The largest of the domestic chickens, Jersey Giants are impressive. At full maturity, they make an excellent roasting bird. Jersey Giants sport a single comb and do well in cold weather. Jersey Giants mature slowly and do not reach full size until they are three years of age!
An American breed, Black Jersey Giants were developed by brothers, John and Thomas Black. The brothers were from New Jersey, as the name “Jersey Giant” indicates. The brother's original intent was to develop a breed that would rival the turkey as a roasting bird. At that time, the Broad Breasted varieties of turkeys did not yet exist.
The breed was used for commercial production for a short time, but the fact that it takes longer than some other breeds to reach maturity made it impractical for industrial use. In reality, Jersey Giants grow at about the same rate as other breeds, it just takes longer for them to mature because they are so much bigger than most other breeds. The Jersey Giant is the largest pure breed of chicken in existence.
At first, this breed was referred to as “Black Giants” to honor the brothers who created the breed, but in 1921, a club was formed, and the name Jersey Giants was formally adopted. Black Jersey Giants are so-called due to their color. There are also White Jersey Giants, and a relatively new color variety, Blue Jersey Giants.
Photo Courtesy of Theresa Stephens.