The Jersey Giant chicken not only impresses with its considerable size, but also with its peaceful and tame character as well as its excellent laying performance for a meat breed.
The pedigree chickens originally from the USA are ideal for self-catering, especially as they are considered to be very robust and rather frugal.
Jersey Giant – quiet and very robust
At the end of the 19th century, the idea came up to breed a new breed of chicken that could replace turkey as the main source of poultry meat. A breed had to be bred that was of enormous size in order to even come close to being able to hold a candle to a turkey in terms of meat mass and weight.
So John and Thomas Black from New Jersey decided to create a true giant among chicken breeds – the Jersey Black Giant. The brothers used dark Bramhas, black Java and also black Langschans, as well as Orpington chickens, from which the first black Jersey chicken was created in 1870.
In the early days of the “biggest chicken in the world”, the animal models were still extraordinarily heavy. Consequently, the Jersey Giants were particularly popular for American egg and meat production.
The roosters were often castrated early so that they would gain even more weight. The so-called capons then sometimes weighed up to 22 pounds and therefore did not need to hide from the heavy turkeys.
Today, Jersey Giants are no longer an issue in the broiler industry because the modern hybrid breeds grow much faster than the Giants, making them more profitable.
Keeping the Jersey Giant chickens
Due to their heavy body weight, Jersey Giants tend to be quiet, easygoing chickens. They also cannot fly, which allows for a simple demarcation of their enclosure. Due to their size, they need a lot more space than smaller breeds.
Otherwise, the Jersey Giants are a less demanding chicken breed. They are peaceful and compatible with other animals, calm, hardy and resistant to cold.
The Jersey Giant can adapt to being kept in a cramped environment, but its health in this case will leave much to be desired. When keeping chickens indoors, it is necessary to take care of well-designed exhaust ventilation, which will remove ammonia that accumulates in the floor area.
Chickens love to wallow in their litter, and the Jersey Giants are no exception. It is there that the ammonia released from the decaying litter is collected. With the systematic presence of high concentrations of ammonia in the room, the loss of livestock may begin.
Important! All chickens tend to settle down for the night somewhere higher, therefore, given the clumsiness of the Jersey giant, it is necessary to lay a soft bed under the perch. In this case, the chicken, even if it falls, will not hurt anything.
Jersey chickens tolerate cold temperatures well and are able to walk in open-air cages during the day. The enclosure area per one Jersey chicken is 1-3 feet.
Yes, this is what your aviary will look like in reality instead of advertising green grass with Jersey chickens walking on it.
Moreover, with the declared density of chickens per unit area of the enclosure, it will look like this in a maximum of a month.
To completely clear a piece of land from grass, insects and underground larvae with earthworms, it is enough to fence it off and run chickens there. The population density of chickens depends on the time allotted for cleaning the site.
Can Jersey Giant Chickens Lay Eggs?
As a meat hen, the Jersey Giant is of course a prime example, but it can also show off with a quite respectable laying performance for a large breed. The Jersey Giant hen lays up to 160 large brown eggs weighing around 60 grams per year.
Jersey Giant Chick
The Jersey Giant hen has a strong breeding instinct and guides her chicks very reliably. Incidentally, the offspring are real late bloomers. Jersey Giant chicks are quite slow growers and are not fully grown until they are 6 months old.
Colors and color varieties of the Jersey Giant chickens
It was not until many years after the Jersey Giants were bred that their breeding standard was set in the USA. The black Jersey Giants were finally approved in 1922, followed by the white representatives of the breed in 1947 and only a few years ago the blue-lined subspecies.
The black Jersey Giants form the origin of the breed and were bred as the first representatives of the breed.
The plumage of the rooster and hen is deep black with a green sheen, while the underplumage is dark grey. The unfleshed legs may also have a slightly green tinge.
However, they are usually pure black with a yellow sole. The beak is also black, but has a little yellow at the tip.
The white subspecies later evolved from the black Jersey Giants . Here, too, the rooster and hen are of the same colour. Their plumage is white as cream. However, the rooster may have some decorative yellow feathers. The legs of the white Jersey Giants are dark willow green and, like the black counterpart, also have yellow soles.
Probably the most beautiful plumage coloration of the Jersey Giants came much later, the blue-fringed Jersey Giants . The ground color is medium blue in the rooster and hen.
While the neck, blankets and saddle hangings are black, each feather on the chest and thighs has a slight hemming. Overall, the rooster is somewhat darker in color than the hen. The color of the legs is black with a yellow sole, like the black Jersey Giants.
In all Jersey Giants colors the eyes are dark brown, while a bright red single comb adorns the head and also has red long wattles and earlobes.
Jersey Giant rooster and hen
As the largest domestic chicken in the world, a Jersey Giant body has to endure quite a lot. The stance is therefore medium high and very wide with a horizontal posture. Since they were originally bred to provide meat, their physique reveals their use at a glance: it has to be deep, broad and full-bodied, then the Jersey Giant is perfect.
As a rule, the black Jersey Giants weigh a little more than their other colored breed counterparts. A Jersey Giant rooster can reach around 11 to 13 pounds, the Jersey Giant hen is slightly lighter at 9 to 11 pounds. However, there are also significantly heavier breed representatives.
Breeding Jersey Giants
If you decide to start breeding a Jersey giant, and your neighbors do not have chickens of this breed, it is not rational to drag live adult chickens from afar. It is much easier and cheaper to buy hatching eggs and, following the instructions, hatch the desired chickens.
General recommendations for raising chickens come down to observing just a few conditions:
- air temperature not lower than 77 F°;
- long daylight hours;
- lack of drafts;
- clean heated water;
- special feed for chickens;
- vitamins and antibiotics.
Birds of this breed often suffer from obesity. This can adversely affect the quality of eggs for incubation.
Growing Chicks nutrition
On the first day after hatching, chicks usually do not eat, even if they have food in front of their noses. But they need water (the warmer the better). Dissolve vitamin C and glucose in water. Wash the drinkers several times a day and add clean water to avoid contamination.
Start feeding with a boiled yolk – for 20 chicks 1 yolk, which is pre-chopped. On the 2nd day, give the egg in combination with specialized feed . After 3 days, stop giving the egg, replace it with millet or corn porridge. Together with porridge, add a small amount of fresh cottage cheese.
For 3-4 days, add greens to the menu, which will provide the growing body with vitamins. After 10 days, give boiled vegetables. During morning feeding, add fish oil. At the age of one month, begin to gradually transfer the chicks to the diet of adult birds.
Breeding Jersey Giants as a business
If you plan to grow and breed birds of this breed to build a successful and profitable business, you need to consider the following nuances:
- To grow chickens, use only highly productive, high-quality and expensive feed.
- At first, you will have to make a fairly impressive cash contribution. If you approach the business organization correctly, in the near future all investments will definitely pay off.
- Females are very large and clumsy, so they can crush the eggs while incubating. To avoid this trouble, use an incubator.
- In advance, the weight of an adult bird can be determined from the egg.
- If necessary, you can calculate the mass of young chicks according to the following scheme – add 170 g of the weight of the chick to the mass of the egg.
- Select young growth no later than 10-11 hours after hatching.
Outwardly, the eggs do not have characteristic differences, so you need to purchase them to start your own business from reliable farmers. This technique will help insure the purity of the breed.
Diseases that can affect Jersey Giants
From the first days of the life of the chicks, carry out a simple prevention that will help to avoid various diseases. Give the chicks antibiotics , and as they grow up, use anthelmintic drugs.
All birds can be exposed to a disease such as mycoplasmosis, so do not forget about the importance of constant prevention. Keep the house clean, ventilate the house regularly, and keep chickens out of contact with wild birds that can carry the disease.
Chickens must have access to an ash bath. By bathing in the ashes, birds clean their feathers. Also, this simple technique allows you to prevent the appearance of parasites on feathers and skin.
Be sure to cover the roof of the mesh enclosure with any material so that feathers and droppings of wild birds do not get inside.
The Jersey Giant is a special breed. It is one of the most interesting and promising meat and egg species. Birds show high production rates, not only in terms of egg production, but also in weight.
The character is calm and stable, interesting appearance, high endurance. Thanks to all these qualities that the breed is in such great demand among farmers.