February 22, 2013 by janem213
GIANT CHICKENS! Jersey Giants, the largest domestic breed of chicken in the world:
In the incy evening of Thursday 24th January, 27 eggs
Candling at one week, 9 infertile eggs removed leaving 18 eggs
Candling at two weeks, 2 more eggs removed leaving 16 eggs
4 eggs never hatched… but the remaining 12 almost jumped out of their shells (certainly compared with the Call Ducks!) 14th-16th February 2013.
Jersey Giants are a dual purpose bird, bred to be a juicy alternative to turkeys (they are that large, though they never caught on because they’re relatively slow growing – 13lbs for males, females 10lbs) that lay well for a large breed chicken, laying an average of 180 large brown eggs annually. They are persistent layers even in cold weather. They are gentle giants, who tend to be beetle black, sometimes blue, and very occasionally splash (white with ‘splashes’ of blue) or white. They’re quite rare but as one of my chicken books says: “The Giant has lots to offer the enthusiastic keeper and is a breed which deserves more attention.” ‘Choosing and Keeping Chickens’
I got 24 eggs from 3 different suppliers – one gave me 2 extra eggs & another 1 extra egg which made 27 eggs altogether. Unfortunately, when I came to put them in the incy (surprise, surprise! – it’s only supposed to take 24) they wouldn’t all fit in so Lou started up an incy and had half the eggs. One egg I knocked by mistake and damaged so I put nail varnish on the cracks as this sometimes works; we each had 13 eggs & I had the extra one, the pink one on the right hand side in the middle. (Yes, clear nail varnish might have been better if I’d had it!) Sadly the egg didn’t develop and was removed with others at 7 days…
At 21-23 days Lou and I both hatched 6 chicks each : ) The chicks are large (already as large as the quails when they left!) and the older ones quite chunky. Here are two of them, ‘Wanda’ who will be pure black when her feathers come through and ‘Whitey’ who is blue:
My friend Nicky was here for the weekend and was hoping to see them hatch but they’d all hatched a little early except one… which I kept checking on and wonderfully we both were there as he hatched at around 11pm on the Saturday. Here are some of the 12 today aged 6-8 days old. Their feathers are really coming through now:
At the back on the right hand side you’ll see one that’s a slightly different colour – as I’ve said, JGs tend to black or blue but occassionally splash or white. Really wanted a splash one and would have been tempted to keep it and so was thrilled to see the eighth one hatch a much lighter colour than the rest. As she dried off though she started going more of a brown colour, if splash she would have been a silvery colour… I contacted the breeder who said one of the chickens must have got out and found another cockerel : ( They’ve offered to take her and give me some more eggs/other. Here she is:
‘Splash’ who should probably be renamed Buffy…!
Hopefully they’ll all be sold soon… Meanwhile the next set of eggs arrived today: Orpingtons, one of the largest very common breeds of chicken.