What Is The Largest Chicken Breed?
The Jersey Giant is undoubtedly the world’s largest chicken breed. The American chicken breed weighs approximately 13 lb. for cockerels and around ten lb. for hens.
Jersey Giant roosters measure between 20 and 25 inches tall, while hens measure between 15 and 20 inches tall. Jersey Giants are robust chickens that come in many variations.
Some popular Jersey Giant variations include blue, white, and black Jersey Giants. These giant chickens are calm and docile and reputable meat and egg producers.
The Jersey Giant
Jersey Giant chickens are famous American domestic chickens. These dual-purpose chickens are excellent meat birds and are relatively decent layers.
They hailed from New Jersey, USA, and became popular throughout the USA at the end of the 19th century.
Most people think Jersey Giants result from crossing Orpington chickens with other giant breeds, such as Black Langshans, Dark Brahmas, and Black Javas.
Jersey giants are massive and robust chickens with deep long breasts. These chickens have black featherless legs with green sheens, although white Jersey Giants don’t have dark willow shades on their featherless legs.
Jersey Giants’ feet have four toes. All Jersey Giants have red combs and wattles and yellow skins. Jersey Giants have dark brown eyes. Black Jersey Giants are black, as their name suggests.
They have black shades on their legs and feathers. These chickens have purple or iridescent green sheens.
White Jersey Giants have willow or cream legs, and white feathers, while blue Jersey Giants have darker or almost black shanks. Blue Jersey Giants have beautiful grayish-blue feathers.
All Jersey Giant chickens have muscular bodies and feathers lying close to their bodies, giving the birds a neat and attractive appearance. They have relatively shorter tails than other giant chickens.
Besides its massive size and attractive appearance, most chicken enthusiasts seek the Jersey Giant because of its docile and friendly temperament. It’s an excellent breed to raise if you want a wonderful backyard buddy.
Jersey Giants are pretty calm, and disturbances rarely unruffled these birds. Their gentle temperament makes them a perfect choice of chickens to raise with kids and other pets.
They also fit well in established flocks since they get along perfectly well with other chooks. Jersey Giants’ massive size makes them seem rather imposing.
Nonetheless, these giant chickens don’t use their large size to bully other chickens. They are some of the least aggressive chickens to raise.
Even though Jersey Giants are non-aggressive, they often coexist perfectly well with aggressive breeds, thanks to their intimidating and imposing size.
The Livestock Conservancy notes that Jersey Giants have a higher egg yield than other large chicken breeds. Although Jersey Giants are incredible table birds, they are also reasonably good egg producers.
On average, Jersey Giant hens lay around two to four eggs weekly, amounting to about 150 to 200 large eggs annually. Jersey Giant hens lay medium-brown to light-brown eggs.
Their eggs are larger than the standard chicken eggs. Besides being reasonably decent layers, Jersey Giant hens are also attentive mothers. They enjoy caring for their chicks and eggs.
Jersey Giants are superb table birds. The massive size of these chickens makes them some of the perfect chickens you can raise for meat. A single Jersey Giant provides a decent meal for a large family of 6 members.
While Jersey Giants are extraordinary dual-purpose fowl, they particularly excel as meat birds. They can produce large capons and are the perfect roasting birds upon reaching maturity.
Young Jersey Giants mature relatively more quickly than most table birds since they take around eight to nine months to mature to a harvestable size.
While Jersey Giants can produce more meat than other large breeds, these birds are slow-growing.
Furthermore, Jersey Giants have an unimpressive feed-to-meat conversion, meaning the birds must consume vast quantities of food to reach a harvestable weight.
Jersey Giants are some of the most adaptable large chicken breeds. These birds adapt perfectly well to free-range and confined spaces. Furthermore, although these chickens are cold-hardy, their large single combs can be susceptible to frostbite in the winter.
Jersey Giant hens are exceptional winter layers because cold weather doesn’t affect their laying capabilities. However, Jersey Giants don’t handle heat well, so you need to find out options to keep your Jersey Giants cool during the hot months.
These chickens are also highly disease-resistant compared to other large breeds. Jersey Giants are hardy chickens that love foraging in backyards. They are exceptionally good at fighting off potential predators.
Roosters can easily fight off potential predators because of their huge and intimidating size.
Feeding and Care for the Jersey Giant
Besides being the largest chicken worldwide, Jersey Giants are also friendly, attractive, and calm, making them excellent for beginner meat bird raisers.
Like other breeds, though, Jersey Giants need proper nutrition and care. Feeding is a crucial part of raising Jersey Giants. You can feed a standard chick starter to these chickens from hatching until the young chickens reach maturity, about 20 weeks.
While Jersey Giants hens are slow layers, it’s wise to provide your pullets with a regular layer feed when they are about 20 weeks old. Egg-laying Jersey Giants need a layer feed with around 16% protein and supplemental calcium.
A combination of calcium and protein helps the hens lay more eggs with solid and healthy shells. Jersey Giant roosters can consume a regular feed, although you need to switch to a protein-rich feed if you intend to use the roosters for meat.
While raising Jersey Giants, you will observe that these chickens consume plenty of food, courtesy of their vast size. So, you shouldn’t ration their food, lest you make the chooks crack and bully other chickens over food.
It’s always best to make food available to your Jersey Giants all the time so they can decide the quantity of food to consume.
Your Jersey Giants need an ample free-roaming space to forage for bugs and plants. These chickens also enjoy feeding on kitchen scraps, although some chicken scraps, such as junk food, avocados, and dried beans, can be harmful to these giant chickens.
Giving grit to Jersey Giant chickens is vital for their health because grit will enable the chickens to digest their food. Scratch, a blend of whole grains, is also imperative for Jersey Giants in confined spaces.
Giving scratch to your Jersey Giants will help stimulate scratching and pecking behaviors, which can be pretty soothing to the chickens. Water is vital for Jersey Giants because heat can take a toll on these giant chickens.
A constant supply of fresh water will help these giant birds overcome the heat and digest the enormous amounts of food they consume.
Thankfully, Jersey Giants are healthy and hardy chickens with minimal health issues that need extra care. These chickens only need special care because of their huge size.
It’s best to ensure your coop offers enough space for these gentle giant chickens. Jersey Giants need more space than the average chickens. Every Jersey Giant chicken needs around six square feet of coop space.
Furthermore, a single Jersey Giant chicken needs fifteen square feet run. While Jersey Giants are too heavy to fly, these birds enjoy roosting.
So, your coop should have a low roosting area for the giant chickens. Each chicken needs at least a ten inches roosting area.
Hens need around one nesting box per three hens. The ideal size of nesting boxes for Jersey Giant hens should be 14 x14 inches. The nesting boxes and the perches should be slightly above the ground because Jersey Giants can’t fly too high, unlike the average breeds.
Although these giant chickens are hardy, their immune systems can’t protect them fully from some common chicken diseases like Avian flu and Fowl Cholera.
Vaccinating your Jersey Giants frequently will enhance their immune systems, enabling them to fight off disease outbreaks.
Other Large Chicken Breeds
Jersey Giants are the world’s giant chickens because few breeds can match their size. However, they are other larger chicken breeds to raise as table birds or egg layers.
These are other large chicken breeds besides the Jersey Giants.
- Malay chickens-These chickens are among the tallest chickens, standing about 36 inches tall. They also weigh approximately 9 pounds.
- German Langshans– These chickens have large bodies and long legs, making them excellent for the table. They weigh around 9.5 pounds on average.
- Orpington chickens-These dual-purpose giant chickens stand 16 inches tall. They have compact bodies, and they weigh approximately ten pounds.
- Australorp chickens- These chickens come from Australia and are among the largest breeds. They stand 27 inches tall and weigh approximately ten pounds.
- Cornish chickens-These chickens have short legs and compact bodies. They weigh around 10.5 pounds, making them exceptional table birds.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Large Chicken Breeds
Raising large chicken breeds has its disadvantages and advantages. So it would help to consider the pros and cons of raising large breeds.
- Large breeds are suitable for meat
- Large breeds can fight off predators
- Large breeds are more profitable
- Large breeds are hardy
- Large breeds usually lay large eggs
- Large breeds require plenty of space
- Large breeds consume plenty of food
- Large breeds can take advantage of their size to bully smaller chickens
- Large breeds mature slowly
Jersey Giant is undoubtedly the largest chicken breed worldwide. The breed can be an exceptional fowl choice for those keen on raising table birds and egg layers.
It’s hardy, docile, and calm, making it an excellent breed to include in your flock.