Origin: North America
Jersey Giant chickenThe Jersey Giant chicken was developed
between 1870 and 1890 by John and Thomas Black in
Burlington County, near the town of Jobstown, New Jersey.
As its name implies, these typically mellow chickens are
impressive in size with mature roosters weighing 13 pounds
and the mature hens weighing 10 pounds, making them the
largest purebred chicken breed.
The original intention of the Black brothers was to create a
chicken that could potentially replace the turkey as a
premium table bird. During the breed’s development, Black
Javas, Black Langshans, and Dark Brahmas were used to try
and reach this objective. Around 1895 the term “Giant” was
used in reference to the breed, and they became known as
“Black Giants” in honour of their creators (not because of
their colour.) The name was later changed to “Jersey Giant”
by Dexter P. Upham of Belmar, New Jersey, in honour of the
state of origin. Mr. Upham was an early breeder interested in
improving Black Giants. In 1921, the American Association of
Jersey Black Giant Breeders Clubs was created and the name
“Jersey Giant” was officially adopted for the breed by the
group. The standard developed for the birds included a
gigantic frame, single comb, yellow skin colour, relatively
rapid maturity, good vigour, and fine foraging ability. The
Jersey Giant was recognised by the American Poultry
Association (APA) in 1922. Today Jersey Giants come in three
colours – black, white, or blue.
Jersey Giants are dual purpose chickens, but they excel as a
meat bird with their great body size. They are well-suited to
producing very fine and large capons. The young birds grow
relatively quickly but take time to fill out their hefty frame to
produce a marketable bird – most take up to 8–9 months to
reach a fair size with good body proportions. They can take
up to 3 years to mature. They are an excellent roasting bird
when fully mature.
Concerning egg production, the hens of this breed tend to lay
more eggs than those of other heavy breeds. Their eggs are
extra-large in size with colour varying from dark brown to
light cream, we have hens that lay double Yokers. When
incubating eggs, the Jersey Giant breed sometimes takes 1–2
days longer to hatch than most chicken breeds.