Jersey Giant

Varieties: Black, White.

Standard Weights: Cock-13 pounds; hen-10 pounds; cockerel-11 pounds; pullet-8 pounds.

Skin Color: Yellow.

Egg Shell Color: Brown.

Not surprisingly, the Jersey Giant is a large bird that was developed in the 1870's in New Jersey to meet the demand for heavy fowl. Developed by the Black brothers, it was originally called the Jersey Black Giant. Giants were bred from crosses of Orpingtons, Javas, and Langshans, becoming and remaining the largest chickens developed in America. They are rugged birds but because they grow a large frame first and have little meat until about 6 months, they have not been used in industry, which prizes a rapidly growing bird.

Characteristics: Jersey Giants are the largest breed in the American Class. They should be rugged, with an angular shape, single comb and black (with willowish tinge) shanks in the Black variety and dark willow shanks in the White variety. The Jersey Giant will go broody but is not the best choice for incubating and brooding because of their size. Their tendency to grow a big frame first and cover it with meat later make them a poor fit for today's conditions. The meat yield is disappointing until they are 6 months or older. No fowl with black plumage or dark or willow shanks has ever remained popular in this country for long, although they used to be more widespread. However, good specimens do have an appeal, mainly because of their size.


Chicken Breeds and Varieties (A2880), John L. Skinner, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Miller's Jersey Giant Farm, Bern, Kansas

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Updated November 14, 1996