Java chicken breed
- Country of origin: United States
- Primary uses: For eggs and meat production
- Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
- Production: 100 to 150 eggs
- Size: Large
- Color: Brown
- Cock: 4.3 kg
- Hen: 2.9 to 3.4 kg
- The skin color: Yellow
- Useful to know: Heavy but still docile chickens. It is suitable to raise them in a large garden for eggs and meat production.
The Java chicken breed is popular among professional chicken raisers. They have many outstanding features which make them more special than other chicken breeds.
However, if you are a new chicken keeper and looking for a suitable option, let’s read this article to learn more about Java chickens before making your final decision.
Background and history
Java chickens were developed in the United States based on chickens of unknown Asian stocks. They are named as an island of Java. The Java chickens are one of the oldest breeds originating in the US, right after the Dominique.
The first time that Java chickens were recognized officially was in 1883 by American Poultry Association. They had 3 different varieties including White, Black, and Mottled.
Unfortunately, the White variety absolutely disappeared in the 1950s. And at the end of the 20th century, all Javas had almost vanished. Luckily, many efforts have been made to save this chicken breed.
Until now, they have revived all 3 varieties of Java chickens. Nevertheless, Javas are still considered as one of the most endangered breeds in the US.
Java chickens have a large and yellow body with up to 4.3 kg for cocks and 2.9 to 3.4 kg for hens. A deep breast along with a long and broad back are common for this chicken breed.
They are single comb chickens. Both their comb and wattles are large-sized while their earlobes are quite small. And all of these features have a red color.
It is simple to distinguish 3 types of Java chickens with some outstanding features as belows:
- Black Java chickens: Their feathers have the beetle-green sheen. They also have dark eyes from dark brown to almost black colors. Their legs have some yellow while both beak and shank are black.
- Mottled Java chickens: Their feathers are all black with some white splashes or mottles. Unlike the Black ones, they have totally red eyes. Their legs have broken leaden-blue color along with yellow soles.
- White Java chickens: This variety has yellow legs with horn color beaks.
Among heavy chickens, Java chickens seem to be the most calm and docile breed. They are able to make a close relationship with their owners as well as obey the rules all the time.
They are also active and would like to forage around your garden instead of eating in a specific container. Therefore, it is not too complicated for you to feed those Java chickens in your backyard throughout the day.
Java roosters sometimes can be noisy because they would love to crow like other types. Meanwhile, Java hens are often quiet and calm.
Java chickens will go broody on a regular basis. Unlike other chicken breeds, Java hens are going to broody throughout the year. They would love to sit on their nesting box and hatch their eggs carefully.
However, those chickens can slow-growing breed. It does mean that it takes about 8 to 9 months for them to start laying eggs. Meanwhile, other chickens begin to produce eggs at an earlier age.
Nevertheless, they have the ability to produce many large eggs with brown shells. With the hardy nature, there is no problem for them to make eggs during the cold season.
The Java chicken productivity
Is the Java chicken good for eggs?
This chicken breed is one of the good layers. Even though their egg production is not too high, it is still remarkable with about 100 to 150 large brown eggs per year.
With the cold resistance, Java hens are able to lay their eggs even during the winter months. Those hens often go broody and show their good mothering skills. So they can produce eggs of more reliable quality.
Besides, they can continue laying eggs much longer even when other breeds have stopped doing so. This would be an outstanding point to raise Java chickens for egg production in your home.
Is the Java chicken good for meat?
In addition to an impressive number of eggs, Java chickens also offer you high-quality meat. Thus, their meat is used to improve other meat chickens.
For example, some famous modern broilers you can find in your local market now like the Plymouth Rock are a result of the Java chicken breed. Java meat has an incredible taste which is hard to get in other chicken breeds.
It takes much longer for Java chickens to reach full maturity. Once they do, they can give you a large amount of meat with their large and heavy bodies.
Further reading: 21 Best Chicken Keeping eBooks
As mentioned above, the Java chicken is a hardy breed with a strong immune system. They have a good ability to adapt to many climate conditions. However, Java chickens still cope with several potential health diseases like other poultries.
There are some common issues you have to know in order to protect your Java chickens from any illness as belows:
- Parasitic Diseases: It has certain popular symptoms such as feather loss, skin irritation, lethargy, or a loss of appetite. An unclean coop is the main reason which leads to those diseases. Thus, you should pray for insecticides in their coop as well as treat your chickens with many available antiparasitic medications and supplements.
- Viral Diseases: You can diagnose these diseases with some symptoms including sores on skin, coughing and sneezing, decreased egg production, nasal and eye discharge, and even paralysis. Viral diseases are harder to treat and will spread to the whole flock quickly.
- Bacterial Diseases: They include colibacillosis, salmonellosis and chronic respiratory diseases. These diseases are very serious so you have to quarantine any chicken showing potential symptoms from the flock quickly.
- Fungal Diseases: It has 2 common fungal diseases found in chickens including brooder pneumonia and ringworm. To avoid those diseases, you can clean their coop regularly as well as feed them with fresh diet and water.
Java chickens are one of the hardiest breeds. They have the ability to deal with many sudden changes in climate. Therefore, there are no strict requirements about their living environment.
With their dense feathering, Java chickens are able to overcome the winter months without any issues. Besides, their combs are large enough to make them resistant to frostbite.
For hot weather conditions, those chickens can still do their job so well. Although they have dark-colored feathers, it is possible for them to cope with heatstroke.
In spite of their hardy nature, when the temperatures go beyond the safe range, you have to keep them indoors with full equipment. So this does not lead to many health issues
Benefits and drawbacks of raising the Java chicken
- Docile and friendly chickens: Most of the Java chickens are very calm and gentle. They are able to make good friends with their owners. And Java chickens can get along well with other chicken breeds. Therefore, it is much easier to keep them in a mixed flock.
- Good egg production: They can give you from 100 to 150 large eggs with brown shells per year. Even the cold season does not have any negative impact on their egg-laying.
- Delicious meat: You can benefit a lot from Java chicken meat. They give a larger amount of meat than other meat chickens. In addition, their meat tastes very juicy and flavorful and is rich in nutritional value.
- Great mothers of their chicks: Java hens will go broody regularly and their hatching rate is significant. They also show their great care for their eggs and chicks until they are old enough to live independently.
- Cold and heat resistance: Java chickens are one of the hardiest chickens. Thus it is not difficult for them to adapt to many different weather conditions. They can survive through the intensive season with little preparation.
Challenges or drawbacks
- Slow growth: Unlike other breeds, it does take more time for Java chickens to reach full maturity or be ready to lay eggs. Therefore, they would not give you an impressive result within a short period.
- Low population: Even though they have made many efforts, the number of Java chickens is still low. Therefore, you might cope with many issues when you want to increase your flock size.
- Require spacious place: Java chickens need to have a spacious living environment so that many of them can have comfortable lives together. So a large-size garden is an ideal option to raise those chickens.
How to raise the Java chicken?
It is essential for you to consider many factors in order to raise Java chickens with the most suitable conditions as follows:
At an early age, you can feed your Java chicks with some high-quality chick starters. When they are 14 to 16 weeks old, you should change into laying feed so as to prepare for their laying time.
To assure the high quality of eggs, your hens need to have a high level of protein, calcium as well as other vitamins and minerals. For example, adding egg shells into their feed might be a cheap and effective method.
Normally, you would make organic and fresh food available in the backyard for their foraging. Therefore, those free-rangers like Java chickens are able to get sufficient nutrition value.
Due to their large bodies, they require a much more spacious coop than other breeds. The ideal size of Javas coop should be at least 4 square feet per chicken. Thus it can make enough room for their peaceful coexistence.
Besides, you should prepare a large space for them to walk or forage around. If your backyard is too small, it is hard for Java chickens to live comfortably.
Keep them outdoors a lot:
When the temperatures are not intense, you should allow your chickens to be out of their coop. Staying in an open air place would have a positive effect on their mental health. And this also helps them to keep their active nature and behaviors as well.
Suitable nesting box:
Java hens often go broody so a nesting box is useful during this time. Your nesting place should be large enough for them to feel convenient to sit on. Besides, this can help you to collect their eggs easily all the time.
You may also like: Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Chickens
So, is the Java chicken right for you? Among the large chicken breeds, Java chickens are considered as one of the most suitable options for many chicken raisers.
This breed has a lot of advantages which make them more attractive. They are good at producing meat and eggs. Java chickens also have a good immune system to protect them from many severe diseases along with high adaptability with both cold and hot weather.
In addition, Java hens are great mothers with outstanding skills and can lay eggs during the cold season. Moreover, these free-rangers are very adorable and funny to keep in houses as pets.
However, their growing time is quite slower than other breeds. And it needs to have a large space for their living due to their huge bodies.
Hopefully, this article can sum up some necessary and key information which can be useful and contributes to your right decision.
Links to useful resources:
- Java Chicken: Characteristics, Temperament & Full Breed Info, Roy’s farms, Mar 2021
- Janet Ott, Repopulating the Endangered Heritage Java Chicken, Mother Earth News
- Java chickens: The ultimate heritage breed, The Feather Brain