Origin, diffusion and economic characteristics
The Livorno (or Livornese) or Italian chicken breed is internationally known with the name Leghorn.
The origins are unclear: the name derives from the port from which, in 1828, these animals left for North America.
In 1874 it was included in the American Standard of perfection in white, black and brown colors. The white was mainly selected for the production of eggs. From America Livorno returned to Europe and mainly to England in 1870 and then returned to Italy.
The British, as good traditionalists, have today Livorno in Standard more or less as it came from the United States, very different from what we see today.
In 1886 the Livorno rose crest was recognized by the American Poultry Association.
It is an excellent producer of white-shelled eggs. White Livorno can reach very high average annual depositions (280 eggs), with peaks of 300-320. With its numerous varieties with a differently colored coat, it has spread all over the world.
Only for a few years, Italian breeders have had the reference to the Standard of Livorno with indigenous typology for their selection. LItaliana (Livorno German selection) is however present in the Standard Book of Italian poultry breeds, but with its own Standard.
At the exhibitions prior to the publication of the Standard Book, perhaps due to the massive presence of subjects from Germany, all animals registered as Livorno were judged mostly with Standard dell 'Italianiana thus helping the counter selection of our breed. It is an officially recognized breed in Italy .
- Livorno White
- Livorno Orange Neck
- Livorno Gold Neck
- Livorno Fulva
- Black Leghorn
The Livorno is a leaner and taller breed on the tarsi than the Italian, with the neck carried erect and slightly arched which gives it a lively and always alert air. Even the character is different, Italian is more peaceful.
The tail is carried at an angle of 55/60 ° in the rooster and 40/45 ° in the hen.
The helmsmen in both sexes are quite open and regularly overlapping. In the rooster the sickles are well rounded and cover the helmsman. The cylindrical trunk, medium long and slightly inclined towards the croup.
The wings must be carried high, well closed and well adherent to the body, with the lower horizontal line.
The legs must be evident (more than in Italian), the tarsi with fine bone structure and a beautiful intense yellow (orange traces are admitted on the sides); four fingers. Yellow skin.
The belly is well developed especially in the hen, characteristic of a good laying hen.
All the plumage is well adherent to the body, without bearings, with fairly wide and soft feathers.
The head is beautiful and with all parts well proportioned.
The beak is proportionate to the head, yellow in color (blackish traces on the top in barred, blue and black colors are allowed).
The eyes are large and lively, with orange-red iris.
The crest is simple, of medium length, carried erect in the cock and bent after the second tooth in the hen. Five teeth with a fairly wide base arranged on the blade regularly and radial allocchio. They must face upwards and not backwards.
A ridge with 4/6 teeth can still be a good ridge. The lobe follows the line of the nape without leaning on it. Medium-length, fine-textured oval wattles must not have either vertical or horizontal folds, but fall flat without opening in front. Red and oval wattles. Red and smooth face.
Oval owl, relaxed and smooth, from ivory white to cream white, without red traces.
- Rooster 2,4 - 2,7 Kg
- Hen 2,0 - 2,3 Kg
The plumage in all colors is bright and rich in reflections. The white variety is the best known and most widespread and the most used to create laying hybrids (it also becomes part of white pen hybrids for the production of broilers). Other varieties are Barred, Blue, Silver Neck, Orange Neck, Gold Neck, Fawn, Black, Fleece, Columbia White.
The most serious defects are a type too similar to the Italian one, the straight crest in the hens and teeth lacking the required shape, the wattles open as butterfly or too long and the mumps, even if only slightly stained with red or intense yellow.
Leghorn pair silver neck (photo Francesco Sodi)
Leghorn breed Silver neck