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Ardchattan parish : Benderloch, Barcaldine, North connel, Bonawe - Past and Present
Kintaline poultry 2014 : Chickens : Utility breeds : CREAM LEGBAR
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The Cream Legbar is one of the few autosexing breeds of poultry - this means that the chicks can be sexed at hatching from the colours of their down.
The Cream Legbar is quite an old, now very rare in its true form, pure breed. They are not anything to do with the commercial birds being used to produce multicoloured eggs for the supermarket trade.
Crossing birds with a blue egg gene to other breeds to produce multicoloured egg laying hens DOES NOT CREATE A LEGBAR. Nor does crossing some modern leghorns, barred rocks with a few araucana's. Sadly there are few decent strains, and lots of novices selling what they think are Legbars, without any decent breeding knowledge behind them.
They have become immensely popular to keep a few hens, but that does nothing to help improve the residual bloodlines that might have some quality.
The male chick is on the left and the female chick is on the right (Courtesy of Ket).
The Cream Legbar originated as part of genetics breeding experiments by Professor Punnet [www.jstor.org/pss/769385] and his associate Michael Pease: it was formed from a cross between Brown Leghorns and Barred Rock with a bit of Araucana blood in them, shown in the crest and the blue eggs they lay.
Originally it was also called the Crested Cream Legbar but this is out of date nowadays. Other Legbars are the Gold and Silver.
Egg colour : Blue, usually lighter than the pure Araucana - although some will give olive
Origin : Developed in the 1930's but the number of breeders of true Cream Legbars has declined recently so getting true cream legbars is difficult. Unfortunately the rise in popularity and demand for all sorts of breeds has caused novice and less scrupulous breeders to produce birds with no quality, and dubious purity.
Unique characteristics: A firm and muscular bird with an alert and perky carriage, a wedge shaped body, broad at the shoulders tapering to the rear. A long flat back, prominent breast with straight keel, the wings are large carried close to the body. The tail is held at 45° from the line of the back and is moderately furnished.
The head is fine with a strong beak and large single comb, straight and erect, five to seven even spikes with broad bases. Smooth face, well developed pendant ear-lobes, long and thin wattles. Long well feathered neck.
Strong clean and round shanks, four toes evenly spaced
Male - Cream slightly barred neck hackles, saddle hackles cream barred with dark grey tipped with cream. Back & shoulders cream, barred dark grey. The wings have dark grey barred primaries and secondaries, grey barred coverts with cream tips. The breast is barred dark grey as is the tail but with paler sickles some white is allowed. The crest is cream and grey.
Female - Neck hackles cream with soft grey barring. Salmon coloured breast, silver-grey body with broad indistinct barring. Wings, primaries peppered grey, secondaries lightly barred, coverts silver grey as is the tail with light barring
Both - Yellow beak, legs and feet. Red face, comb and wattles. Ear-lobes white or cream
With the Cream Legbar there are very few good birds left - I have it on very good authority that several of the larger poultry centres have sold birds that are not Cream Legbars. There are lots of inexperienced breeders who have bought eggs from others who have not got proven Legbars, the disappointment is great.
There are also commericial coloured egg layers which are not Cream Legbars either.
I hope future breeders in the United Kingdom will select to produce hardy birds that will lay at least 180 good blue eggs a year, have at least 75% hatchability and are a good type. This requires selection that is simply not being done at present.
Tim and Jill Bowis
Kintaline Mill Farm,
Benderloch, OBAN Argyll PA37 1QS Scotland
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