The original name of this large breed is Jersey Black Giant. Black does
not mean the colour but comes from the originators the brothers John and
Thomas Black from Jobstown, Burlington County, east of Philadelphia in the
State of New Jersey. To create larger 'roasters' for the local and nearer
markets they started crossbreeding darker feathered large breeds between
1870 en 1880. An old breeds the American Java Fowl (nearly extinct now),
Dark Brahma's, Partridge Cochins, and at a later stage, the Black Croad
Langshans and the Indian Games formed basis. Also, the Plymouth Rock was
used at certain moments. At those time farmers experienced that black
feathered poultry was more resistance against diseases and the climate in
New Jersey. That was the main reason to create this breed, next to their
size. Giants were developed to high level and weights between five and six
kilograms were more common than and exception.
Type of this black feathered, heavy and compact breed is large, broad,
long and deep with a pretty large and broad head. The round and full eyes
are dark brown of colour in the black variety; on the white variety they
are brown-blackish They have a dark horn coloured short, stout and
well-curved beak which has a yellow shading at the end. The red single
comb is rather large, upright and straight with six nicely defined and
evenly serrated points. The blade follows the line of the head. Wattles
are red and moderate developed. The fairly large earlobes are bright reds.
Its neck is fairly long, full and well arched. The reasonable broad back
line slopes downwards a little, with a short sweep to the tail.
A quiet, general purpose fowl for heavy meat and reasonable egg production with a yellow skin. Egg production is in the area of 120 - 150 per bird, per year, which weigh between 60- 65 grams each. The eggshell is brown of colour. Food conversion could be better than expect. Baby chicks mature fast but they feather very slow. For exhibition purposes, the breed takes eighteen months to reach their final large size and weight. Most of the Jersey Giants become easily broody and are good mother hens. Because their seize they are good for hatching larger eggs such as ducks, peafowl or turkeys.
Depending of age and sex between 3.500 and 6.000 grams. Heavier birds are seen in some countries. In general speaking the black-variety is the heaviest.
Black are the most common. Rarer are the White and Blue.