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The Jersey Giant Chicken

History

Originally called the Jersey Black Giant after the brothers who developed the breed, the Jersey Giant is the worlds largest chicken. It was developed in New Jersey in America around 1870 as a dual-purpose bird. The early birds were exceptionally heavy and roosters were often caponised (castrated) which allowed them to grow to an astounding 20lbs! They are thought to have been bred from crosses of Orpingtons, Dark Brahmas, Black Javas and Black Langshans. The Black variety was the first to be developed, followed by the White in the mid-20th Century, which is a sport of the Black. The Blue laced variety is a more modern introduction and is the most beautiful. They are enormous birds, well built with a long deep breast and this build is described as brick shaped. Their featherless legs are black with a green sheen apart from the White variety, which are of a dark willow shade, but the undersides of the feet are yellow unlike the Australorps, which has white soles. The eyes are dark brown and they have a single bright red comb, long wattles and ear lobes.

Behaviour

These large birds need a lot of space but are unable to fly so boundaries do not have to be particularly high to keep them confined. They aren’t really good pets for small children because of their great size though. They do go broody and the hens make very protective mothers. The chicks are slow growing and don’t develop their large frame until they reach around 6 months of age. They are strong, robust birds, which are hardy in cold weather and they are calm and gentle and will tolerate each other well. The hens lay around 160 large, brown eggs a year. Cocks will reach an average of 13lbs in weight while the females are around 10lbs.
Varieties

Black, White and Blue.

Status

Rare

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