The largest chicken breed in the world is the Jersey Giant. But just how big do Jersey Giant chickens get? And what does this mean for their meat and egg production? Today we are going to dive into all of your Jersey Giant questions. By the end of this article, the better question will be, where do I get one of these incredible birds?
How Big Do Jersey Giant Chickens Get?
We will jump right in and tell you that these chickens live up to their giant names. A Jersey Giant rooster size is over two feet tall and weighs as much as 15 pounds. A Jersey Giant hen is a little smaller but still a giant nonetheless. Your hens will get up to 20 inches tall and weigh 11 pounds, and it doesn’t stop there.
There are a couple of Jersey Giant chicken sizes. For instance, Jersey Giant Capons can get up to 20 pounds! And there is also Jersey Giant bantam, which sounds like an oxymoron we know. These mini giants only weigh 35-40 ounces. But for the sake of this article, we will just talk about the standard sizes.
So how do these massive sizes affect the chicken? Keep reading to find out.
Are Jersey Giants Genetically Modified?
Looking at the Jersey Giant chicken, you might wonder how they got to be so big. Are they genetically modified, or are they naturally that big? We can assure you that the Jersey Giant is the product of excellent breeding.
The Jersey Giant is the product of cross-breeding the Orpington, Javas, and Langshans in the 1800s. The reason for this unique cross was to create a chicken to rival the turkey. The Jersey Giant chicken is a wonderful heritage breed that’s been around for ages. You can rest easy knowing that these birds are natural.
Does Size Change Their Temperament?
Giant chickens might seem intimidating and something from a horror film. But we assure you that these chickens are gentle creatures. The Jersey Giant chicken typically doesn’t cause any problems with the flock hierarchy. In fact, most of them don’t even notice their size. If they are in a flock with more aggressive breeds, you will find that the others pick on the Giants.
You will love your Jersey Giants’ calm and collected nature. Even the Jersey Giant rooster is docile and gets along with everyone. They will quickly become your favorites, and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them before. So the size of these chickens isn’t as scary as it seems.
Jersey Giant Meat And Growth Rates
When you think about how big do Jersey Giant chickens get, you might wonder about their meat. Large chickens are usually known for chewier meat. But Jersey Giants are decent dual-purpose birds. With one catch, that is, they are slow-growing.
Most owners choose to butcher their Giants at 6-9 months old. At 6-9 months old, they are about the size of your average chicken. So they aren’t at their largest, but it’s more cost-friendly. If you wait until the Jersey Giants are at their max size, you will be waiting until they are two years old.
Yes, you read that right. Jersey Giants don’t reach their maximum weight until they are two years old, but they get their max height at one year. So if you wait until your Jersey Giant chicken is two years old to butcher them, you might notice the meat is tougher. Chickens under a year old have leaner meat and cost less to feed.
So there are pros and cons to each side of the butcher date debate. One side gives you the most productive way to process chickens. The other gives you large roasting birds that rival your Thanksgiving turkey. You will have to analyze what your end goal is and make the best decision for you.
Jersey Giant Eggs
When you look at the Jersey Giant chicken, you might assume that they lay gigantic eggs. But compared to size, Jersey Giants don’t lay abnormally large eggs at all. A Jersey Giant egg size is the same as a typical large egg. But they are excellent layers.
Your Jersey Giant will lay 150-200 eggs per year. That equals about 2-4 eggs a week. And they lay all year round, so rain, snow, or shine, you can count on these eggs. The typical Jersey Giant egg color is light to dark brown. But how early can you expect these eggs? Your Jersey Giant pullet might start laying around five months old, but it’s not uncommon for them to wait an entire year.
However, the Jersey Giant chicken lays eggs for longer than most production hens. The Jersey Giant is the most productive in their first year of laying, like all hens. But they don’t completely stop until they are 4-5 years old, which is older than most breeds.
With all of these eggs, you might be wondering how broody they get. Jersey Giants are terrific mothers who tend to go broody all year round. If you are a breeder, this is wonderful news because you could have several clutches a year. But if you are only in it for the eggs, then having such a broody hen might be a disappointment.
Do Their Large Bodies Make Them Winter-Hardy?
Yes! Jersey Giant chickens are the perfect winter bird. Their large bodies keep heat in well, and small pea combs don’t get frostbite quickly. And when you combine this with winter eggs, you can’t ask for anything more.
But that doesn’t mean that these chickens don’t need precautions. They still need a weather-proof coop. No matter how a chicken’s body build, it can still get frostbite if it isn’t taken care of. So check those coops for drafts and adjust the ventilation for maximum comfort.
Are They Prone To Health Problems?
When you consider how large the Jersey Giant chicken is, you might think they must have plenty of health problems. But you couldn’t be further from the truth. Jersey Giants don’t suffer from any genetic defects or health concerns. They are some of the healthiest breeds you can find if you keep them fit.
With such massive bodies, it’s easy for Jersey Giants to become obese. You will need to make sure they have plenty of room to roam and monitor feeding. You might even want to reduce the amount of layer feed your hens eat and let them forage their food.
Another thing you should be aware of is that these chickens tend to get leg injuries quickly. With all that weight, it’s easy to sprain an ankle or develop bumblefoot. Ensure that there is nothing for them to trip over or fall off in the run to prevent these problems.
Finally, some Jersey Giant chickens suffer from heat strokes in the summer months, especially darker ones. They will need lots of shade and cool water to prevent heat exhaustion in the south.
What’s the Jersey Giant Chicken Lifespan?
You might think that if the average chicken lives 8-10 years, the Jersey Giant must live longer. But Jersey Giants have an average lifespan of 8-12 years, which isn’t much longer at all. And when you consider that they only lay eggs for 4-5 years, you might wonder why you should keep them.
We think long lifespans and docile temperaments make them perfect for pets. You will grow to love your Giants and treat them like dogs or cats. And they live just as long as traditional pets, so you and your family will enjoy them for years to come.
Do They Come In More Colors?
The most popular Jersey Giant chicken is black. But these chickens come in blue and white. The Jersey Giant blue is beautiful and considered more ornamental than black. And a Jersey Giant white is better for warmer climates to deflect heat. But in all, these chickens all have the same qualities that you know and love.
Do Jersey Giants Need Special Care?
For the most part, you will care for Jersey Giant Chickens the same way you would for any other breed. The only special care these chickens will need is low roosts. Jersey Giant chickens can’t fly due to their full size, so getting into high roosts can be difficult. Instead, you should keep the perches about 16 inches off the ground to make them easily accessible.
You will also need to make sure that the larger chickens have enough space. Most chickens only need 2-3 sqft of space inside the coop. But your Jersey Giant chicken will need about 4-5 sqft inside. And if you use a run, they will need about 10 sqft per bird, but free-ranging is always best.
Other than those two things, taking care of these chickens is as easy as pie.
Are You Ready For Jersey Giants?
How big do Jersey Giant chickens get? They are about twice the size of an average chicken. That’s twice the chicken to love and care for. We promise that you will never get tired of these hens and the joy they bring to your backyard.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!