First Imported out of Italy about 1835 to Mr. N.P. Ward of New York City, the Brown Leghorn, known as Italian, made its impressions upon
their new continent of residence. Mr. Ward passed along some of these birds to Mr. J.C. Thompson of Staten Island, who were so impressed
with the breed quickly secured another import from Italy through his son-in-law who was a sea captain. Somewhere during 1840-1845, the
White variety saw its importation into America through the tea ships entering New York. By the mid-1850’s the Leghorn of the Brown and
White varieties were sweeping across the New York area and reaching Massachusetts and the New England landscape as early as 1853 with an
import into Boston by Mr. F.J. Kinney of Worcester, Massachusetts. The Black variety was first imported in 1878 by Mr. Reed Watson of East
Windsor, Connecticut rounding out the Leghorn varieties.
The economic qualities of the Leghorn in their production of the day was unmatched, and only rivaled by the Minorca; though not in quantity, but rather in size. The truthful factor that raised the Leghorn above the Minorca and other poultry in the mid to late 19th century is still today which holds them in a class of their own – unmatched adaptability, vigor, and constitution. The Leghorn chicken is one of our most important breeds; not only economically, but also in our society and culture.
A Case for the Leghorn today
When most people think about the Leghorn, especially the White variety, their thoughts instinctively turn to commercial egg production and the politicization of today's food supply. While the natural adaptation to climate and position coupled with the lofty production of the Leghorn has suited itself to become the base vehicle of mass egg production, it is these same attributes that must remind us why the Leghorn’s popularity grew so greatly once reaching each of its destinations, finding a welcome home on whichever farm they landed. The small farm and homestead once benefited from the ability of the Leghorn not only through its commercial value alone but through its ease of establishing a sustainable model. These same attributes remain needed for today’s farms and homesteads, and these same attributes will also remain valued on farms of the future.
Leghorns at Élevage de Volailles
Élevage de Volailles, like any other farm across the country, has to pay its taxes and bills. As the egg has become a staple of the kitchen
in both cooking and baking, everyone needs their chicken eggs. For our customers that are in need of Farm Fresh Eggs, it became a necessity
for us to provide them. After many years of experimentation with different breeds, we arrived at the sensible conclusion delivered by our
forefather's wisdom - the Leghorn.
As we do not keep our chickens in coops during the day or confine them to chicken tractors, our birds have to be able to deal with cold winter snows, hot summer days, as well as threats of predation. The traditional Leghorn gives our farm a practical and sustainable model with the production rate where they earn their oats.