- Breed Purpose:
- Dual Purpose
- Climate Tolerance:
- All Climates
- Egg Productivity:
- Egg Size:
- Egg Color:
- Breed Temperament:
- Friendly, Easily handled, Calm
- Breed Colors/Varieties:
- One variety, barred silver columbian.
- Breed Size:
- Large Fowl
Delaware aka Indian River was developed in the 1940s in the United States by George Ellis in the state of Delaware. He selected the occasional light colored sport produced from the popular broiler cross of Barred Plymouth Rock roosters and New Hampshire hens. The light coloring of the sports made for a commercially more desirable table bird. The Indian River was later renamed the Delaware for its state of origin, and was the most popular broiler on the east coast for twenty years, before being replaced commercially by the Cornish-Rock broiler.
The Delaware comes in one color, white with slight black barring on the ends of the hackle, wings and tails.
It is a very good choice for a dual purpose flock in general and are decent forgers for a free range dual purpose flock. The hens are good layers of very large brown eggs, are occasionally broody and good mothers. The cockerels especially have rapid growth and make for a nice table bird. They have excellent calm temperaments and are good with other large breeds. It is popular today for small flock owners, and is still used in commercial red sex-linked crosses.
For more information about this breed and their owners' and breeders' experiences with them, see our breed discussion here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/chicken-breed-focus-delaware.1131094/
Chicken Breed Info:
Breed Purpose: Dual Purpose
Climate Tolerance: All Climates
General Egg Info:
Egg Productivity: High
Egg Size: Large
Egg Color: Brown
Breed Colors / Varieties:
One variety, barred silver columbian.
Delawares are great layers and good foragers on range. Their disposition is usually mild and friendly, although fiery Delaware males are not unheard of. Overall, they are an attractive, old-fashioned bird with good utility value, and well bred specimens can be particularly striking in appearance.
Recent User Reviews
"Not My Favorite!"
Pros - Heavy Breed, Dual Purpose, Decent Layer, Fairly Calm
Cons - EGG EATERS, Roo’s Aggressive, Poor 2nd Year Eggs
My first chickens were Delaware’s from McMurry, so some of this could be inexperienceand some could be hatchery, but I was only moderately pleased with this breed. They laid large to xl eggs daily their first year. Started late their second year and never ramped back up to full production. They were great foragers, and the hens are mostly docile with a flighty hen now and again. Not a starting breed in my opinion. Not bad birds, just not beginners birds.
Excellent for meat if you like a full flavored almost gamey bird and A little tough, but they lay decent and eat ok. Dual purpose for sure.
"Delawares are Good!"
Pros - BIG! Nice birds!
Cons - Long grow-out.
Got eggs of these last May. After having the Silky-sized Peruvian Araucanas - these looked HUGE! The roosters eyeball me, asking for treats, as I sit on the Adirondack-chair in the yard - their heads are above the armrest! I have to guard my food! Mine are not aggressive. They don't like being picked up, but they don't run away, either. They come hang with me when I sit in the pasture. Kinda slow growing, but they put on enough bone to hold them up - unlike Rock x Cornish. Anticipating when they start laying eggs - the hatching eggs were fist-sized! Ate two extra roos already - nice meat! Got these to start a meat-flock while my Araucanas work as layers.
Pros - Broody and good foragers.
Cons - Distant and difficult too keep pinned.
The Delaware Turken hen I had would let me hold her but she didn't like it. She was distant to the rest of the flock. I had 2 other Delaware hens and they avoided the flock also. I ended up rehoming them because I couldn't keep them escaping the field. If there was a weak spot in the fence or something they could climb up on to fly over thy always found it.