About Delaware Chickens
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About Delaware ChickensAbout Delaware Chickens

Delaware Chickens were originally developed for commercial, dual-purpose use but later they were replaced by hybrids. Delawares today make excellent backyard chickens. They typically lay four, large, brown eggs a week far into the winter months. Delawares mature quickly and produce a clean, white-meat table fowl. Chicks develop feathers quicker than most breeds. They handle both cold and heat well. Unlike present day commercial breeds, they do well as a free-range, foraging chicken. Delawares have dwindled to a few hundred birds. Many breeders keep them today with the goal of preserving the Delaware as one of America's heritage breeds.  

Delawares bear confinement well. Generally a docile breed, Delawares get along with each other and their humans. They submit to handling without a fuss. However, the occasional rooster will exercise his rights to aggressive behavior. Owners describe the hens as broody but good mothers. On the whole Delawares have a mild, quiet, and calm disposition suitable to the backyard chicken farmer. They possess all the potential of a commercial breed with all the personality of a backyard chicken.  

Delawares, unlike many chickens, have only one variety—the Barred Silver Columbian. The roosters weighs eight pounds and the hens six. They both have predominantly white plumage. The roosters have black bars on their white tail feathers. The hens have black tail feathers with white lacing. Both genders have black baring in their hackles. They sport moderately large pea combs and wattles. The roosters have a very impressive red, five-point comb. Delaware hens have smaller combs. They are robust, muscular, and substantial.  

They are adaptable to hot or cold and make a good choice for the first-time chicken rancher. Protect their large comb and wattles during cold spells. Some breeders have used an application of petroleum jelly as temporary protection against frostbite. For long-term protection build an insulated, draft-free coop. Take advantage of the Delaware's dual-purpose status. Provide good layers good bedding and artificial lighting for maximum egg output. Delawares came on the poultry scene relatively late in agriculture history and had little chance to establish themselves prior to the onset of hybrid breeds. Help establish and propagate this heritage breed.

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