We raise exhibition quality Jersey Giants.
The Jersey Giant chicken was developed between 1870 and 1890 by John and Thomas Black in New Jersey. The original intention of the Black brothers was to create a chicken that could potentially replace turkeys as a premium table bird.
As its name implies, these easygoing chickens are impressive in size with mature roosters weighing 13-15 pounds and mature hens weighing 10-11 pounds. Male birds stand 22-26 inches and the females 16-20 inches.
The Giant is a BIG bird!
Jersey Giants are dual-purpose chickens, but they excel as meat birds with their body size. Their meat is reportedly excellent, and one bird can feed a family of four. The hens of this breed tend to lay more eggs than other heavy breeds. Their eggs are extra-large in size with colors ranging from dark brown to light cream, and they lay about 150-200 eggs per year. They start to lay between 8 months and a year of age.
Jersey Giants are a very cold-hardy breed, but the large single combs on the roosters can be subject to frostbite. Jersey Giants generally lay during the winter. However, they do not do well in the heat, so they must have options to keep them cool in warm climates.
They are a hardy breed, and they love to forage and they do well against predators. Because they are large, some will fight potential aggressors. They are calm and docile and get along with other chicken breeds. They generally don’t fly because of their weight, but some have been known to fly over a fence if something attracts them. They are generally very friendly birds - even the roosters!
When Size Matters...
The source of your Jersey Giant stock matters if you want genuine representatives of the breed standard. These two pullets were both hatched in September of 2022. The lighter bird is 3 weeks older than the darker bird. There is an obvious maturity difference between these two juveniles, however, look at the size difference!
We raised both birds in the same room, on the same feed, with the same companions. They have been treated as equals since they arrived on the farm. Why the drastic difference in maturity and size?
The lighter bird came from a breeder who's foundation stock had been sourced from a commercial hatchery. The darker bird came from a Jersey Giant flock that has existed for nearly 100 years. For the best representation of the breed, avoid commercial hatcheries and seek out true heritage breeders who strive to maintain the standard of perfection!
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Where do the colors come from?
Originally, all Giants were black in color. The American Poultry Association recognized black Jersey Giants as a breed in 1922. White Jersey Giants originated from white “sports” of the black variety in the flocks of several breeders in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. The American Poultry Association recognized White Jersey Giants as a variety in 1947.
For some 70 years, only blacks and whites were recognized as genuine Jersey Giants. However, a few Giant enthusiasts desired to create a blue strain.
In 1981 Mrs. Golda Miller played an integral part in developing the blues as we know them today. Mrs. Miller had long been recognized as the premier breeder of Black and White Jersey Giants. Development of the blue strain started with a white Giant pullet, a “sport” from Mrs. Miller's white Jersey Giant flock, that had some gray dusting on the feathers on her back. Mrs. Miller wasn’t too interested in experimenting but had a friend who was.
Leo Prokop had been trying with no success to develop a blue Jersey Giant variety. He eagerly took this "sport" pullet from Mrs. Miller and mated her to a black Jersey Giant male. This first generation was a conglomeration of colors, some of which were splash. The females of the first breeding were again mated to a Black Jersey Giant male. Out of these two breedings, the Blue variety quickly became established.
No blue birds of other breeds were introduced to create the blue strain, and therefore blues are pure Jersey Giants. The American Poultry Association recognized Blue Jersey Giants as a variety in 2003.
How does one breed for color?
blue x blue = 50% blue, 25% splash, 25% black
blue x splash = 50% splash, 50% blue
blue x black = 50% black, 50% blue
splash x splash = 100% splash
black x black = 100% black
black x splash = 100% blue
Interestingly, splash has not been recognized in the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection as an official Jersey Giant color. I find that puzzling because a splash bred to a black is the only combination to produce 100% blue offspring!Click Here to See the Jersey Giant Standard of Perfection