Black Jersey Giants

Black Jersey Giants were initially bred as table birds by the Black brothers of New Jersey. In their composition were Black Javas, Black Langshans, and Dark Brahmas. Initially called Black's Giants, they were developed between 1870 and 1890. They later received the APA standard of perfection in 1922, but never fulfilled their dream as a table bird because soon afterward the broad-breasted turkey was developed. Although they did not reach their market potential they are still good roasters. Another thing to note about them is to make sure that your water/food bowls are high enough so that they do not kick dirt into them, as they are the largest purebred chicken in the world.
  • Appearance: Black Jersey Giants have black feathers, with a green tint. They may also have some very dark brown in the shanks. They have a red single comb, red earlobes, yellow skin, a beak that at the base is black with a slight yellow tint at the tip, along with dark brown eyes.
  • Weight: Rooster-13 Hen-10 Cockerel-11 Pullet-8* These chickens will grow at the same rate as other chickens, but will not fill out until later in their life, so they are not used commercially.
  • Purpose: Black Jersey Giants are a dual-purpose chicken.*
  • Origin: New Jersey, America
  • Common: Watch
  • Egg Color: Light Brown
  • Egg Size: X-Large
  • Eggs a week/year: 3-4 a week/175-185 a year. This is more than most large chicken breeds.
  • Broody: Yes*
  • Confinement: Good, they are mellow by nature, and don't fly very high because of their weight.
  • Compatibility: Good, as with any other chicken they will participate in a pecking order, and might end up towards the bottom because of their more laid-back attitudes.
  • Hardy: They are rather cold hardy with their large frame, but may not be as heat hardy for the same reason.
  • Bantam: Yes*
  • Personality: They are laid-back and mellow by nature, but will not be as intimidated as other chickens might be because of their size.*
Black Jersey Giants are a fun chicken to have in your backyard. They can grow to large sizes, but also may be very useful as well. They are good foragers, and would do well with other pets.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user: winsomebulldog
Information courtesy of:

*For more information on terms above see Key to Chicken Entries


  1. When you say the bird is a good "roaster" does that mean it tastes good on the BBQ? If yes, I like the idea of a bird which lays eggs and would be good to eat some day too. ;)

  2. Essentially yes. The Black Jersey Giant was a meat bird of choice for a time until the hard-core commercial production began.

  3. I cannot get enough of this chicken blog. It is so charming, and makes me wish I could have chcikens so bad. I do live in the country but I am worried if I had chickens they'd all get either lost or eaten by the wild animals. I am also a big egg lover. It would be great to have fresh eggs all the time.

    1. There are a lot of ways to protect your chickens, even in dangerous areas. We have a small coop, inside a 10x10 dog pen. We then took four foot high chicken fencing, laid the first 18 inches on the ground and put the rest up the side of the dog pen. We even went so far as to put chicken wire under the coop in the extremely unlikely event something got in. Going on two years now and not a one of my girls has disappeared. They free range in the yard during the day and get locked up at night. Kind of a work release program for chickens

  4. Thanks. It means a lot to me that there are people out there who appreciate the site. :) As for your predator concerns, here is a post on chicken protection should you get some:

  5. Great site,,
    I'm a Jersey Giant guy... 6 hens and a 3ft tall rooster named King. I raise Pheasants with them, every-body gets along great,,
    Jersey Giants are a wonderful, Friendly & very fun bird to own, I would encourage anyone to own one or two just for fun............ :)

  6. Bryan: Thanks, and they really are! They are amazing birds, and get along wonderfully with others in spite of their size. Thanks for the example.

  7. Black Jersey Giants, broody? YES I have a hen that attacks you...

  8. Wonderful site. I have a quilting blog but I am going to start a chicken blog too, I have 10 hens and I recently bought 10 chicks and my 11th today. They are so sweet.

  9. just purchased 4 hens and 1 rooster jersey giants black for sept 3 cant wait to get them ..most I read all good

  10. well just got my first chickens ever so excited.. they are the bjg chicks we shall see how this turns outare the roosters protective of the hens?

  11. Does anyone have ideas on finding homes for my extra roosters? I have three and must keep them separated in pens and rabbit hutches. They will kill each other! Two are white silkies and one is a mixed breed, beautiful appearance like the copper maran, but small. They love talking care of the hens and the hens love the security they provide while ranging. I would like to find them homes rather than be slaughtered.

  12. P.S. The roos are not nasty to humans, just to each other.

  13. what do they eat?

  14. Would a Sultan Rooster be able to live with NJ hens?

  15. We just got a black jersey giant chick and its just a few days old. We got if from a hatchery and they had several breeds mixed together. They sexed it to be a hen and the little flight feathers indicate it should be a hen, but... there was also Marans and australorp in the mix and from what I find the chicks look alike. Is it normal for the chicks to be the same size as others or are they bigger chicks ? And how tall do the hens get, in feet ?

  16. I've got a jersey giant rooster who's does seem strange to me. The claw area has fallen off most toes and halfway through toe is large then suddenly changes to smaller diameter towards tip. It used to have slight hop when it walked butt it seems to have gone away. Is this something to do with how they grow? Should I be concerned??