General Information

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.

Delaware chick

Delaware hens

Delaware rooster

For more information about this breed and their owners' and breeders' experiences with them, see our breed discussion here:

Latest reviews

Pros: Extremely docile, sweet, and friendly. Love my Delaware, she also gets along wonderful with my larger breeds.
Purchase Price
Purchase Date
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.
Purchase Price
Purchase Date
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.


I am considering this breed as one of my "endangered" list to repopulate. Love their look.
I have a Delaware hen that I hatched as a baby in 2007. Even after all these years she still adores me.
NOW I understand WHY my Parents sent me off to "Boarding School".
Are you going to send the delaware Roosters off to "Boarding School" ?
I've just received Delaware and Speckled Sussex chicks to start my flock. Would you mind sharing why the Speckled Sussex are no longer in favor? This may affect my decision of which ones to keep and how many? Thanks.
Mainly because they did not lay we well as the Delawares. They were not as meaty either, which may or may not be important to you if they are strictly egg birds. My Delawares laid all winter with no artificial light. From 3 hens, I got 2 or 3 eggs a day which I think is outstanding. I like the Delaware's personality too. They are inquisitive and seem to figure things out that other chickens can' how to escape by crawling through the hole under the fence that the dog dug.
Should be getting my first Delaware pullets in April and I absolutely cannot wait. Angel is a lovely, big hen! She sounds quite the clever character! Thanks for sharing your comments.
I have seen Delawares in sales here in south central Oklahoma, They seem to be heat tolerant here.
I have actually considered getting a few of these. I was also wondering about heat, as I am in Florida....we have high humidity as well....sometimes
Couldn't have said it better. That's my Flora to a tee. She's a sweetie pie though and so easy to handle. She's the one I always do the mite check on because she'll let me hold her in one hand on her side and fiddle through her feathers.
i wondered this as well living in Central TX. I have read on a few sights and in one book that they are heat hardy. I would like to hear from someone who has actually had experience with them in the heat. Very interested. Also, experiences with the roosters and temperament of them.
It was 110 here today and mine were fine. They had plenty of shade and soft moist dirt to burrow into but they do well with the heat!
I am picking up a roo and a third Del pullet this week to go with my two existing Del girls. This is a breed I want to work with too. They are friendly and funny great producers!
why not for beginners? I am a real beginner and have a Delaware in my very small mixed flock. she's only 5 weeks and one of my favorites so far. she likes to sit on my shoulder and be petted. Will I have a problem as she gets larger? Just want to prepare. I really like her, but I am a beginner and wonder what the problem is with delawares that I should watch out for
I agree. my Penny was allowed to sit on my shoulder and sometimes head and now it's the first thing she does when I open the coop door. she loves to be petted and look over the other chickens as if to say "see I can sit up here and you can't"! I'm absolutely thrilled I got her.
This makes me nervous about integrating our Delawares into the flock. They are 10 weeks old now. I plan to move them in when they are 15 weeks, as suggested elsewhere. they can all see each other now, but this is going to be interesting. They are with a light brahma and get along well with her, but I know they will be a big bird. I will certainly watch closely to be sure they don't hurt the bantams in the flock.
My Delawares are not as this reviewer described at all. They aren't at the top of the pecking order and are sweet funny and curious. I would like to suggest that perhaps buying from a breeder would give you a better result. A good breeder would cull aggressive strains. A hatchery might not notice or care about the temperment of its lines. This is true of every breed not just Delawares.
I think you nailed it when you said that it may be just MPC stock. If you can find a breeder I would encourage you to give them another shot.

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