Monday, May 7, 2012

Exchequer is a fancy name for "Pretty"


Opal checking out a potential nesting spot
Leghorns originated in Italy, and are some of the most prolific layers in all of the poultry-dom. I used to categorize leghorns into the "boring" category, because really, just how fun can a plain white chicken get? I preferred the more colorful, the more rare, and the kind with obvious personality.

It wasn't until we got an Exchequer Leghorn in an order of chicks from Ideal Poultry that I discovered that Leghorns can indeed, have personality. This little missy, named "Opal" by my son who is her primary caretaker, has surpassed all expectations of what a BWL should be in my mind. (BWL: Boring White Leghorn - got that acronym from another friend who had similar thoughts). 

The Exchequer variety originated spontaneously from a flock of White Leghorns in Scotland. (No wonder they have personality!) This variety doesn't lay nearly as many eggs as their pure white counterparts, but it's a fair trade in my mind for something that doesn't look so dull. 

Opal is sort of a loner. She keeps to herself, and is clearly nowhere near the top of the pecking order. When she was young, she preferred being toted around under my son's arm rather than actually walking the length of the yard herself. She's just over a year old now, and has been giving us medium sized white eggs for several weeks. The kids say that when they go outside for school in the mornings, she is usually hanging out in the carport. I'm beginning to wonder if she's coming for the company, or the cat food. 

Opal is on the far left, she's a bit smaller than my large fowl breeds
Opal did great at the County Fair. She was the only one of her kind, and although people kept calling her a rooster, she held her own, and walked off got carried off with a blue ribbon for her efforts and her pretty face. 

I will no longer call her breed boring, because she has proven that to be completely false, but I will continue to stand my ground on ordering boring white chickens. I hope I don't have any haters for that, but if you're gonna hate me for that then you can have the white ones. Deal? 

If you have interest in ordering your own Exchequer Leghorns, you may have to do a little looking around. From what I know, the hatchery I order from won't have any for another year. Guess that's ok though, because we can't let TOO many people in on our secret Exchequer fan club. 

Opal, the most spoiled Leghorn ever
What's your least favorite breed of chicken? 


Chicken Jane said...

What a great story. Now she's officially pretty. :)

Love your blog, stop by and say hello at my blog
- Chicken Jane

Misty said...

I don't have a preferred chicken breed but I do have to say that miss Opal may in fact be the prettyiest chicken I have ever seen!

CaraDD said...

If Brendan loves her then she's okay in my book. You already know my least favorite breeds...but I'll list them anyway 1)any type of sex-link 2) BWL 3) Road Island Red. Now that I am over here in real farm country there is a phenomenon the drives me crazy. In the feed stores they don't usually have their chicks all nicely labeled, they are just called "assorted pullets"! Can you believe there are people who don't even CARE what breed they're getting!? :D

Anonymous said...

We have two adult hens and 11 1 month old chicks. You are right about the personalities of these girls. One is standoffish, but the other is always the first one at my feet when I visit the coop. Your also right that they are very hard to find from reputable breeders. I had to order them from Kentucky, I couldn't find them anywhere on the East coast.