Delaware Chicken Breed: Everything You Wanna Know

The Origin Of The Delaware Chicken

The Delaware Chicken, an all-American classic chicken breed that came to existence in the early 1940s as the creation of a man named George Ellis. George was the mastermind behind this breed and he was most certainly a man who had a vision; he tinkered with genetics and crossed Barred Plymouth Rock roosters with New Hampshire hens. The ultimate byproduct of this mixture was a chicken with splendid white feathers known as the “Indian River” chicken. It was named after Delaware state, where it sprang to life.

You won’t believe how popular they became – practically overnight celebrities! In the 40s and 50s, if you were a chicken farmer, Delawares were your go-to breed for the broiler market. They even got their 15 minutes of fame when they were accepted into the American Poultry Association‘s Standard of Perfection in 1952. However, the star didn’t shine for long, as the White Cornish-Rock stole the show and the Delawares ended up becoming endangered.

Delaware Chicken Appearance

The Delaware chicken’s appearance is sorta like a piece of art. Imagine fluffy white feathers on a canvas with smatterings of black barring at the tips of the hackle, wings, and tail. It’s really a sight to see! They have this cute, single red comb that matches perfectly with their red wattles and earlobes. The males are strapping lads, weighing in around 8 lbs, and the females are more petite at about 6 lbs. You can also get the mini-me versions, the bantam Delawares, which are just about 32 oz.

When do Delaware Chickens start Laying Eggs

We can’t forget about the eggs, now can we? The Delaware gals are exceptional layers! They don’t fool around; they lay around 4 jumbo, light brown eggs every week! You’ll be drowning in eggs – make an omelet, or two, or three! However, there’s no fixed formula here; egg production can be quite the diva, and sometimes it changes its mind based on conditions and how well you pamper your chickens.

Delaware chickens will start laying eggs around 20-22 weeks old (Around 5 Months) however this statistic can vary depending on the individual chicken and potential cross breeding. Some pure blooded Delaware chickens may start laying eggs as early as 16 to 18 weeks old, while others may take their sweet time and end up not laying until 28 to 32 weeks (closer to 8 months old). On average, young female chickens start laying eggs or “come into lay” around 6 months of age. 

Are delaware chickens broody

Delaware chickens have a tendency to go broody. When they do, they also tend to make great mothers. However Delaware Chickens are not generally a broody breed, overall it seems that while Delaware Chickens are known for being particular broody, they do have a tendency to go broody and hatch out some eggs. 

Are Delaware Chickens friendly

Delaware chickens are just the friendliest little things, packed full of personality. They’re calm, inquisitive, and smart as a whip! The gents of the flock take their job of protecting the ladies very seriously. Though, word to the wise, during the breeding season, they might get a little too enthusiastic in their role, so it’s best to keep an eye on them around children.

Health Of The Delaware Chicken

Health-wise, the Delaware Chickens put up quite the fight when it comes to fighting off internal dangers. This breed really doesn’t get sick easily! But, like all birds, they have a kryptonite: parasites. During the cold months, their combs might get a bit frosty, but a dab of petroleum jelly usually does the trick in preventing frostbite, and lubricate their combs.

Delaware Chicken summary

The Delaware chicken is a breed of chicken originating in the U.S. state of Delaware. It was once of relative importance to the U.S. chicken industry, but today is critically endangered. Here are some key characteristics of the Delaware chicken:

  • Appearance: The Delaware chicken has plumage (Feather) of a unique pattern, with black barring (Spots) on a white background. All feathers have a white quill and shaft, which, combined with their beautiful yellow skin, makes for a cleaner appearing carcass. This breed is a medium-sized, dual-purpose bird with a long, broad, and deep body.
  • Temperament: The Delaware chicken is a calm and sometimes friendly bird. They are curious and like to explore, and although they are white, they are predator-savvy. They are exuberant about life, inquisitive, and enjoy being cliqued up with other Delaware Chickens.
  • Egg Laying: Hens are good layers of large to jumbo brown eggs and are very likely to go broody. They lay reasonably well and are best suited for free-range operations.
  • Weight: Roosters weigh around 7-8lbs and hens weigh around 5-6lbs.

The Delaware chicken is an all around American dual-purpose breed known for its docile temperament, good egg-laying abilities, and table bird. Although it is critically endangered today, it is still accepted into poultry standards for showing.


Oden is a homesteader from Southern, Illinois who's always had a love for avian creatures. He started Life Of A Farm as a means of helping connect newcomers to the homesteading lifestyle to information they need.

By Oden

Oden is a homesteader from Southern, Illinois who's always had a love for avian creatures. He started Life Of A Farm as a means of helping connect newcomers to the homesteading lifestyle to information they need.

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