This rare, crested chicken lays sky-blue eggs, loves to free range, and is friendly and calm.
The Cream Legbar breed is a British breed almost a hundred years old, but it is still relatively rare in the United States. Is this gorgeous blue egg-layer right for your backyard chicken flock?
The Cream Legbar is a cross between Barred Plymouth Rocks and Brown Leghorns, with some Araucana and Gold Campine genes. The Araucana genes give the Cream Legbar its funny little crest and the sky-blue or pale green eggs; the Leghorn contributed its excellent egg production (160 to over 200 per year); the Barred Plymouth Rock genes contribute the ability to easily tell roosters from hens when the chicks hatch.
1930's researchers Reginald Crundall Punnett and Michael Pease at the Genetical Institute of Cambridge University in Britain had a goal in mind with the Cream Legbar: to create a chicken with excellent egg-laying ability and a clearly distinct and reliable difference between roosters and hens that could be seen in baby chicks on the day of hatch (a breed trait known as "autosex").
The Cream Legbar is now the most popular autosexing breed of chicken in the world. The female chicks have a dark brown stripe, whereas the male chicks have a much paler and less distinct brown stripe.
The British Poultry Club formally recognized the Cream Legbar in 1958. It nearly died out in the seventies, but has come back due to a renewed interest in blue egg layers.
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The Cream Legbar is a beautiful breed with a feathered crest, a barred feather pattern, and either a single comb or a rose comb. The feathered crest is likely from Araucana heritage. Some people call this breed the “crested Cream Legbar” but the correct name is simply “Cream Legbar.”
There are other color varieties, but the Cream Legbar hen is the only Legbar with blue eggs. The Cream Legbar chicken is medium in size: it weighs between four and seven pounds.
Female Cream Legbars may have more rust-colored feathers than the male, and lighter barring, or less distinct feather barring. Several different lines in the United States have varying levels or chestnut color or rusty feather coloration.
The most desirable coloration is paler cream instead of rust, winning more recent awards in Britain. The Cream Legbar has an overall wedge-shaped body, with long legs and neck, yellow legs, and white or pale blue earlobes.
Some sources report this chicken breed to be “flighty” while others report it is a calm and very sociable breed. The Cream Legbars in my flock are calm and friendly.
Cream Legbars do well in free-ranging or enclosed coops. They are good foragers, and are alert to predators. The hens are rarely broody (but when they are broody, they are excellent mothers). It is a cold hardy breed, but does not often lay through the winter.
The Cream Legbar are very good egg layers. Legbar hens lay between 150 and over 200 eggs per year.
The eggs are true sky blue to pastel green in color. Some breeders would like to see a saturated blue (or light turquoise), which is highly desirable in egg coloration.
The sometimes pastel green eggs of this breed result from the brown egg genes of the Barred Plymouth Rock.
The American Poultry Association (APA) does not yet formally recognize the Cream Legbar breed. The breed is still fairly new to poultry owners in America--it was as recent as 2010 that Greenfire Farms began to import breeding stock, and they claim to be the only supplier with legally-imported, pure-breed Cream Legbars. They continue their breeding program with stock from Jill Rees, award-winning Cream Legbar breeder of England.
If you search, you can find multiple suppliers of Cream Legbar chicks and eggs in the United States.
The Cream Legbar Club was established in 2012 in the United States to preserve and promote the breed in this country, and hopes to get the breed eventually recognized. Their draft breed guide is here.
So, if you would like to add a rare blue-egg-layer with a fluffy crest to your flock, consider the friendly, calm, free-ranging Cream Legbar!
Why do you have or want Cream Legbar chickens? Let us know in the comments below!
All photos via Daphne Cybele
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