Monday, November 2, 2009


Delaware chickens got their name from the Delmarva Peninsula, the geographic area comprising Delaware and Maryland that has been the site of intensive poultry production for the last century. In the 1940s, Barred Rock males were crossed with New Hampshie hens to produce a dual purpose commercial bird. The resulting occasional almost completely white sports were bred into a spearate breed with the Columbian color pattern, with irregular barring from the Rock side replacing the lustrous greenish black in the hackles, tail and wings.

One of the advantages of raising Delawares is that when the hens, such as this one, are bred to New Hampshire or Rhode Island Red males, the resulting chicks are sex-linked (white males, red females), making it easy to distinguish males from females from the start. Males can be raised as broilers and females as laying hens.

Don Schrider, formerly of the American Livestock Breeders Conservancy, wrote about Delawares in Backyard Poultry in 2007,

Although originally developed as a production breed, its attractive color caught eyes and it was recognized for exhibition in 1952.
Jamie White of Florida sent these pictures of the flock he has started. They are handsome birds, indeed, and well worth maintaining. Thanks, Jamie.

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