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 chicken 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 chicken 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 Jersey Giant chicken below.
|Jersey Giant Chicken | Breed Profile|
|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|