When you listen to the name “Jersey Giant,” you may think about a leviathan chicken wreaking mayhem in a town as it stomps around with its Godzilla-esque feet.
The Jersey Giant might be a huge chicken breed. However, fortunately, it’s not that big!
Nonetheless, this chicken is the biggest pure-blooded chicken breed in the United States. The only other breeds that come resembling have been hybridized (along with numerous smaller-sized- albeit still large– types like Brahams).
An easy to raise chicken breed, the Jersey Giant provides several advantages to backyard chicken keepers. Let’s dive in!
History of the Breed
Initially established by John and Thomas Black, the Jersey Giant was developed, obviously, in the state of New Jersey. It was produced to serve the need of the time– throughout the late 1800s– for heavy-breasted roasting birds.
Preferably, this chicken would exceed the meat quality and weight of the turkey.
Sadly, although big, the Jersey Giant chicken never rather accumulated to this claim. That’s not to affirm that the Black siblings didn’t attempt, though!
They used a special mix of black Java, black Langshan, and dark-colored Brahmas to develop a large-bodied bird.
They might have adopted some other breeds. However, history is a bit darkened on this subject.
Initially, the chicken breed was granted the name of “Giant,” later on relabelled Black Giants in honor of their color and commemorating the Black bros.
Jersey Giants were relabelled to their existing classification in 1917, with the name honoring the founding state.
Remarkably, the Black siblings didn’t pay a great deal of attention to the coloring of the birds when they initially started to breed them.
Their objective was focused exclusively on weight and meat production. As a result, there were lots of different-colored Jersey Giants in the beginning.
Later on, another breeder called Meloney and a group of other specialists worked to standardize the breed. This was done mainly concerning color, but also in body weight and other purposes too.
He was among the very first to open to the public show these birds.
In 1922, the black Jersey Giant was accepted into the American Poultry Association. Later on, the White Jersey Giant became produced from the different-colored family of the black Jersey Giant.
The American Poultry Association officially accepted the white Jersey Giant in 1947.
While the Jersey Giant’s appeal skyrocketed in the early 1900s, it started to drop off towards the middle and Millenium.
The breed was noted as seriously threatened and endangered by the Livestock Conservancy in 2001.
Fortunately, the focus on raising heritage breed chickens has triggered the bird to be moved to the “watch” list since 2017.
Though still not typical in backyard cages, the Jersey Giant is gradually starting to restore its appeal.
There are three officially acknowledged variations of the Jersey Giant chicken– the black, white, and blue. Blue is the most current accepted color, just approved by the American Poultry Association in 2003.
No matter the colors, the Jersey Giant is a big chicken, with males tipping the scales at 13 to 15 pounds. Hens, naturally, are smaller-sized.
However, it still weighs about eleven pounds when fully grown. For whatever motive, black Jersey Giants tend to be bigger than the whites.
These chickens are tall, too, with roosters standing more than 2 feet high and hens standing just below them. They have large bodies that are deep and broad, making them look rather rectangle-shaped in appearance.
Their backs are broad and flat, and they have short tails.
A muscular and appealing bird, the Jersey Giant, has black legs with yellow soles. There are four toes per foot without any feathering on the legs. Wattles and comb are red, while the skin is yellow.
The eyes of this chicken are dark brown, while the beak is black with a pale yellow tint at the very end.
Despite the apparent distinction in plume color, there are some distinctions between Black, White, and Blue Jersey Giants.
For beginners, Black Jersey Giants will have a distinct rainbowlike shine to their plumes that looks nearly green in the sunshine.
White Jersey Giants are distinct because they have willow-colored shanks, yellow beaks, and yellow soles. Blue Jersey Giants have black shanks with plumes that are slate blue with darker blue lacing.
All Jersey Giants have plumes that stand by the body. This is a big benefit for chicken keepers, given that it implies you will not need to do as much to groom and take care of these birds.
The plumes are also useful in cool weather conditions, making the Jersey Giant among the very best cold-weather birds.
Frequently, Australorp chickens are confused with Jersey Giants. The two do look comparable. Purchase Jersey Giants will be a fair bit bigger.
They are brick-shaped and provide chicks mainly black with soft white spots (unless you are raising a white or blue Jersey Giant).
There are also bantam variations of the Jersey Giant, although these are extremely unusual. Bantams are a kg or less in weight!
The Jersey Giant is assumed for being docile and peaceful. Even the roosters are favorably mellow.
That’s great news– with a bird this huge, an antagonistic character might create chaos and influence fear in the cage!
The majority of chicken breeds will stay away from your Jersey Giants. However, that’s not since these loveable birds are ornery.
Rather, their size alone will trigger the seas to part– they perform to be conciliators in the flock, and having one can fix a few of the customary chain of command battling you may see in the cage.
These chickens are great with children, although their size can be intimidating. They get along and can even be kept as pets or exhibit birds.
Jersey Giants are not known for being flighty. They are cold-hardy and manage well without high borders– they’ll remain restricted by themselves.
Although Jersey Giants aren’t noted for ending up being broody, they are great moms when provided the chance to raise their chicks.
The Jersey Giant is calm and receptive of other birds, having a calm attitude that made it the label of the “Gentle Giant.”
Despite the mellow nature of this breed, you will not be avoiding crowing and noise-making at any time soon!
Roosters of the Jersey Giant breed are claimed to have much deeper, more noticeable crows than any other chicken breed!
Productivity of the Breed
Individuals typically keep chicken for two things: eggs and meat. In this area, we discuss egg and meat production you can anticipate out of Jersey Giant chickens.
Is It Good for Eggs?
Jersey Giants put out a respected quantity of big eggs. They will lay up to 200 eggs each year, averaging four or two eggs every week. These are big and pale brown.
Regrettably, Jersey Giants are not known for being broody. It might occur periodically.
However, the birds aren’t the very best setters. It’s not due to an absence of attempting– the hens are just so large that they are prone to breaking the eggs.
Pullets begin laying at around six months old. This is behind lots of other egg-laying chicken types. However, it’s well worth the wait.
Jersey Giants are known to lay throughout the year. They are a few of the very best chickens when it concerns laying throughout the cold weather, too.
So while it takes longer for Jersey Giant pullets to begin laying their very first eggs, you will not need to worry about long-term shut-offs in egg production during the winter season, for the most part.
Is It Good for Meat?
Yes! With its plus size, the Jersey Giant is among the very best chicken breeds you can raise for meat. It is robust, and simply one bird offers an exceptional meal for a household of 4.
While the chickens are delicious to consume, they do take a while to grow. You’ll need to be patient to raise a Jersey Giant to complete size! A rooster will take a minimum of 6 months to be table-ready.
Lots of people who raise Jersey Giants wait up until the 2nd year to butcher their chickens. This has many considerable advantages and drawbacks.
The advantage is that it provides the birds time to grow– however, the drawback is that you will need to feed the bird in the meantime!
If you want a quick-maturing bird, the Jersey Giant is not for you.
Nevertheless, if you’re prepared to invest a bit additional on feed, you’ll find that the resulting meat is well worth the effort.
Jersey Giants must be offered minerals and vitamins regularly for bone strength, as these chickens are prone to muscle and bone weak points due to their size.
Nevertheless, if you can supply these chickens with chances to free-range, you will not need to stress. They must have the ability to get all the nutrients that they require in this way.
Jersey Giants are great meat birds if you desire the big, heavy carcasses you are accustomed to at the supermarket. However, you also want to have the ability to reproduce your chickens on your farm.
It’s typically said that considering that Jersey Giants take so long to develop, they are much better for baking and frying.
They have broad breasts that provide themselves well to being prepared at a sluggish and stable temperature level.
As a big breed of chicken, the Jersey Giant has some health concerns to be familiar with.
For one, this chicken can be susceptible to leg issues. Although it does not experience unstable leg conditions, it is such a big chicken that it can periodically hurt itself, getting up into the cage and roosts.
Jersey Giants are prone to weight problems. This is particularly the case if you raise your chickens in captivity.
Try not to overfeed your Jersey Giants, even if you’re having a tough time getting them to butchering weight.
You need to ensure you have lots of space for your Jersey Giant to free-range, too. Although this bird can make it through in confinement, it’s finest to offer it lots of space to wander.
Not just will this enhance your meat quality. However, it will permit a much healthier, leaner bird, too.
Jersey Giants are known for being cold-hardy, bearing the severe winter season weather condition with ease.
It would be best if you took special preventative measures in the summer season, nevertheless, since they are prone to overheating. The plus-size and dark plumage colors make it hard for them to cool off.
As a heritage breed chicken, the Jersey Giant is among the healthiest breeds you can raise.
It produces and keeps its hereditary qualities through natural breeding and has a long, efficient outside lifespan.
Plus, the slow development rate guarantees that these birds’ organs, muscles, and skeletal structures grow in a healthy way.
How to Raise
You can venture to raise your own Jersey Giant chicks by hatching them under a broody hen.
However, as we pointed out previously, this can be tough. You are most likely to find that the eggs end up being crushed and broken by mistake.
It might be simpler for you to hatch your own Jersey Giant eggs in an incubator. Remember that they might take a couple of additional days to hatch, given that they are so large.
Jersey Giants are excellent at free-ranging and finding their food.
Considering that they are so enormous, they will not go far (after all, they can’t fly to come back).
They’ll take pleasure in spending much of their time wandering around searching for yummy bugs and pests.
Considering that they’re so huge and not a great target for hawks. You do not need to keep them in a covered run.
Bear in mind that the chicken cage must be larger than average to accommodate a flock of Jersey Giants.
While the typical suggested size is 4 square feet per bird, you will wish to allocate more area with your Jersey Giants.
Some professionals advise reserving that area two times!
When making your cage, remember that Jersey Giants have a tough time getting their large bodies off the ground.
For that reason, you will want to make certain all perches are lower to the ground to prevent leg injuries.
The perches, too, require to be tough to support this huge’s bird’s weight.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Keeping Jersey Giants.
Here are a couple of advantages and disadvantages of raising Jersey Giants vs. other chicken breeds:
Advantages of Raising the Jersey Giant
Jersey Giants get along rather well with other chicken breeds.
They are not aggressive, yet it’s also challenging for them to be bullied because of their plus size.
Their size also makes it hard for them to fly. These birds seldom fly more than a couple of feet off the ground, making them much easier to deal with and keep restricted.
While they can still come down with common chicken predators like coyotes and weasels, they are less likely to be preyed upon by hawks. They’re too huge!
Jersey Giants are exceptional foragers and enjoy having the capability to work out and wander around.
If you raise Jersey Giants, supplying them lots of space to wander is an excellent concept.
It will prevent them from becoming overweight and will also help in their muscle development.
This chicken breed is not the very best option for small-space living.
While you can manage with a couple of Jersey Giants here or there is a little cage, it’s not encouraged that you venture to raise numerous of these birds in a small cage.
Keep in mind that they need a minimum of two times the quantity of area you may provide to other chickens!
In addition, Jersey Giants aren’t the very best for city living.
Their size makes it rather difficult to construct a cage that will accommodate them easily if you have a little backyard.
Jersey Giants are valued for their big carcass sizes. However, remember that business poultry farmers frequently overlook them for their bad feed conversion rate.
It takes rather a great deal of time for these chickens to grow to their full size, and you’ll invest a great deal of cash on feel to get them there.
It can also be hard to find Jersey Giants to buy in your city. Since they are thought-about unusual and under watch, it’s difficult to find credible breeders who offer Jersey Giant chicks.
Make sure to do your research and ensure you can trace the families back in the chickens that you purchase.
Although Jersey Giant roosters are not aggressive, they can periodically let their size get the very best of them.
Typically, you will find hens with bare backs, the plumes selected tidy till the roosters calm down during breeding.
Conclusion– Is This Species Right for You?
If you have space for them to wander and do not mind their enormous sizes, then this Jersey Giant might be an outstanding option as the next breed of bird in your backyard flock.
This chicken isn’t simply enjoyable to take a look at– however, it’s efficient, too.
Normally, when you invest your money and time in vibrant meat producers, you’ll notice that they do not have when it concerns egg production.
That’s not the case with the Jersey Giant– this chicken produces outstanding, delicious meat that does not come at the expense of egg production.
Jersey Giants are excellent birds that are well worth your factor to consider.
So what are you waiting on?
Include some support to the roost bars in your cage, and get a couple of Jersey Giant chicks today!
- Bassom, Frances (2009). Chicken breeds & care: a color directory of the most popular breeds and their care (1. ed.). Buffalo, N.Y.: Firefly Books. pp. 142–143. ISBN 978-1-55407-473-0.
- Breed Classification. Poultry Club of Great Britain. Archived 12 June 2018.
- Jersey Giant Chicken American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
- APA Recognized Breeds and Varieties: As of January 1, 2012. American Poultry Association. Archived 4 November 2017.
- Ekarius, Carol (2007). Storey’s illustrated guide to poultry breeds. North Adams, Mass.: Storey Publishing. pp. 94–95. ISBN 978-1-58017-667-5.
- Conservation priority list: chickens. The Livestock Conservancy. Accessed August 2014.