Pamoramic view of organic farm, Sweeney Farm in Alpine, TX.

Sweeney Farm

A Family Farm in Alpine, TX

Jersey Giant Chickens

Jersey Giant Chickens are a heritage breed.  Their Livestock Conservancy status is "Watch."  Sweeney Farm raises the Blue-Black-Splash color group of Jersey Giants.  We sell eggs at the local farmers markets.

The Jersey Giant chicken was developed between 1870 and 1890 by John and Thomas Black in Burlington County, near the town of Jobstown, New Jersey. As its name implies, these typically mellow chickens are impressive in size with mature roosters weighing 13 pounds and the mature hens weighing 10 pounds, making them the largest purebred chicken breed.

The original intention of the Black brothers was to create a chicken that could potentially replace the turkey as a premium table bird. During the breed’s development, Black Javas, Black Langshans, and Dark Brahmas were used to try and reach this objective. Around 1895 the term “Giant” was used in reference to the breed, and they became known as “Black Giants” in honor of their creators (not because of their color.) The name was later changed to “Jersey Giant” by Dexter P. Upham of Belmar, New Jersey, in honor of the state of origin. Mr. Upham was an early breeder interested in improving Black Giants. In 1921, the American Association of Jersey Black Giant Breeders Clubs was created and the name “Jersey Giant” was officially adopted for the breed by the group. The standard developed for the birds included a gigantic frame, single comb, yellow skin color, relatively rapid maturity, good vigor, and fine foraging ability. The Jersey Giant was recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) in 1922. Today Jersey Giants are accepted in the APA Standard of Perfection in three color varieties – black, white, or blue.

The Blue Giants as we know them today originated in 1981 near Bern Kansas, USA on the farm of Mrs. R. E. (Golda) Miller. Mrs. Miller had been raising Jersey Giants for more than 40 years and had been recognized for many years as the premier breeder of Black and White Jersey Giants.

It started with a White Giant pullet that had some gray dusting on the feathers on her back. This bird was a “sport” from the Miller White Jersey Giant flock. Mrs. Miller wasn’t too interested in experimenting but had a friend nearby in Nebraska who was. Leo Prokop had been trying with no success to develop a Blue Jersey Giant variety. He took this pullet and mated her to a Black Jersey Giant male. This first generation was a conglomeration of colors, some of which were splash. These females were again mated to a Black Jersey Giant male. Out of this nucleus, the Blue variety quickly became established.  No blue birds of other breeds had been introduced, therefore these were pure Giants.  The American Poultry Association recognized Blue Jersey Giants as a variety in 2003.

Jersey Giants are dual purpose chickens, but they excel as a meat bird with their great body size. They are well-suited to producing very fine and large capons. The young birds grow relatively quickly but take time to fill out their hefty frame to produce a marketable bird – most take up to 8–9 months to reach a harvestable size with good body proportions. They are an excellent roasting bird when fully mature.

Concerning egg production, the hens of this breed tend to lay more eggs than those of other heavy breeds. Their eggs are extra-large in size with color varying from dark brown to light cream.

Sweeney Farm Jersey Giant chickens free range in their fenced pasture.

The Jersey Giant chickens roost at night in their heated house.  The house has roll up doors on the east and south sides and windows up high for good ventilation in the summer.  From the day they are born they eat only organic feed.  Happy and healthy chickens lay yummy eggs that are good for you!

Sweeney Farm is located outside the city of Alpine in far West Texas.
We offer our organic eggs for sale as available at the farmer's markets in Alpine and Marfa.
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