The cream Legbar was developed at Cambridge University in Great Brittain by genetic scientists looking to create an auto-sexing chicken. What they ended up with was more by accident than design, and the delightful cream Legbar has an attractive feather pattern, super cute crest, friendly and curious personality, and lays a large number of blue eggs.
Table of Contents
- Blue egg layer
- Hens are suitable for kids and beginners
- Friendly personality
- Predator savvy
Background and History of the Cream Legbar Breed
The cream Legbar originated in the UK along with two other color varieties of Legbars.
It was the second breed of chicken produced to be auto-sexing, making it easier to tell males from females when hatching.
The first ever auto-sexing breed produced was the Cambar, developed by Professor Reginald Crundall-Punnett between 1914 and 1929. He was interested in creating a bird that could be sexed easily at birth.
The Cambar was a cross of the Barred Rock and the Golden Campine, but sadly it became extinct, although some attempts have been made to copy the same genetics in recent times.
Professor Crundall-Punnett then went on to develop the Legbar with the help of Michael Pease. They were working at Cambridge Universities Genetical Institute in Cambridge, England, and produced the Legbar.
The first Legbar was created by crossing Plymouth Rocks to Brown Leghorns, two exceptional egg-laying breeds. The idea was that the chickens would have brown down and also carry the barred gene that made the sex of the chicks possible to tell apart on hatching.
In the United Kingdom, the breed standards for the gold Legbar were agreed upon in 1945, then in 1951, the silver variety was also admitted into the standard.
It was by accident that the cream Legbar was created. It started when Michael Pease tried to improve gold Legbars, and they were bred to white Leghorn chickens. The Leghorns had a dominant white gene which meant that second-generation chicks, had interesting cream colors occurring.
These birds had no crests and laid only white eggs. Later they were crossed again, this time with cream Araucanas that Punnett happened to have in his laboratory. It was these offspring that gave the breed a crest and caused them to lay blue eggs, as well as retaining their auto-sexing properties. Finally, the cream Legbar was created.
These cream Legbars were literally as rare as hen’s teeth, but luckily they just managed to survive extinction. They were recognized as a Legbar color variety by the Poultry Club of Great Britain in 1958, but the British Rare Breed Survival Trust has registered them as a separate breed, and they are currently on their watch list.
They very nearly died out during the 1970s, as blue eggs were not popular at that time, and the bird’s egg-laying abilities were not as great as many other breeds. It was David Applegarth and the Wernless Collection that saved the breed, and blue eggs finally found popularity in the 1980s.
I cannot find any reference to the cream, or any other color of Legbar being recognized on The American Poultry Association website. Nor is there any reference to them on the Livestock Conservancy Organisation’s website.
Temperament and Behavior of Cream Legbars
Besides the cream Legbar being a friendly and alert chicken, they are also very frugal eaters. They have exceptional foraging skills and do very well when permitted to live free-range.
Even though they are easy to tame, they are also incredibly alert. They have a tendency to be flighty if they become alarmed when sensing any potential threat. This makes them better than average at evading predators.
If you’re looking for a breed that’s very self-sufficient, friendly, and curious, then they are likely to be an excellent match for your needs.
They are forever foraging and will check out every last nook and cranny in the hope of discovering a tasty treat.
Although the hens are suitable for both new chicken keepers and children, the roosters can sometimes be pretty aggressive, as they passionately protect their hens. This is not to say that every cream Legbar rooster will try and attack you! Like us, all chickens have their own individual personalities, and some will be more docile than others. A lot has to do with how they are raised.
Often if a rooster is reared alongside his brothers, he will become naturally more aggressive, as it is very natural for the young birds to spar. If your rooster is kept away from other males and is regularly handled by people, he is far more likely to be calm, tolerant, and non-aggressive, particularly around those he knows.
Despite their alertness and greater ability than many other breeds to avoid predators, it is still essential to provide them with a secure place to roost at night where they are protected from hungry critters that might like to make a meal of them.
Cream Legbars typically get on well with other breeds of chicken without any problem, but they are a relatively small breed, so keep an eye out for larger birds picking on them.
Hens do not usually go broody, although if they do, they make good moms. It’s generally necessary to use a different breed of hen, such as a Silkie, Orpington, Cochin, or Brahma if you want eggs to be hatched and raised naturally. Otherwise, you’ll need to use an incubator.
Cream Legbar Chicken Breed Specifics and Traits
The cream Legbar is an egg-laying breed. They appear to be fairly small, due to their very tight, close feathering. However, they are actually of medium size, and hens typically weigh around 5.5 lbs. while roosters are closer to 7.5 lbs.
They are known to be healthy and, depending on how well they are kept and fed, will live for five to ten years or more.
Hens V Roosters – When comparing roosters to hens, the hens are a cream color and have a gray barring pattern on their feathers. They also have salmon color spotting on their breast and neck feathers and are darker than roosters, with their back being more of a gray color. Roosters are paler than hens, with a cream color back and paler barring.
Roosters also have much larger wattles and combs than hens, and as they mature, they are likely to grow spurs on their legs.
Cream Legbars are not usually loud, although the hens will cluck gently between themselves, and they happily sing an egg song. Roosters will inevitably crow from early morning and continue to do so periodically throughout the day.
You don’t need to keep a rooster to have eggs. It just means you won’t have any fertilized eggs with which to raise your own chicks.
Both heat and cold hardy, these fantastic free rangers really are easy to keep.
Overall Appearance – The breed’s triangular appearance shows off a long, flat back, and hens have a straight tail. Roosters hold their tails at around 45°, and the feathers are much longer and arched downwards.
The comb of the cream Legbar is single and red, as are the wattles. They have white or cream earlobes and a yellow beak and legs.
One of the cutest things about the cream Legbar is their crest, a tuft of feathers sprouting from just behind their comb.
Sex Link – The sex-link chicks are easy to tell apart from hatching. Males are paler in color and have a large white spot on the back of their heads. Females have darker stripes, and if they have a white dot on their head, it is very small.
Health and Disease
There are no specific diseases associated with cream Legbars. As for all chicken breeds, precautions must be taken against lice, mites, worms, and other parasites. A veterinarian can guide you with this.
A potential problem with this breed is that they do have a tendency to eat just about anything they come across. It is therefore vital to ensure that there’s nothing that can harm them lurking in the environment. Things like Styrofoam, slug pellets, poison put down for vermin, and so on, can kill your birds.
Providing the proper diet is essential to good health, so be sure to feed suitable food for the age and use of your chickens. Chicks need to receive a specialist chick ration while laying hens need layers pellets that are high in protein and calcium.
When permitted to free-range, the amount of chicken feed you’ll need to provide will be kept to a minimum, but it’s still necessary to provide some in order to ensure your birds are receiving essential nutrients they may not otherwise find from free-ranging alone.
During the winter months, additional feed is required to keep your chickens healthy and prevent too much weight loss.
Chickens of all breeds must always have access to clean, fresh water at all times of the year. When temperatures get very cold, ensure the water is not frozen as they can still become dehydrated.
If you don’t have the space to allow your cream Legbars to be free-range, they can live in a coop, providing each bird has a minimum of four square feet. That is per bird, not cumulatively. So four birds will need an absolute minimum of 16 square feet of space. The more space this breed has, the happier they will be.
There should be enough perches for all of your chickens to roost comfortably. They will need around 12 inches of roost length each. In winter, they will huddle together to keep warm, but in summer, they will need more room to open their wings to help stay cool.
Nest boxes should also be provided. You will need around one box for every four hens. For cream Legbars, a nest box measuring 12”x12”x12” will work fine.
Cream Legbar Eggs
A cream Legbar can lay around 200 medium to large eggs per year. This averages to approximately 4 a week during egg-laying season. The number of eggs a hen lays yearly will naturally decline with age.
The egg shells are usually a glorious pale blue color, but inside, the eggs are the same as any other with a clear white, which turns opaque when heated, and a yellow yolk.
Most cream Legbar pullets (young hens) start laying at around six months of age. This can depend on the season, and it is usual for them to begin laying in spring.
Where to Buy Your Own Cream Legbars
If you’re lucky, you may be able to find cream Legbars from a local enthusiast or breeder. Look for adverts in feed stores and in the local press. You may also find them for sale online on internet sites such as Craig’s List.
Another option is to purchase some from a specialist hatchery. There are hatcheries all over the United States, and you will need to see if they have cream Legbars available.
We use Cackle Hatchery, which breeds their own cream Legbars that are sold as baby chicks. You can buy three minimum for unsexed or female chicks or with a one-chick minimum for a male chick order. Note, however, that you will have to order a minimum of three chicks in total. Maximum order numbers may also apply.
Prices shown here are for guidance purposes only, and the hatchery may change them at any time. They are per chick and depend on the number ordered.
Please also note that delivery and vaccination costs are not included.
- Unsexed – $3.50 to $5.50
- Female – $7.05 to $11.25
- Male – $7.00 to $7.40
These attractive, inquisitive chickens make a wonderful addition to any backyard flock.
Highly independent, very easy to look after, and ideal for keeping free-range, these little beauties are a must-have if you want some blue eggs in your basket.
Being both cold and heat-hardy, they are perfect for almost any location from Florida to New York, California to Seattle.
Providing they receive a good amount of interaction with their owners, cream Legbars will be friendly and curious whenever you visit them. Always happy to receive a tasty treat.
Although still uncommon, these delightful chickens are increasing in popularity and are a sure winner for any poultry keeper.
Q & A’s
Q: What color eggs do cream Legbars lay?
A: True cream Legbars lay beautiful pale blue eggs.
Q: How many eggs do cream Legbar chickens lay?
A: On average, you can expect a cream Legbar to lay 200 eggs per year or around four a day during their most productive years.
Q: Are cream Legbar chickens noisy?
A: Cream Legbar chickens do make some noise. Hens will sing an “egg song” on laying, and they will sometimes chatter amongst themselves, but overall, hens are not very noisy. Roosters will crow from the early morning and sporadically throughout the day. This can be pretty loud.
Q: Are cream Legbars friendly?
A: If your cream Legbar hens have been well socialized with people from young chicks and they receive regular human contact, they will usually be very friendly and want to interact with their people. Roosters can sometimes become overly protective of their hens, but this will depend on individual personalities.