Jersey Giants

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ajlynco, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. ajlynco

    ajlynco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does anyone have experience with Jersey Giants? Are they winter hardy, good egg layers, are they a suitable dual purpose bird, broody, calm demeanor? Are whites much different than blacks(other than color). Any info at all would be appreciated. [​IMG]
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes to all. I really like them and recommend them often.
    I've had Blacks, Whites and Blues. I don't currently have any whites. In my experience they lay as well as Orps and Rocks. Good stock can be huge. They do grow slower than other chickens and can take a year or more to reach full size but they'll be as big as other DP birds in equal time.
    They are very docile (I call them gentle giants). They forage well. Mine are the first ones in to roost at night. I've never had one go broody. For their size they can fly pretty well.
     
  3. ajlynco

    ajlynco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    CC-I live in town and have a backyard set-up. I'm only getting a dozen hens. Do you think they would fare well in a 6X8 coop w/10X20 run? Being as heavy as they are, would they have a tendency to fly over my 6' fence? How 'bout w/clipped wings?[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011
  4. OldChurchEggery1

    OldChurchEggery1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have blue, black, and splash and enjoy them all a great deal. I'm not an expert on Jersey Giants by any means, but I can tell you my experience with the ones I have. I bought a dozen hatching eggs from Maria's Jersey Giants (I believe her last name is Hall) back in February 2010. I had 11 hatch and kept 1 blue rooster, 1 black hen, and 4 blue hens. They were all great layers and all but one was what you'd expect of a giant chicken. The "small" blue hen was a bit larger than my buff Orpingtons. The eggs are good sized with darker brown flecks on them. As far as personality goes, they're calm and docile. Good thing, too, because the full-grown roosters could do serious damage otherwise! I hatched eggs from my own stock this spring and kept a splash cockerel and a blue pullet. Unfortunately, we had a predator kill all of the blue hens over the summer so I'm down to just the black hen and blue rooster from my original 2010 hatch.

    They are slower to fill out than other chickens and start laying a little later, too. My blue pullet is 6 1/2 months old and has yet to lay. I'll be pleased if she starts around Christmas. Our family joined the Jersey Giant Club not too long ago so we could learn more about them. The club has a website here: http://nationaljerseygiantclub.com/

    They're
    more my husband's birds than mine as he was the one originally interested in keeping them. That's why I don't have anything written up about them on my BYC page.
     
  5. OldChurchEggery1

    OldChurchEggery1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Be sure you have BIG nest boxes in your coop if you want to have Giants. The nest boxes we use are 18"x18" to accommodate them. Your roost should also be a little lower so they don't hit the ground hard and hurt their legs. If you put two roosts in your coop, there should be space for a dozen but it would be tight in my opinion.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I have 10 birds (some Black JGs) in a 6X8 and 18X8 covered pen and they're fine except that I do free range a couple hours late in the day.
    I have a blue that gets out of a 4' fence all the time(eating my lettuce - [​IMG].) 6' should be plenty once they're grown. I had a white pullet that would fly to the top of a coop. My blacks roost in the rafters of my coop (above all the roosts). I do worry about them being hurt when they jump down but I have about 3-4" of pine shavings on the floor and they jump down from 9' with no problems so far. My building with the blues only has 3' high roosts.
     
  7. jbourget

    jbourget Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2008
    CT
    they are a great GIANT breed. slow to get there though
     
  8. Yonaton

    Yonaton Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:My first batch of Jersey Giants (white) was from Murray McMurray. They all survived just fine but never reached the size I expected (they only got about the size of a standard chicken, maybe the roosters got around 8 pounds and the hens around 5 or 6), so I wasn't impressed with that particular aspect or with McMurray. The rooster I ended up keeping turned out to be one mean sucker and he ended up in the oven the first day he tried to flog me. IIRR, about half the hens became broody but before they did, *all* of them laid an nice large, light-brown egg a day (I'd kept 8 birds and gave four to a buddy and his family who were a little down on their luck and money was bad tight). The hens were nice and gentle and all of them were great at foraging and kept my feed costs down during the srping, summer and fall. (i lost all of them in one day when I was gone at a motorcycle rally and my mom and the handyman she'd had around for ages let a stray dog in thinking it was a "nice dog"...it killed all the birds before the handyman could get the rifle from our house and shoot it. I was not very nice to either of them when I got back home and found out!)

    This batch I now have are more like what I've expected of the breed. At 5 and a half months of age, they're already *much* larger than a grown Dominique. All of these are slightly flighty, but this batch I didn't handle as much as I have some of the chickens I've raised, but it's no big deal as they still come when I call if I have scraps or need to do a head count. The 5 roosters (I don't own any 'roos' as I think it's illegal to own one, probably couldn't afford to feed it and wouldn't know where to find kangaroo food at, and I can't afford to import one all the way from Australia anyway) I have left after culling from 12 are all nice and gentle, relatively to the other batch I had (none have acted even a tiny bit aggressive) and pretty much have their dominance order settled (I've finally figured out which two I'm going to keep, the other three go to the freezer). This batch forages very well also. The hens aren't quite ready to lay, but soon...probably a week or two. This batch is also white and even at 35 degrees they prefer to find shady areas and only go into the sunlight to eat some clover or scratch for short periods of time, as I presume the direct sun is still pretty warm for them since they aren't afraid of the local hawk anymore (I got the white specifically so they'd not absorb as much heat during the summer sun, whereas black absorbs heat when directly under the sunlight. I doubt there's any real significant difference though in any of the colors by how they act or anything like that other than the heat absorption aspect). Their bulk will keep them just fine in the winters we have here in west TN and I'm sure they'd do just fine in harsh northern winters also. They're a great dual-purpose bird if you have the patience to wait for them to fill out. When I culled the first 8 roosters, they were only 3 and a half months old, but the bodies already filled a crockpot pretty well (not a *lot* of meat but easily enough for three grownups at one meal...not bad for such a young bird!). This batch, the birds are going to be *huge* compared to the others I had. I got this batch from Sand Hill Preservation.
     
  9. JerseyGiantfolk

    JerseyGiantfolk Overrun With Chickens

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    If you want to show your Jersey's i'd choose black because with white birds (huge ones) it takes forever to wash them, that is if you let them dust outside. The first Jersey I got was was when we got a batch of 7 chicks from Shady Lane (Mixes like Orp's and Leghorns) they didn't sell Jersey Giants so we suspected she was a Australorp/Java. When I decided i'd show her at county fair the judge said, "This is a Jersey Giant." I was shocked because I knew they were heavy and all but turns out this hatchery chick got 1st out of 6 other breeds! We went to a real poultry show and she did just as well, Reserve American, Best of Breed, and Best of Variety (there were no other Jersey's there) But I ended up getting 2 rosettes and 3 flat ribbons and a banner! She's now retired at 4 years.

    I loved her so much I decided to get more Jersey's from Sand Hill. I got 7 or 8 Jersey's but turns out one was a Australorp and the other was a Minorca. [​IMG] Sigh, we got Dorking's with them but 2 of the Dorking cockerels sat on the Jerseys at roosting time. Mega, the big one died of probably a internal injury. We sold the 3 Dorkings to our neighbor for meat. But weeks later marek's came the Australorp "Honk" stayed in my room with "Mini Mega". Honk quickly recovered but still had her goofy walk for the rest of her life (till a bobcat took her) Mini Mega however stayed in my room for 6 months recovering, he couldn't walk or stand up. Pinkie came in and died 3 days later. We were thinking of putting Mini Mega out of his misery but one day coming home from a 4H meeting he was hobbling at my door on his hocks. Days and days he ate and drank. He was nursed back to health and could walk perfectly again. (learning experience! never get Jerseys and another breed together.)

    Maggie was the only Jersey to survive the mess. She won lots of ribbons, and she now has her son in special needs care Fluffy Puffy, who injured his leg trying to fly up onto a roost bar. Hes still a cockerel and probably weighs more than my moms Dorking cock!
     
  10. IowaHeritage

    IowaHeritage Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, what the others said, but I would stay away from hatchery stock as they are not representative of the breed at all, but then thats true of most breeds & hatcheries.

    Really good ones are not cheap and if they are, beware. Also, I find they are laying better than the others I have, including leghorns and even " production reds " in winter especially.

    Handle the cold really well too. And the Roosters are the best for roasting, they were intended as the POOR MAN's Turkey after all......... so....[​IMG]

    I have White Giants In the incubator now for the 4-H crowd and Show people and also have orders for hatching eggs once its safe to ship when spring hits.
     

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