History of the Delaware breed

First called Indian Rivers, the Delaware breed was named to match the US state where the breed was developed in 1940. In the early 20th century, it was common to cross a Barred Plymouth Rock rooster over a New Hampshire hen to produce broilers. Occasionally, this crossing produced sports, which are birds that differ from the parent stock, often through mutation. These light colored sports were almost white (genetically silver) with black barring in the hackles, wings, and tail. George Ellis of Delaware used these sports to create the breed that was accepted into the APA's Standard in 1952.

By the mid-1950's the Cornish-Rock cross began to dominate the industry, and the Delaware's popularity faded. Although originally developed as a broiler, Delawares have well developed egg and meat qualities, as well as a calm, friendly disposition. They are now considered a dual-purpose bird, and are often kept by those wishing to maintain heritage breeds. The Delaware is listed as a threatened breed by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

Delaware Characteristics and Behaviour

The Delaware is a medium-sized breed with adult males weighing 8-8.5 lbs and adult females weighing 6-6.5 lbs. They have rather large, bright red colored single combs and wattles. Delawares appear in a single color type: a white body and breast, with light black barring on the ends of the hackle, wings and tails. It is similar to the Columbian color seen in some breeds, but has barring in the dark portions, rather than uniform black.

Delawares are hardy birds that mature quickly, and chicks also feather quickly. Hens are good layers of large to jumbo brown eggs and will go broody. Unlike the most common commercial meat birds in use today, the Delaware does well in free range operations. Temperament is typically calm and friendly, but they can be flighty & slightly noisy at times.

Click on the photo link below to view our Delaware photo album.

Delaware photo album