Breed Spotlight: The Cream Legbar
The Legbar chicken breed is quite popular in the United Kingdom, where the breed was first developed in the 1930s. But in spite of the Legbar’s chatty personality, great foraging ability, and production of sky blue eggs, it isn’t a breed commonly seen in US flocks.
The Cream Legbar was the first color variety to be developed in England. The goal was to produce an auto-sexing breed. As a part of a genetics breeding program done by Reginald Crundall Punnett & Michael Pease of the University of Cambridge, the professors used the Chilean blue egg-laying hens that were crested, along with Brown Leghorns and possibly some other barred breeds to develop two auto-sexing breeds. Over the next several years, they selected offspring of these initial experiments to develop a bird that was single combed, crested, blue egg-laying, with the important auto-sexing feature. The result was the Cream Legbar. By 1958, the Cream Legbar was recognized as an official breed by the Poultry Club of Great Britain, and the breed standard was adopted.
The Legbar can now be found in the US in one of three color varieties; Cream, Golden Crele, and Frost White. The Cream Legbar is by far the more readily available color. The Cream and Crele color varieties are auto-sexing, a genetic trait that enables one to tell males from female chicks at hatch just by looking at the different down coloring and patterns. Male chicks will have a pale dot on the head and will have little to no eye streaks. Female chicks will have a dark brown to black stripe that starts on top of the head and extends down the length of the body.
Plenty of Personality
Legbars are chatty, active, very curious, and remarkable foragers. The Legbar typically sports a small, slicked back crest of feathers on the top of the head. Interestingly, the Legbar hens tend to develop spurs also, although notably smaller than the roosters’. Legbar hens can go broody and are great mothers. Hens lay an average of 3 to 4 eggs each week. The eggs are a pale to medium sky blue color and are medium in size. Because of their large single comb, they do best in places that experience extreme winter weather due to the risk of frostbite.
Consider adding a few Cream Legbar chickens to your flock if you want those beautiful sky blue eggs. The roosters are absolutely stunning with gold hackles and barring in the body and tail. Both genders are fun to watch forage and chat with the rest of the flock.
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