Jersey giants: The Garden State’s connection to the largest breed of chicken

Did you know that the largest breed of chicken has a connection to New Jersey?

News 12 Staff

Jul 29, 2020, 11:56 PM

Updated 1,356 days ago

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Did you know that the largest breed of chicken has a connection to New Jersey?
The breed is known as Jersey giants and they were developed in the Garden State around 150 years ago.
News 12 New Jersey’s Brian Donohue wanted to learn more about these chickens. But first he made what could be the most “Jersey” breakfast sandwich of all time – a pork roll egg and cheese with Taylor Ham from Trenton, cheese from Tropical Cheese Industries in Perth Amboy, a fresh Jersey tomato from Grossman Farms in Chesterville, and eggs freshly laid by Jersey giant hens.
Donohue traveled to Hackettstown to learn more about the Jersey giants – to the home of chicken owner Mike Miller. Miller keeps around 10 Jersey giant hens and a rooster.
“They’re very calm and they’re docile. They’re such a heavy bird,” he says. “Most people would have this covered over, but they can’t get over the fence. They’re just too heavy, so they just mosey around the yard.”
Jersey giants were developed by John and Thomas Black between 1870 and 1890 near Jobstown, part of what is now Springfield Township in Burlington County. They were trying to develop a big bird for roasting that would topple the turkey as top table bird.
The American Poultry Association recognized the black Jersey giant and added to the Standard of Perfection in 1922. White Jersey giants were added in 1947.
 


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