Wow … what can I say about the Jersey Giant but what a colossal breed of Chicken. They are a BIG bird! This Chicken is a Dual-Purpose Breed, (meaning they can be used as layers or a meat breed) and comes in 3 different Color variations.
This breed was originally developed in New Jersey (of course) between 1870 and 1890. This breed was originally known as the "Jersey Black Giant" and was named after its creators John and Thomas Black, not for its color! It is also one of the world's largest Chicken Breed.
The Jersey Giant is actually a mash up of other breeds used in it's development process. The breeds used were the "Java", "Langshan", "Brahma", "Cornish Game Hen", and later on the "Black Orpington". The concept behind this breed was to was to create a breed that was large and meaty enough to replace the Turkey as a table fowl.
Of other note, The Jersey Giant was not accepted into the American Standards until 1922!
Appearance and Temperament
Known to weigh up to 16 Pounds, the modern average weight of the Jersey Giant is around 13 pounds especially in Roosters of the breed. Feather coloration includes of course Black, White and Blue Lace. The black feather coloration should include a slate or gray undercolor. Also, the Black feather variation should have a green sheen to their feathers.
All color variations can have greenish (Willow) color legs. A Mature Jersey Giant should have a full, broad breast transported forward. The eye color should be Brown or Black .
The Jersey Giant Chicken is a hardy breed, docile, and generally even tempered. They are better suited as free range or should have access to a large area. They are very active and enjoy foraging for themselves! They are excellent for the beginner who is just starting to raise chickens.
Jersey Giant hens are good layers and are known to lay through the year. They Jersey Giant is a very good brooder also. If if you plan on raising your own chicks this is a good breed to use for that purpose.
Keep in Mind
1) This breed is a BIG Chicken, they need lots of room, and low perches for roosting. If you are planning to raise some, your gonna need a big coop.
2) They are Big Eaters and it takes a long time for them to fully mature.
3) They are generally low in stock at hatcheries.