and mealworm.
Overall, all Legbar chickens, including roosters, need protein. For instance, even roosters undergo molting, so protein is essential to encourage feather growth.
Furthermore, Legbar chickens need a high protein intake during wintertime to help them stay warm, especially considering these chickens aren’t cold-hardy. The more protein your Legbars will consume, the more heat their bodies will generate during winter.
Legbars are active birds, especially when living in a free-range system. Legbars require enough energy-giving foods to provide them with the energy they need to move around. Carbs are the ultimate energy-boosting foods for chickens, including Legbars. Some excellent energy-giving or carbs-rich foods for your Legbars include rice, cracked corn, wheat, and seeds.
However, excess consumption of carbs-rich foods can make your birds overweight or obese, especially if the birds aren’t active during wintertime when they remain indoors and rarely go outside. Thus, you should give your Legbars carbs-rich foods in moderation, and you can sometimes substitute such foods with healthy treats.
Legbars should eat at least three times per day. Although food is essential for your chickens’ growth and health, food alone isn’t enough for Legbars. These chickens, like other fowl, need fresh water.
Ensure there is always water around your chickens. Legbar chickens drink twice as much water as the food they consume. Even the slightest shortage of water for these birds can be disastrous because they risk suffering from dehydration and heat stroke.
With many housing options for Legbar chickens in the marketplace nowadays, choosing the perfect housing option for your Legbars can be confusing. Regardless of the coop you choose for your chickens; it’s imperative to ensure it is strong enough to withstand all weather conditions.
A good home for your Legbars should be warm, vermin proof and draft-free. However, the house should have adequate ventilation.
Since Legbars are active fowl, they need enough room to roam about when they are living indoors. The perfect house for Legbars also needs to have perches up from the coop’s floor because Legbars, like other chickens, love roosting off the ground.
The cage should have nest boxes for your Legbar hens because they need a designated place to lay, or else they will lay everywhere, and you will have plenty of work collecting and cleaning dirty eggs. Because your Legbar hens will lay frequently, ensure you have at least a single nest box serving up to five hens. Keep the nest boxes separate from your chicken’s roosting area.
Have a run outside the coop to provide your Legbars with additional space to run around indoors. The chicken run should be enough for all your birds. You can cover the run with iron sheets to protect them from predators and other harsh elements, such as rainstorms.
Most modern chicken houses have bedding to protect chickens from dirt and to keep them comfortable. Kindly consider the choice of bedding you install in the chicken coop when thinking about the housing requirements for your Legbars. For instance, your Legbars can be clean and comfortable while sleeping on hay, straw, wood shavings, or sawdust.
A good house for your Legbars should be clean. A dirty home can be a haven for parasites and infectious bacteria. Adopt a cleaning schedule to ensure the coop is clean throughout. Furthermore, seal all the crevices and cracks on the cage, or predators may use them to access your Legbars.
The choice of chicken wire you use for your coop also matters a lot when considering housing requirements for your Legbars. Ideally, the chicken wire has to be durable and without large holes because predators will exploit such holes to attack your Legbars.
– Health Problems
Legbars are hardy, although these chickens aren’t entirely free from many health problems that affect domestic fowl. Understanding such issues is vital because it can help save your Legbar flock from death and unnecessary suffering. These are some of the top health problems with Legbar chickens.
- Fowl Cholera– This chronic disease affects the joints, tissues, and sinuses of Legbar chickens. Legbars with Fowl Cholera have symptoms such as diarrhea, loss of appetite, swollen combs, and lameness. The disease is usually common in older Legbars.
- Coccidiosis– The parasitic disease damages the chickens’ intestines, including those of Legbars. Legbars chickens with this disease have several symptoms, including ruffled feathers, loss of appetite, rapid weight loss, and diarrhea.
- Avian Influenza– The bacterial condition in Legbar chickens usually stems from infections from wild birds. Nasal discharge, diarrhea, coughing, and sneezing are some apparent symptoms of Avian Influenza.
- Frostbite-Frostbite is less of a health concern for Legbars. Nonetheless, most crested chickens, such as Legbars, suffer from frostbite due to exposure to snow and freezing conditions during wintertime. Consequently, it would help to keep your Legbars away from the snow during winter.
How Much Do Legbar Chickens Cost?
Legbar baby chickens cost approximately $7 per chick. Young Legbars cost around $15, and adult hens cost around $45. Adult roosters cost below $40.
Are Legbar Chickens Good for Beginners?
These chickens are suitable for beginners since they are easy to handle, raise and maintain. These chickens also boast a friendly temperament, making it easy to get along with their owners and other chicken breeds.
Are Legbar Chickens Hardy?
Legbars are hardy, although they don’t do well in freezing climates. These crested chickens are prone to frostbite, and they are also susceptible to several health problems.
Can Legbar Chickens Fly?
Legbars are quite flighty. These birds are nervous, and they will take flight when under threat. Their long, muscular legs enable them to fly for relatively short distances. Nonetheless, there are a few incidents of Legbars flying too far from their homes.
Tips on Keeping Legbar Chickens
- Keep your Legbars healthy by providing them with an excellent diet
- Protect your Legbars from harsh weather conditions
- Let your Legbars free-rage because they thrive in a free-range system
- Keep dangerous predators at bay while raising Legbars
- Raise your Legbars in proper conditions
The Legbar chicken breed is among the most fabulous chickens to raise for colored eggs. This breed thrives well in a free-range system. Legbars are easy to contain and raise. These chickens are also friendly and can make great companions around their owners and other breeds.