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Legbars are one of the few auto sexing breeds. It took decades to develop the Legbar. The development of the Legbar can be contributed to 3 individuals: Professor Michael Pease, Professor R. C. Punnett (yes, same geneticist that the Punnett Squares are named after.), and Clarence Elliott, a famous horticulturists.
Punnett led the breeding program at the Genetic Institute for Cambridge University where he worked with Professor Pease. After Punnett retired, Peas took over the entire program and then met Elliot in 1930 who gave him a flock of South American Aracauna. Pease continued working his own line for several years and eventually had a cream colored recessed gene pop up. Even though he retired, Punnett continues working on the development at home as well. He was crossing his birds with gold penciled Hamburgs and was doing numerous back crosses and he too had a cream colored bird pop up. Cream colored birds were unheard of at the time. Both Punnett and Pease crossed their cream colored birds and the Legbar was eventually born from this crossing.
This new breed was first exhibited at the London Dairy Show in 1947. In the 1970’s the Legbars almost went extinct. At the time there was no novelty for the colored eggs. But obviously things have changed over time and now hens that lay colored eggs can be found in almost every flock around the world.
Legbars are a lighter weight bird. They have a long back and a triangular body. They have a single comb with 6 points. Beaks are yellow to horn in color and have a slight point downwards. Both sexes have a small crest that falls forward. Males hold their tales at a 45 degree angle, hens a little less. Legs are clean and yellow in color.
Plumes are a combo of grays and creams with barring that is most noticeable on the tail and breasts of cocks; hens have more subtle barring. Hens may have a slight salmon color to the neck and breast.
Legbars can vary in personality. Some swear by their birds as being docile, friendly and easy to handle but others say they are a nervous, flighty type breed. In our experience with ours here at The Chick Depot, they have been friendly little flock clowns. Often times our hens come indoors to cuddle with the family. Legbars prefer to free range and forage. They are highly skilled foragers; very alert and savvy when it comes to predators. Be mindful of the cocks however, during mating season they can be a little on the aggressive side.
Legbars are productive layers of bright blue eggs. Broodiness depends on the individual hen. They are also an auto sexing breed.
Hens lay around 200 medium sized eggs a year.
Cocks weigh 7-7.5 pounds
Hens weigh 6 pounds
As with all of our colored layers, there is no guarantee on intensity of egg colors as it’s a lottery to what genetics you will get.