Jersey Giant chicken is the largest chicken breed which originated in the United States in the late 19th century. Jersey Giant chicken was created by John and Thomas Black.
They were intended to replace the turkey and produce such a poultry breed which primarily used for meat production purpose at the time.
Black Javas, Black Langshans and Dark Brahmas were used for producing Jersey Giant chicken. They were originally called the Jersey Black Giant after the brothers who developed the breed. The breed was developed as a dual purpose bird in New Jersey in America around 1870.
Jersey Giant chicken is a slow maturing breed and it has a poor feed to weight conversion ratio. That’s the reason they are not a popular breed to the commercial poultry farmers. But they were very popular as a meat bird in the late 1800s.
There are three color varieties of this chicken breed which are recognized by the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection. American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection added the Black variety in 1922, White variety in 1947 and the Blue variety was added in 2002.
On an average Black varieties are a pound heavier than the White variety. Though the present size of this breed is considerable. They were heavier in the past.
Jersey Giant chicken is now listed in the Watch category of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List.
There is also a bantam variety of Jersey Giant chicken available. Read about characteristics, behavior, temperament and full breed profile of Jersey Giant chicken below.
Jersey Giant Chicken Characteristics
Jersey Giant chicken is the largest dual purpose chicken breed in the American Class. It is good for eggs as well as meat. Jersey Giant hens lay more eggs compared to other heavy breeds. They lay large light brown eggs and particularly known as good winter layers.
Hens also go broody. But Jersey Giant chicken is a slow growing breed compared to modern broilers. They require a large amount of food and time to reach their full size.
Sometimes Australorps are often confused with the Jersey Giant chickens. But there are some differences between this two breeds. You can easily tell the differences by their legs.
The legs of Australorp chicken are black, the bottoms being pinkish-white. But the legs of Jersey Giant chicken are black, and the bottoms of their feet is yellow. Jersey Giants are beautiful and enormous birds.
They are well built with a long deep breast, and this build is described as brick shaped. They have a single bright red comb, long wattles and ear lobes. Their eyes are dark brown and skin color is yellow.
Black variety of Jersey Giant has black plumage with a beautiful green sheen. And the baby chicks of the Black variety are mostly black but do show creamy patches on the underbody, wing tips, and around the face.
The white persists in the plumage until final molt of chick feathers takes place. White variety of Jersey Giant chicken has white plumage and very dark brown eyes. Baby chicks are a real smoky gray varying from almost black to quite light.
On an average, standard Jersey Giant males weight about 5.9 kg and females about 4.5 kg. And the bantam males weight about 1.1 kg and females about 0.96 kg. Photo from Chickeneggspert.
Jersey Giant chickens are very friendly, calm and docile breed. They are robust and fairly cold hardy. The roosters are rarely aggressive. This breed also get on well with other varieties of birds and pets.
They are not flighty, but require lot of space. So particularly high boundaries is not needed for keeping them confined. Hens do go broody and are known as very protective mothers.
Jersey Giant is a slow growing breed, and take pretty long time to develop their large frame. They are great foragers and do well in free range system. They can also bear confinement well. Pullets start laying eggs at about 6 months of age. Review full breed profile of this chicken breed below.
|Breed Name||Jersey Giant|
|Breed Purpose||Dual Purpose (Meat & Eggs)|
|Breed Temperament||Calm, Docile, Friendly, Quiet, Bears Confinement Well, Easily Handled|
|Climate Tolerance||All Climates/ Cold Hardy|
|Egg Color||Light Brown|
|Varieties||Black, Blue and White varieties are recognized by the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection|
Jersey Giant Chicken Facts
Here are some of the best Jersey Giant chicken facts that you may not know about.
They Are One of the Largest Chicken Breeds
As their name suggests, Jersey Giants are one of the largest chicken breeds in the world. They can weigh up to 13 pounds for a rooster and 10 pounds for a hen. This makes them an excellent choice for people who are looking for a meat bird.
They Come in Three Colors
Jersey Giants come in three colors: black, white, and blue. The black variety is the most common, while the blue variety is the rarest. The white variety was developed later than the other two and is not as popular.
They Are Great Egg Layers
Despite their large size, Jersey Giants are excellent egg layers. Hens can lay up to 260 eggs per year, which is more than most other large chicken breeds.
They Are Docile
Jersey Giants are known for their docile and friendly personalities. This makes them great pets for families with children.
They Are Not Aggressive
Unlike some other chicken breeds, Jersey Giants are not aggressive towards people or other chickens. This makes them easy to handle and raise.
They Are Hardy
Jersey Giants are a hardy breed of chicken that can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. This makes them an excellent choice for people who live in areas with extreme weather conditions.
They Are Slow to Mature
Jersey Giants are slow to mature, which means that it takes longer for them to reach their full size than some other chicken breeds. However, this also means that they will continue to grow and produce eggs for a longer period of time.
They Are Great Meat Birds
Jersey Giants are an excellent choice for people who are looking for a meat bird. Their large size and meaty bodies make them a popular choice for meat production.
They Can Be Raised for Show
Jersey Giants are a popular breed for poultry shows. Their large size and striking appearance make them a favorite among poultry enthusiasts.
They Are Relatively Quiet
Jersey Giants are a relatively quiet breed of chicken. They do not make as much noise as some other breeds, which makes them a good choice for people who live in urban areas.
They Are Good Foragers
Jersey Giants are excellent foragers and will happily spend their days scratching and pecking around for food. This makes them a great addition to any backyard flock.
They Are Slow to Develop Feathers
Jersey Giant chicks are slow to develop their feathers. This means that they need to be kept warm for longer than other breeds of chicken.
They Are Not Flighty
Jersey Giants are not a flighty breed of chicken. They are content to stay close to home and do not try to escape from their enclosure.
They Can Be Broody
Jersey Giant hens can be broody, which means that they will sit on their eggs and try to hatch them. This can be a good thing if you want to hatch your own chicks, but it can also be a nuisance if you want your hens to continue laying eggs.
They Are Good Mothers
Jersey Giant hens make good mothers and will take good care of their chicks. They are protective and will defend their young from predators.
They Are Late Bloomers
Jersey Giants are late bloomers when it comes to laying eggs. It can take up to nine months for them to start laying, which is longer than most other chicken breeds. However, once they start laying, they will continue to do so for several years.
They Are Long-Lived
Jersey Giants have a relatively long lifespan for a chicken breed. They can live up to 10 years or more with proper care.
They Are Good in Cold Climates
Jersey Giants are a cold-hardy breed and can tolerate cold temperatures better than many other breeds of chicken. They are also good at foraging for food in snow-covered areas.
They Have Strong Legs
Jersey Giants have strong legs and are good at walking and running. This makes them well-suited for free-ranging and foraging.
They Are Easy to Train
Jersey Giants are intelligent and easy to train. They can be trained to do tricks and to follow simple commands.
They Are Popular in the United States
Jersey Giants are a popular breed of chicken in the United States. They were developed in New Jersey in the late 19th century and have been a favorite among poultry enthusiasts ever since.
They Are Good Layers of Large Eggs
Jersey Giant hens lay large brown eggs that are prized by many people for their rich flavor and high nutritional content.
They Have a Unique Appearance
Jersey Giants have a unique appearance with their large size, long legs, and striking colors. They are a beautiful bird and are sure to be a conversation starter in any backyard flock.
Tips for Raising Jersey Giant Chickens
Raising Jersey Giant chickens can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging if you don’t know what you’re doing. These large birds require special care and attention to thrive. Here are some of the best tips for raising Jersey Giant chickens to help you get started.
Provide a Spacious Coop
Jersey Giant chickens are large birds and require a spacious coop to move around comfortably. A coop that is too small can cause stress and health problems. The recommended minimum size for a coop for two Jersey Giant chickens is 8 feet by 8 feet.
Install a Secure Fence
Jersey Giants are not good fliers, but they are good at escaping from their enclosure if given the chance. A secure fence around the coop and run area is essential to prevent them from wandering off or becoming prey to predators.
Provide Plenty of Ventilation
Good ventilation is crucial for the health of Jersey Giant chickens. Poor ventilation can lead to respiratory problems and other health issues. Ensure that the coop has plenty of windows and vents to allow fresh air to circulate.
Use Proper Bedding
Jersey Giants require clean and dry bedding to stay healthy. Good bedding options include straw, wood shavings, or pine shavings. Avoid using cedar shavings as they can be toxic to chickens.
Provide Clean Water
Clean and fresh water is essential for the health of Jersey Giant chickens. Ensure that their water source is clean, and the container is large enough to hold plenty of water for the day.
Feed a Balanced Diet
Jersey Giants require a balanced diet to stay healthy and to produce eggs. A balanced diet should include a mix of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Commercial chicken feed is a good option, but you can also supplement their diet with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Supplement with Grit
Jersey Giants require grit to help them digest their food properly. Grit is small stones that the chickens swallow and use to grind their food in their gizzard. You can purchase commercial grit or provide them with access to small stones in their environment.
Provide a Dust Bath
Jersey Giants love to take dust baths to keep their feathers clean and healthy. Provide them with a designated area where they can take a dust bath, such as a shallow container filled with sand or dirt.
Protect Against Predators
Jersey Giants are large birds and can attract predators such as foxes, raccoons, and hawks. Install predator-proof fencing and secure the coop at night to protect your chickens from harm.
Jersey Giants are intelligent birds and need stimulation to prevent boredom and stress. Provide them with toys such as hanging treats or a mirror to peck at.
Keep the Coop Clean
Keeping the coop clean is essential for the health of Jersey Giant chickens. Regularly clean the coop and remove any droppings or old bedding to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria.
Check for Signs of Illness
Regularly check your Jersey Giant chickens for signs of illness such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or diarrhea. If you notice any signs of illness, seek veterinary care immediately.
Give Them Space to Roam
Jersey Giants are good at foraging and need space to roam to stay healthy and happy. Provide them with a fenced-in run area or allow them to free-range in a safe and secure environment.
Keep Them Safe from Extreme Temperatures
Jersey Giants are hardy birds, but they are still vulnerable to extreme temperatures. Provide them with shelter from the sun and shade in hot weather and provide them with a heat source in cold weather.
Handle Them Gently
Jersey Giants are docile and friendly birds, but they can still become stressed if handled roughly. When picking them up, support their body and avoid squeezing them tightly. Handle them gently to prevent injury and to maintain their trust in you.
Monitor Egg Production
Jersey Giants are good egg layers, but their production can be affected by factors such as age, health, and diet. Monitor their egg production and make adjustments to their diet or environment if necessary to ensure that they are laying consistently.
Biosecurity is essential for the health of your Jersey Giant chickens. Practice good biosecurity by washing your hands before and after handling chickens, wearing different shoes or boots when entering the coop, and preventing contact between your chickens and other birds.
Jersey Giants are social birds and thrive when kept with other chickens. Socializing them with other birds from a young age can help them develop good social skills and prevent loneliness and stress.
Jersey Giants love to perch and roost at night. Provide them with sturdy perches at different heights to give them a place to rest and sleep.
Check for Egg Binding
Egg binding is a common problem in Jersey Giant hens and can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. Check your hens regularly for signs of egg binding, such as straining or lethargy, and seek veterinary care immediately if you suspect a problem.
Monitor Their Weight
Jersey Giants can become overweight if they are not provided with enough exercise and a balanced diet. Monitor their weight regularly and adjust their diet or exercise routine as needed to maintain a healthy weight.
Train Them to Come When Called
Training your Jersey Giant chickens to come when called can be useful for rounding them up or getting them back into their coop. Start by using a specific call or sound when feeding them, and gradually associate that sound with coming when called.
Last but not least, enjoy your Jersey Giant chickens! These beautiful and friendly birds can provide endless entertainment and companionship if cared for properly. Take the time to watch them, interact with them, and appreciate them for the amazing animals that they are.