The Delaware chicken breed has a rich history that begins in the early 1940’s in Ocean View, Delaware. The breed is credited to Mr. George Ellis who bred Barred Plymouth Rock males to New Hampshire Red females in a quest to breed a fast-growing, sturdy meat bird for America’s growing appetite for chicken. This cross produced a silver “sport”, and Ellis bred this small group of silvery offspring to each other to produce the Delaware pattern that we see today.
The Delaware still holds honor as a good layer that also carries enough meat to be useful as a table bird. Unfortunately for the Delaware breed (and possibly also for Mr. Ellis), in the early 1950’s the white Cornish cross broiler was developed and surpassed the Delaware as the popular choice for a commercial meat bird because of its even faster growth rate.
The Delaware is a hardy breed for all areas of the United States. Their smaller, single combs are not subject to frostbite in harsh winters. They mature quickly and begin to lay at around 20 weeks of age, laying an average of 4 eggs per week. Their white feathering means they can do well in warmer areas of the country too. The Delaware is an excellent choice for those wishing to keep an all heritage breed flock.
Related Posts You Might Like
The Rhode Island Red originated in Little Compton, Rhode Island in the mid 1800’s, making it one of the oldest American-bred chicken breeds. It began in farmers’ homestead flocks, where a highly productive egg layer was needed, but whose excess roosters could still dress out as decent table birds.
The frizzle feathering sometimes found in chickens is a rare occurrence, and therefore highly desired in some breeds. Here is an overview of how the frizzle feather mutation occurs and why not all chicks sold as frizzles will have frizzled feathers.
One of the most enjoyable things about keeping chickens is the vast range of different colors and patterns that the chicken breeds can display, allowing us all to have a beautiful flock. But in a few breeds, the chick you receive in your flock may grow up to not resemble the breed’s photo on our website or in our catalog. Here’s an explanation of why the blue chicken breeds will also have black and splash chicks as possible color variations you may receive.