Delaware chicken

The Delaware chicken is a breed of domestic chicken that was developed in the state of Delaware in the United States of America during the early part of the twentieth century by crossing New Hampshire hens with barred Plymouth Rock roosters. The breed was officially established in 1940 after George Ellis chose to breed the sports, or chickens with a light white or silver coloration, that were produced from broiler chickens.

Because the area in which this breed was bred was the most prominent for exporting broilers to the eastern coast of the United States, it quickly became a popular broiler chicken and was accepted by the American Poultry Association in 1952. Despite its popularity, the white Cornish rock cross breed took over the broiler industry, so that by the twenty-first century, the Delaware chicken has become critically endangered.

The Delaware chicken varies in weight depending upon the type sex, with standard roosters reaching an average weight of 8.5 pounds and hens reaching a weight of 6.5 pounds. The bantam type of this breed is about two pounds for the rooster and 1.7 pounds for the hen. This breed only comes in a white coloration and has light black barring on the tips of the wings, tail, and hackles. The wattles and single comb are always red in color and the skin is yellow. It is a calm breed, but not often friendly, and although most commercial chickens to not do well in free range environments, it prefers to live in open areas. Hens are able to produce eggs early in life and will lay a good number of large to jumbo sized eggs each year.

Image Caption: A Delaware hen. Credit: Linda/Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0)