The Jersey Giant, as the name suggests is one of the largest chicken breeds in the world. When you encounter one, you will probably never forget it.
Though the popularity had gone down, due to its poor feed to weight conversion ratio, the Jersey Giant is becoming popular among backyard poultry keepers. The poor feed to weight conversion ratio is due to the fact that Jersey Giants develop the frame first, then starts building on the flesh after 6 months.
With cocks weighing 13 pounds and hens 10 pounds, it is a good choice for the backyard poultry keeper because of its meat yield and egg production.
History of the Jersey Giant Chicken Breed
Bred to meet the need for heavy roasting chickens, the Jersy Giant was developed from crosses of Black Javas, Orpingtons, and Black Langshans. They were originally named Jersey Black Giants, after the Black brothers (Thomas and John) who bred them in New Jersey.
It was bred to compete with the common turkey, in terms of big roasting meat potions. At the time there was demand for large capons for the roasting markets of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston
The introduction of the broad-breasted turkeys later in the development of Jersey Giant caused it not to become popular since the broad-breasted turkeys filled the market niche the Jersey Giant was being developed for.
The breeders of the Jersey Giant never paid attention to the colors. A breeder by then name Maloney saw the need to standardize the color. His work came up with the black Jersey Giant.
The white Jersey Giant came up as a sport (Mutation) of the black Jersey Giant. The blue Jersey Giant was developed later in the 20th century.
The Bantam variety of the Jersey Giants has also been developed.
Variants of the Jersey Giant Chicken Breed
The Jersey Giant comes in 3 variants namely:-
- Blue jersey giant
- Black jersey giant
- White jersey giant
Characteristics of the Jersey Giant Chicken Breed
The Jersey Giant is rugged, angular shaped with a single comb. It has black shanks (in Black Jersey Giant) and dark willow shanks (in White Jersy Giant). The hens goe broody but it is not recommended as a brooding and incubation bird because of its size.
At 6 months of age, the cockerels will weigh about 9 lbs and go to 12 lbs at 7 months. The hens will start laying at 6 months.
The Jersey Giant is great at tolerating cold weather due to its massive size. They are friendly and calm, getting along very well with other birds. They are good foragers and will excel in a free-range system.
Jersey Giant Chicken Breed Profile
- Egg Shell Color: Brown
- Egg size: Large.
- Egg Productivity: 150 to 200 eggs per year
- Skin Color: Yellow
- Jersey Giant Chicken Breed Standard Weight.
- Cock: 13 lbs
- Hen: 10 lbs
- Cockerel: 11 lbs
- Pullet: 8 lbs
- Purpose: Meat and eggs (Dual Purpose).
- Temperament: Easy to handle, bears confinement. Calm and friendly
- Size: Large.
- Broodiness: Goes broody but not recommended for sitting and brooding because of their size.
- Comb: Single Comb
- Climatic Tolerance: Endures cold temperatures.
- Varieties: Blue, Black, White
- Color Description: Different colors depending on the variety.
- Conservation Status: Watch List
- Country of Origin: United States of America