Cream Crested Legbar, also called the Cream Legbar, is an auto-sexing type of chicken. This means that you can tell the sex of the chick at hatch, and they breed true.
The Cream Legbar originated as a cross between Brown Leghorns and Barred Rock with some Araucana blood in them. This is reflected in the crest and the green or blue eggs that they lay.
Cream Legbar chickens are a very pretty silvery speckled bird that apparently tames down well and best of all lays pale blue or green eggs!
Cream Legbars were developed in the 1930’s in Cambridge (United Kingdom) by crossing Brown Leghorns, Barred Plymouth Rocks and Araucana, for the egg colour.
Table of Contents
Cream Crested Legbar vs Cream Legbar:
Cream Legbars are a rare breed and are covered by the Rare Poultry Society. They were originally called Crested Cream Legbars but this was later change to Cream Legbar.
The crested has been dropped from the name although it is fine to use either term to describe this breed of chicken.
Primary use: Coloured eggs.
Conservation status: Rare.
Size: Large fowl and bantam.
Weight: Male 2.70-3.40kg (6-7lb) Female 2-2.70kg (4-6lb). The standards of the Bantam Legbars are the same as the large fowl. Bantam males weight 850 g (30 oz) and bantam females weight 620 g (22 oz)
Origin: The Legbar was the second auto-sexing chicken breed created by Prof. Punnett and M. Pease at the Genetical Institute in Cambridge and was first bred in the 1930's.
Classification: Soft feather, light class.
Egg Colour: Blue, Green or rarely Olive and white.
Temperament: Good, suits backyard flocks and commercial operations.
Cold hardy: Yes, the large comb may be a problem in sub zero temperatures.
Colours and varieties: The Legbar has three colour varieties: Gold, Silver and Cream. The Cream Legbar has a crest and lays blue to blue-green eggs.
Broodiness: Known to be general non-sitters with a poor track record as a broody.
Availability: Quality specimens are hard to find but commercial look-a-likes are common and easy to get hold of.
Useful to Know: A good layer that is a good natured, active forager.
What do Cream Legbar chickens look like?
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, small in chicken speak, with a strong beak and large single comb, straight and upright, five to seven even spikes with broad bases. A smooth face with well developed pendant ear-lobes, long and thin wattles and a long well feathered neck.
Both sexes have a yellow beak, legs and feet with a red face, comb and wattles and white or cream ear lobes. Strong clean and round shanks with four toes, evenly spaced
The male has cream coloured, 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.
In the female the neck hackles cream with soft grey barring, a salmon coloured breast, silver-grey body with broad indistinct barring. The primaries are peppered grey, secondaries lightly barred, coverts silver grey as is the tail with light barring.
In both sexes too much brown is an undesirable fault.
I am still in the process of breeding the brown out of my birds.
Below: Day old Crested Legbar chicks.
Below: Crested legbar grower - female.
Below: Crested legbar grower - male.
Below: Crested Legbar hen.
Below: Here are some of my Crested Legbars tucking into a marrow in the fields.
How do you sex the Cream Legbar?
The Cream Legbar breed of chicken was that they are auto-sexing as day old chicks.
The boys have a very easily distinguishable yellow spot on their heads so we know definitely the boys from the girls; who are darker and more stripy.
The male Cream Legbar chicks have a pale dot on their head and have little or no eye barring.
Below: The males and female can be clearly seen.
The female Cream Legbar chicks, the hens, have a dark brown or black stripe on their head which continues down the body with clear eye barring.
The importance that auto-sexing plays in the Legbar breed is also reflected in the fact that, next to a standards for the adult birds, the down colour and patterns are also standardised.
Day old male chicks can be distinguished from day old female chicks by the down colour and the pattern they form.
Female Legbar chicks in general have a broad very dark brown stripe extending over the head, neck and rump and a clear eye barring. The edges of the stripe are clearly defined and should not be blurred and blending with the ground colour, which is dark brown.
A light head spot should be visible but is usually small.
The male Legbar chicks in contrast have a much paler down shade and the pattern is blurred and washed out from head to rump.
Crested Legbar breed standards:
Carriage : Very sprightly and alert, with no suggestion of stiltiness.
Type: Body wedge shaped, wide at the shoulders and narrowing slightly to root of tail. Back long, flat and sloping slightly to the tail. Breast prominent, and breast bone straight. Wings large, carried tightly and well tucked up. Tail moderately full at an angle of 45 degrees from the line of the back.
Head: Fine. Beak stout, point clear of the front of the comb. Eyes prominent. Comb single, perfectly straight and erect, large but not overgrown, deeply and evenly serrated (5 to 7 spikes broad at the base), extending well beyond back of the head and following, without touching, the line of the head, free from ‘thumb marks’ or side spikes. Face smooth. Ear-lobes well developed, pendent, smooth and free from folds, equally matched in size and shape. Wattles long and thin.
Neck: Long and profusely covered with feathers.
Legs and Feet: Legs moderately long. Shanks strong, round and free of feathers. Flat shins objectionable. Toes, four, long, straight and well spread.
Plumage: Of silky texture, free from coarse or excessive feather.
Handling: Firm with abundance of muscle.
The general characteristics are similar to those of the male, allowing for the natural sexual differences, except that the comb may be erect or falling gracefully over either side of the face without obstructing the eyesight, and the tail should be carried closely and not at such a high angle.
The neck hackles cream, softly barred grey. Breast salmon, well defined in outline. Body silver grey, with rather indistinct broad soft barring. Wings, primaries grey-peppered; secondaries very faintly barred; coverts silver grey. Tail silver grey, faintly barred. Crest cream and grey, some chestnut permissible.
In both sexes: Beak yellow. Eyes orange or red. Comb, face, and wattles red. Ear-lobes pure opaque, white or cream, slight pink markings not unduly to handicap an otherwise good male. Legs and feet yellow.
Weights: Male 2.70-3.40kg (6-7lb) Female 2-2.70kg (4-6lb)
Bantam males weight 850 g (30 oz) and bantam females weight 620 g (22 oz).
Serious defects: Male’s comb twisted or falling over, Ear-lobes wholly red. Any white in face. Legs other than orange, yellow or light willow. Squirrel tail.
Disqualifications: Side sprigs on comb. Eye pupil other than round and clearly defined. Crooked breast. Wry tail. Any bodily deformity.
Scale of points: Type 30 Colour 20 Head 20 Legs 10 Condition 10 Weight 10.
The Gold Legbar male has pale straw neck hackles which are sparsely barred with gold and black. Breast, belly and wing coverts are barred dark grey with the primaries intermixed with white, while the upper web of the secondaries are intermixed with chestnut. The saddle, back, shoulder coverts, and wing bows are pale straw barred with bright gold-brown. The tail and tail coverts are barred grey while the sickles are paler.
The neck hackles of the female Gold Legbar are pale gold and barred with black. The breast is salmon and clearly defined from the dark smoky to slaty grey-brown body with light barring. The wings are a dark grey-brown, while the tail is dark grey-black with lighter broad bars. They lay white or cream-coloured eggs.
The Silver Legbar male has silver neck hackles which are sparsely barred with dark grey and tipped with off to pure silver. Breast, belly and wing coverts are barred dark grey and silver-grey. The saddle, back, shoulder coverts and wing bows are silver with dark grey barring and silver tipped feathers. The tail and tail coverts are evenly barred dark grey and silver-grey while the sickles are paler.
The neck hackles of the female Silver Legbar are silver and barred with black. The breast is salmon and clearly defined from the silver-grey body with indistinct broad light barring. The wings are silver-grey, while the tail is also silver-grey with indistinct soft barring. They lay white or cream-coloured eggs.
Some Cream Legbars do not fulfil the breed standard of the Poultry Club of Great Britain because they have lost the 'inhibitor of gold' or the dilute cream gene.
What colour eggs does the Cream Legbar lay?
Cream Legbars lay a pastel colour of blue or green, usually lighter than the pure Araucana. Some will give olive and some are so pale they look white. The colour is present throughout the shell and not just on the outside like it is with brown eggs.
Below: Examples of Crested legbar eggs. This one is very blue.
Below: These Crested Legbar eggs are more greenish and pastel coloured.
Also the light effects exactly what the eggs look like.
The egg colour fades a little over time as the laying season progresses.
The first thing I noticed was the shell of the Legbar egg seemed to be a little bit thicker than the shell of the eggs from our Isa Browns. Over time it seems the legbars produce a high quality egg with fewer defects than some other breeds.
There are also commercial coloured egg layers which are not Cream Legbars either.
Are Cream Crested Legbars good layers?
Prolific egg production is one of the hallmarks of Cream legbars, in my experience they are hardy birds that will lay at least 180 to 200 good blue or green coloured eggs a year.
The shells are solid and the hens seem to suffer less problem with the quality of their egg than production hybrids. Mine almost always never produce double yolkers.
How many eggs does a Cream Legbars chicken lay?
The most eggs I have ever had from a Cream Legbar is 247 in a year and mine averaged 216 in their first year and 190 in their second.
All my egg layers are free range over 4 acres and get a variety of feeds including pellets, whole grains and sprouts.
Are Cream Legbar chickens friendly?
Cream Crested Legbar chickens are not as a rule aggressive. Confined roosters are more likely to fight with each other but it is not a problem I have had with mine.
Below: Mine are happy go lucky and get on with other birds in the flock, including bantams.
How big are Cream Legbar chicken?
Large fowl male weight 2.70-3.40kg (6-7lb) and stand 28 to 32 inches tall . Females weigh in at 2-2.70kg (4-6lb) and stand a little shorter at 26 to 28 inches.
Bantam males weight 850 g (30 oz) and bantam females weight 620 g (22 oz)
Where do Cream Legbar come from?
The Cream Legbar originated as part of genetics breeding experiments by Professor Punnet and his associate Michael Pease. They were bred 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.
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.
Originally it was also called the Cream Crested Legbar but this is out of date nowadays.
Do Cream Crested Legbar need any special care?
No more so than any other breed of chicken. Cream Legbars are a sturdy and hardy breed and mine have lived outdoors in North Yorkshire for many years with no trouble at all. They are active, well feathered birds that cope with most weather just fine.
How old are Cream Legbar chickens when they start laying eggs?
You can expect Legbars to come into lay at around 26 weeks of age depending on the time of year they were hatched. Chickens maturing in the Fall (Autumn) may not start to lay until the days lengthen in the new year.
How long do Cream Legbar chickens live?
They average 6 to 8 years, the same as most chickens.
How much space do Cream Legbars need?
The same as most large fowl chickens need. In my experiance Legbars prefer to be free ranged and like a lot of room.
Are all Cream Legbar crested?
Yes, the crest should always be present, although it is quite small for crested chickens.
Are Cream Legbar broody?
Cream legbars are known as being non sitters and not a broody breed of chicken.
Below: As with all aspects of chicken keeping one will always try to prove me wrong. Here is a cream legbar with her family.
Legbars are more likely to become broody in their second or third season.
How long do Cream Legbar eggs take to hatch?
They take 21 days to hatch. The colour and the breed as a rule do not effect the incubation period.
Where to get Cream Crested Legbars and how much to pay for them:
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.
To find good specimens you will need to look for specialist breeders. You can try the breed association in your country as most keep a list of active breeders.
Poultry auctions or breed sales are a good place to find rare breeds and make contact with specialists.
Forum or Facebook groups for the breed or for coloured egg producers sometimes allow sales.
Hatching eggs can be found on Ebay.
With the Cream Crested Legbar there are very few good birds left.
Expect to pay £3 ($5) for hatching eggs, £10 ($15) for sexed day old chicks and as much as £50 ($70) for fully grown POL Crested Legbar chickens.
8 years ago I paid £100 for a trio so they do not come cheap.
There are lots of inexperienced breeders who have bought eggs from others who have not got proven Legbars, the disappointment is great.