The workhorse of the egg production industry, Leghorns are considered to be a dual-purpose chicken breed.
They are not very large birds and so do not make good meat birds.
White leghorns are not bred for temperament but for egg-laying capabilities and are not the hardy breed they once were.
They do not usually seek affection from humans without taming and are somewhat nervous, reactive birds.
As a rule, and aside from aggressive roosters, Leghorn chickens are relatively friendly, curious birds. They are not overly aggressive chickens with each other, although they are sometimes bossy and perform well in a mixed flock.
These adventurous birds come in different colors.
People are more familiar with the white Leghorn and possibly brown Leghorns, referred to as “Leggerns” in the United States.
To find out more about Leghorns and aggression, keep reading!
Raising leghorns makes excellent chickens for your backyard flock.
But they are not cuddly chickens.
They are considered nervous, active birds, although we found them to simply be entertaining and the clear leaders of our mixed flock.
Our leghorns were noisier than the other hens and certainly assertive.
But I wouldn’t consider them to have been aggressive like our Rhode Island Red hen was.
Our white leghorn hen was the alpha chicken of the bunch and would enthusiastically perform her scout and egg-announcement duties!
She was insatiably curious about what we were doing and would hop up on my shoulder to test my coffee or just attempt to pick my teeth.
White chickens are very well known, but did you know Leghorns come in over 10 varieties and 30 colors?
Aside from White Leghorns, there are:
- Brown Leghorn Chickens
- Exchequer Leghorns
- Bantam Blue Leghorns
- Buff Columbian Leghorns
- Buff Leghorns
- Bantam Leghorns
- Rose Comb Variety Leghorns
- Silver White Leghorns
- Golden Mille Fleur Leghorns
- Dominique Leghorns
Their egg color is white, and they lay about 4 eggs per week.
White leghorns have a yellow beak, white earlobes, and lovely red floppy combs and wattles.
Leghorns can handle cold winters and hot summers much better than larger breeds of chickens.
They aren’t big and don’t make great meat birds.
Further Reading: Are Leghorn chickens good to eat?
These purebred chickens are good foragers, catching bugs and mice galore, endearing themselves to backyard chicken keepers for their economy in feeding.
They will not discriminate between your flower beds and their range, so make sure you block them off.
They enjoy free range immensely and can get into trouble with their wandering ways, as they are very active chickens.
They are good flyers, able to jump up and clear a 10’-foot fence, and will explore anywhere they can get to.
Clipping one wing will keep them unbalanced when trying to fly and will help keep them in their enclosure.
Leghorns, in general, are not super aggressive.
I will say roosters of any breed are sometimes aggressive birds, even those gentle giants, Orpingtons.
A sweet-tempered rooster still protective of his ladies is a gem and is highly valued in chicken keeping.
Sweet-tempered chicks will often turn into aggressive adult chickens once puberty has a hold, ruining your ideals of docile chicken temperament.
A leghorn rooster will be quite protective of his ladies and attempt to dominate all-comers.
This is different from being a mean attack chicken.
As a chicken parent, you must establish yourself as the alpha chicken and let him know you’re in charge, not him.
One technique for chicken domination is to scoop the rooster up and carry him under your arm like a football while you do your chores, not allowing him to bully you.
Release the bird once he is calm and quiet but be prepared to go through this several times before the rooster gets it through their tiny little head you will not be dominated.
Roosters will usually not attack you head-on; they are sneaky.
They like to come at you from behind or the side, lowering their head and sidling towards you with feathers raised and wings out and down, so be sure to turn to face them.
Some people advocate tapping a stick on the ground to intimidate the rooster.
This may simply escalate matters as the rooster may just see you as a bigger threat rather than be cowed.
Occasionally, a rooster will be too aggressive and destined for the soup pot.
This is always troublesome for beginner chicken keepers but is simply part of raising chickens.
What To Do With An Aggressive Chicken
Chickens engage in aggressive behaviors such as pecking, flogging with wings, attacking with spurs, and jumping on top of other chickens or humans.
There is no forethought or malice in chicken aggression; it is just a result of genetic, hormonal, instinctive, or behavioral influences.
Remember, chickens are more protective when there are eggs on the nest and downright militant when they are broody.
If their behavior is not physically harmful, remember it is the nature of their social structure to pick on each other a little and establish the “pecking order.”
If you find a hen overly aggressive to the other chickens or you, remove her from the flock and isolate her.
She needs to observe the flock going about its business without her, preferably in a shaded enclosure of her outside of the chicken coop or wherever they spend the main part of their day.
This will temporarily rearrange the pecking order and give the other hens a break.
If a hen just proves to be incorrigible and is physically harming other hens or people, you may have to cull her.
Children are particularly vulnerable to chicken attacks and have been blinded, so it is important to get a handle on an aggressive chicken immediately.