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    Exchequer Leghorns.

    Click on photos to enlarge

    The Exchequer is an egg machine and beautiful with it.

    She lays a large white egg and will do so for at least 4 years.This strain has been in our family for well over 60 years.I have had them for over 40.

    They have never been outcrossed and probably one of the oldest pure strains in the UK. They produce a very strong chick that feathers up fast and comes into lay at around 18 weeks.

    They do better free range than penned up and will gain a great deal of food themselves.Active and alert and always on the go.

    I have a flock of 10 females and a superb stock cock all selected to the standard and for laying ability.They are non sitters.

    I am very proud of my Exchequers and get high hatch results from the eggs.

    A History of the breed.

    I was very kindly sent a very old copy of Mr Robert Miller’s price list and promotional booklet by Mr Iain Carmichael.

    Mr Robert Miller was the originator of Exchequer Leghorns and it made very interesting reading.

     

    Back in 1904 Robert Miller was established in Denny (Scotland) at his Sterlingshire Poultry Farm. It was quite a large poultry establishment and they sold hatching eggs, chicks and Birds.

    In those days you could put a box of eggs or birds on a train and have them delivered or collected from your nearest railway station the same day or the following day depending how far away you were. I remember those steam trains and carriages from my teenage years when I worked on the railways as firstly a lamp boy and subsequently as a porter.

    All livestock travelled by rail, Cattle, Sheep, horses and poultry and there were large stockyards at the station where the bigger animals were held until the goods train collected them.

    Poultry and eggs travelled by passenger train in the guards van and taken off at the station for collection by the buyers. Dozens of boxes of day old chicks came off the trains and put near the old coal stove in the parcels office if it was cold.

    I use to get quite worried if the pick up was delayed, as the chicks would cheep all the time they were in there.

    Reading his catalogue it seemed he chanced upon a batch of 5 chicks that were black and white and bred them on from those and by 1922 he must have bred many thousand. A debate into the origin of this breed raged throughout the UK and Poultry World (magazine) asked Mr Miller to give his version of events leading up to the ‘discovery’ of that breed.

    From 1905-06 he had started selling this breed and sang the birds praises whenever he got the chance.

    The prices for the breed were quite high at the time. From 8/- (8 shillings .old money about 40p nowadays) for 15 eggs (standard) to a whopping 20/- twenty shillings (£1) for 15, ‘Best Exhibition’. He could supply a large quantity, so the farm must have carried a lot of stock. £1 in those days (1906) was a lot.

    There were hundreds of poultry breeders supplying eggs and birds all over the country and some claims made by some of them were to say the least exaggerated. Before long the government stepped in and laying trial stations were set up to give the buyers of these layers a bench mark to work from. If you bought in a load of POL and found out they were crap at producing eggs you were in trouble, you’d spent your budget and had to make money from the eggs to repay your investment.

    Well this breed did what it said on the tin. They did lay well, but depending on how they were treated and housed any Leghorn would repay the effort put into them.

    I believe that the original birds were crossed with Ancona to get not only the feather pattern but the high egg number through hybrid vigour

    Exchequer Leghorn Hen.

     

    Exchequer Leghorn.

     

    Exchequer Leghorn Hens

     

    You can see how similar Ancona are to Exchequers.

    Ancona Pullet.

    Exchequer Pullet.