Extracted from
Leghorn Fowls Exhibition & Utility
by C A House published Poultry World Ltd

THE BLUE  (click for pictures)      Australian version    return to homepage

The elusive Blue, one could almost write, because thus far breeders have never yet been able to secure a male-bird that really could be styled a standard bird. Of recent years some very beautiful lavender-blue pullets have been produced, but the much longed for, sought for, and bred for cockerel of this shade of colour has not yet made his appearance.

Twenty years ago there were some good Blue Leghorn pullets, and during the years in between we have had many that have come near to the standard. It must also be confessed that there have been far more that have displayed black ticks and spots, and sandy smudges than there have been good coloured Blues. The cockerels show much black in hackle, and are generally strawy on top.

If the breeders of Leghorns would only decide to breed on similar lines to the Andalusian and Orpington breeders the Blue Leghorn would become more popular. A really first-class laced Blue Leghorn cockerel would soon be produced.

 For years Orpington breeders tried to produce a self Blue; they found it an impossibility and gave it up. Since then the Blue Orpington has become one of the most popular of the Orpington varieties. Blue Leghorn breeders are up against a stiff proposition. One in which Nature says : "So far shalt thou go, and no farther."

In breeding Blue Leghorns one should select the cockerel breeders as follows: The male should be as near to the Standard of the variety as it is possible to find; he should be in fad a show bird, and his mates should be sound in colour with nice clear hackles and not show any sandy tint. For the breeding of pullets the cockerel may be darker in colour than one that is an exhibition bird, and his mates should be as even and clear in colour as it is possible to get; in fact, good exhibition pullets or hens. Sound tails and flights, and clear under colour they must have. Whether you are breeding for cockerels or pullets, never use dark-legged birds ; make it a sine qua non to use only yellow-legged breeding stock. In this connection it may be noted that very often a pullet that has good yellow legs has dark legs after her first moult as a hen. Birds of this character bred with as hens often upset the calculations of their owner. No man needs to know his breeding stock more than the breeder of Blue Leghorns.

When one has an established strain there will be many birds that are not at all sound in colour, and which show white and black ticks and spots, but which will be invaluable as stock birds when one can find suitable mates for them.