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While senior poultryman for the Beltsville, Maryland, government station, Harry M. Lamon conceived the idea of a new general-purpose breed of fowl to be developed by blending the egg and meat producing characteristics from three established breeds – Silver-Gray Dorkings, White Plymouth Rocks, and White Leghorns. Several qualities were of utmost importance in this new breed. First, the bird should be a prolific producer of large, white-shelled eggs and command top prices as a table fowl with fine meat qualities even after egg production slacked off. At maturity roosters reach 8 pounds and hens 6 1/2 pounds. These birds should also have early development, fast growth, and good foraging skills.
Mr. Lamon wanted to create a breed to be distinctive in type and able to justify the pride of a true poultry fancier. The aim was to develop a fowl with white plumage, yellow skin, yellow beak and legs, but at the same time have a larger body than a Leghorn and a red earlobe so as not to be confused with larger type Leghorns. Original breeding stock was selected from outstanding flocks at that time: Silver-Gray Dorkings from Watson Westfall, White Plymouth Rocks from Frank Davey, and White Leghorns from Dan Young. After sixteen years, the ultimate goal was reached. The end result of these crosses was the production of a fine, general purpose fowl with a well-rounded body, yellow skin and legs, a single comb, four toes, and red earlobes. The Department of Agriculture regarded the development of this new breed as noteworthy achievement of one man – Harry M. Lamon – who had made all matings connected with this project. Therefore, the Secretary of Agriculture, Henry Wallace, approved the recommendation, on April 23, 1921, that the new breed be named Lamona, in honor of its originator. The Lamona was admitted to the Standard of Perfection in 1933.
These birds are fine producers of large white-shelled eggs. The Lamonas had trapnest records of 268 eggs per year! Despite their qualities however, Lamona populations declined up until the 1980’s when the breed was thought to have gone extinct. With the assistance of the American Poultry Association, and with input from the Society for Preservation of Poultry Antiquities, the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy discovered the existence of one and possibly two flocks of Lamona chickens in 2005. The owners of each of these flocks request to remain anonymous as yet; neither being prepared to offer any stock at this time.
Status: See CPL