Breed: Lamona chicken
Origin: Beltsville, Maryland, United States.
Back in 1912, Harry M. Lamon, senior poultryman of the Bureau of Animal Husbandry, initiated the development of the Lamona chicken at the USDA experimental station. He wanted to produce a dual-purpose breed for the American market. He crossed with Silver Gray Dorkings (females), White Plymouth Rocks (males) and Single Comb White Leghorns (males). Leghorns were part of the breeding for their egg laying ability, but Lamon wanted a larger bird for the table, one that produced a dressed weight of four to six pounds. He envisioned the perfect chicken for America: a bird that would lay white eggs, have a meaty body with yellow skin and white feathers so it would produce an attractive dressed carcass, and sport red earlobes so it could easily be distinguished from another popular egg-laying breed, the Leghorn.
Standard Description: A heavy breed fowl developed to lay abundantly for a year and then be processed as a meat bird for the dinner table. Admitted to the Standard of Perfection in 1933. Nearly went extinct in the 1980s.
Egg Color, Size & Laying Habits:
• 4-5 eggs per week during prime laying
Temperament: Friendly, easily handled, calm, bears confinement
Weight: Large fowl: Cock 8 lbs., Hen 6-1/2 lbs., Cockerel 7 lbs., Pullet 5-1/2 lbs.; Bantams: Cock 34 oz., Hen 30 oz., Cockerel 30 oz., Pullet 26 oz.
Hardiness: Well feathered to stay warm against the cold. Their small combs and wattles are not as subject to frost as the larger combs of Mediterranean egg breeds such as the Leghorn.
Coloring: Lamona chickens have red ear lobes but lay white eggs. Most breeds that have red ear lobes lay brown eggs, but the traits are not connected genetically. They have yellow skin, important to the American consumer for meat. English breeds such as the Dorking have white skin, preferred by English consumers. White plumage makes pinfeathers less noticeable.
Lamona Chickens Today: By the 1970s, the Lamona population had dwindled to critical levels, and a few hardcore Lamona enthusiasts were all that separated this breed from extinction. One of these enthusiasts was Steve Gerdes, an Illinois poultry breeder. Gerdes was credited as being one of America’s top Lamona experts in the latter half of the 20th century. Lamonas nearly went extinct in the 1980s, but at the turn of the century, Gerdes took it upon himself to create Lamonas again. Gerdes’s Lamonas are virtually genetically identical to Lamon’s Lamonas. Greenfire Farms acquired a trio of Lamonas from Gerdes stock.
Disqualifications: Ear-lobes are more than one-third white
Popular Use: Eggs and meat, a dual-purpose breed
Comb Type: Single
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