Livorno Argentata Chicken
Gallus gallus L
RISK OF EROSION: high
The current distribution of this breed in Italy is limited to the Marche, Lazio, Tuscany and Umbria, mostly in amateur farms.
The origins of the Livorno breed are not perfectly clear. However, it is believed that Livorno originated in central Italy, selected using light chickens: the name derives from the port from which, in 1828-34, these animals left for North America.
It is a light, slender and very elegant chicken, thanks to its rich plumage and long, showy tail. The University of Perugia preserves a strain that is particularly responsive to the ideotype of the breed as described in the historical testimonies.
In 1874 it was included in the American Standard of Perfection in the colors white, black and brown. The white was mainly selected for egg production. From America Livorno returned to Europe and mainly to England in 1870 and then returned to Italy. With its numerous varieties with differently colored coat it has spread all over the world. At the time all the breeds did not have well-established and homogeneous morphological characteristics but with a strong hint on the production of meat and eggs and on adaptability. There is no trace of crossings made to modify the morphology, but only of a rigorous selection, by means of “trap nests”, to develop earliness and to increase deposition. The Animal Husbandry Section of the DSA3 of Perugia has bred this breed in the last 60 years, preserving it from crossbreeding and genetic drifts due to the lower production performance compared to commercial hybrids. The experiments have led to the identification and obtaining of an excellent product, the result of an (extensive) farming system with low environmental impact that improves the welfare of the animals and the qualitative characteristics of the productions. For just a few years, Italian breeders have used the Livorno Standard with native typology as a reference for their selection. The Italian (Livorno German selection) is however present in the “Standard Book” of Italian poultry breeds, but with its own Standard. At the exhibitions preceding the publication of the “Standard Book”, perhaps due to the massive presence of subjects from Germany, all animals registered as Leghorn were mostly judged with the Standard dell’Italiana thus helping the counter-selection of our breed. It is an officially recognized breed in Italy.
TYPICAL FARMING AREA
The current distribution of this breed in Italy is limited to the Marche, Lazio, Tuscany and Umbria, mainly in amateur farms.
It is a light breed with a marked aptitude for egg production, with a white shell, weighing 50-55 g. The average annual production of eggs is about 180, but can reach peaks of 250. Currently, a renewed interest in native breeds has allowed a generalized recovery of the breed which is well represented in Italian and foreign poultry exhibitions.
Texts taken from “Regional register of autochthonous genetic resources of the Umbria Region”