The Ultimate Delaware Chicken Guide | Appearance, Origin, And Uses!

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Delaware chickens have a fascinating history and economic benefits, making them a delightful addition to any backyard, farmstead, or homestead that wants yummy eggs and meat. Our comprehensive Delaware chicken profile guide shares everything you need to know about these versatile birds.

Lovely Delaware hen foraging in a sunny meadow.

We also share an epic Delaware chicken poem at the end to help celebrate our adoration for these lovely farmyard companions.

Sound good?

Then let’s get clucking!

Delaware Chicken Breed Overview

White Delaware chicken hen foraging in the grass.

Delaware Chickens, originally named the Indian River chicken, emerged in the 1940s through George Ellis’s breeding efforts. Ellis aimed to create a dual-purpose chicken that excelled as a broiler and a prolific layer.

By crossing New Hampshire hens with Barred Plymouth Rock roosters, Ellis achieved a breed with distinctive white plumage adorned with black barring on their tails, hackles, and primary and secondary feathers. The Delaware chicken!

Delawares were initially renowned for their broiler qualities and the appealing white carcass they produced. 

Delaware Chicken Profile

Origin:First bred in the 1940s by George Ellis in the United States.
Cost:Around $4 to $12
Lifespan:Typically live for five years or more.
Rooster WeightFully grown males can reach eight pounds.
Hen Weight:Adult females weigh around six pounds.
Temperament:Known for their calm and friendly disposition.
Appearance:Delawares are medium-sized chickens with rapid feathering and a sturdy build. They have White plumage with black barring on specific feathers.
Uses:Dual-purpose chickens suitable for both meat and egg production.
Egg Color:Light brown.
Egg Production:Expect approximately four eggs per week.
Accepted Into APA:Yes. In 1952, the American Poultry Association’s Standards of Perfection recognized Delaware chickens for exhibition.
Status:Once prominent but later replaced by other broiler breeds.
Delaware Chicken Profile

Even though Delawares aren’t the most popular chicken breed, they have a few hidden benefits for small homesteaders who need a cost-effective meat bird that produces yummy eggs. 

Read More – What Is Bumblefoot In Chickens? Causes And Symptoms Guide

Origin And History

Delaware white chicken foraging for snacks in the early morning.

Delaware chickens trace their roots to the Indian River region, where George Ellis meticulously refined their characteristics. These birds gained prominence as excellent broilers due to their white plumage, which didn’t leave dark spots on the skin during processing. However, their reign was relatively short-lived, as solid white Cornish-crossed Plymouth Rocks eventually overshadowed their prominence in the broiler industry. Fortunately, a resurgence of interest has led to a Delaware chicken revival, especially among small-scale farmers who appreciate their dual-purpose capabilities.

Even though Delaware chickens are somewhat rare, they’re relatively inexpensive to buy. We checked our local Tractor Supply. They sell ten packs of baby Delaware chicks for around $40. So, the chicks only cost around four bucks.

What Is Delaware Breed Used For?

Delaware chickens pecking at the snow and ice.

Delaware chickens are perfect for thrifty homesteaders. They offer a blend of economy and charm, making them stand out among other backyard birds. Here’s why they’re a fantastic choice for homesteaders and poultry enthusiasts.

Dual-Purpose Nature

Delawares are true all-rounders. They excel both as meat birds and prolific egg layers. Their dual-purpose nature makes them valuable for small-scale farmers who want versatility in their flock.

Regarding meat production, Delawares offers flavorful, tender meat. Their white plumage ensures clean carcasses during processing.

As egg layers, Delawares consistently produce light brown eggs. Each hen should produce around four eggs per week.

Read More – The 21 Best Laying Chickens For Your Backyard Flock | Ultimate Guide

Friendly Temperament

Unlike high-strung or flighty breeds, Delawares have a calm and docile temperament. They are easy to handle and interact with, making them ideal for beginners and families.

Examples of potentially unfriendly chicken breeds:

  • Rhode Island Reds (Superb egg layers. But they can be surprisingly bossy in the backyard coop.)
  • Dominiques (One of the oldest American breeds, and excellent for cold weather. But they can also be assertive and territorial.)
  • Cornish chickens (Some roosters and cockerels can be downright aggressive.)

You won’t have any such problems with Delaware chickens. Their friendly nature extends to their interactions with other flock members, creating a harmonious backyard environment.

Hardiness And Longevity

Domestic delaware chicken exploring in the backyard.

Delawares are hardy birds that adapt well to various climates. They can withstand both cold winters and hot summers.

With proper care, Delawares can live for five years or more. Their robust health contributes to consistent egg production and occasional broods.

Low Maintenance

These chickens don’t demand excessive attention. Regular feeding, clean water, and a secure coop are sufficient. Compared to high-maintenance chickens, they are generally relaxed and never a nuisance.

Examples of high-maintenance birds:

  • Leghorns (Fast. Flighty. Hard to catch.)
  • Ancona (High flyers. Flighty. Anxious. Alert.)
  • Hamburgs (Strong flyers. Super flighty.)

Delaware chickens are a dream compared to the three tricky breeds above.

Their low-maintenance requirements make them an excellent choice for homesteaders who want productive birds without constant fuss.

Read More – How To Build A Fox-Proof Chicken Coop: A Step-By-Step Guide


Lovely Delaware white chicken hen in the backyard.

Delaware chickens are medium-sized birds with robust and well-proportioned bodies.

Their features make them stand out in any flock.

Body Shape:Delawares have a long, broad, and deep body. Their chest is substantial, and their back is moderately long.
Plumage:These chickens sport an all-white plumage with striking black barring. The black bars appear on their feathers, wings, and tail.
Combs and Wattles:Delawares have bright red single combs with five distinct points. Their wattles and ear lobes also share this vibrant red color.
Eyes and Beak:Their eyes and beaks are a reddish color.
Legs and Skin:Yellow legs and skin give them a healthy and vibrant appearance.
Bantam Variety:There’s also a bantam variety of Delawares, weighing around 30 ounces for males and 26 ounces for females.
Delware Chicken Appearance

While some may mistake Delawares for having Colombian coloring, it’s prudent to note that their barred patterns set them apart. Unlike the Columbian pattern, Delawares exhibit black barring rather than solid black feathers. These handsome birds combine practicality with elegance, making them a superb addition to your flock.

Read More – 11 Best Meat Chicken Breeds For Your Backyard Coop

Size And Weight

Fully grown males reach eight pounds, while females weigh around six pounds. Their robust build ensures resilience in various climates.


Delawares are strikingly white with black barring on specific feathers, reminiscent of Columbian Wyandottes.

Delaware Chicken Food And Water Requirements

Delawares thrive on a balanced diet with plenty of nutritious layer feed and supplementary foraging.

Layer feed in the form of pellets or crumbles is ideal for Delawares. These specially formulated feeds provide the necessary nutrients for egg production.

While Delawares do well on commercial feeds, they also appreciate occasional foraging opportunities. Let them explore the yard and peck at insects, grass, and other natural foods.

Foraging provides mental stimulation and contributes to a more varied diet.

Access to fresh and clean water is vital for their health. Regularly check their water supply and refill it as needed.

Proper hydration supports egg production, digestion, and overall well-being.

Read More – How To Clip A Chicken’s Wings So It Can’t Fly [And Whether You Should]

Our Ballad To Delaware Chickens

A lovely close up Delaware chicken portrait.

Amidst the sun-dappled grass, where dew-kissed mornings unfold, stands our Delaware hen, her plumage a canvas of black and white gold.

Her crimson eyes—oh, those eyes—are deep pools of mystery and knowing. They hold secrets whispered by the wind, tales of dawn and twilight glowing.

In those reddish-bay orbs, the wisdom of ages resides. She is in silent communion with the earth, where ancient rhythms collide. She gazes upon the world, unyielding and serene, a sentinel of the coop, a keeper of unseen dreams.

And when the moon weaves its silver threads through the night, her eyes remain open, tracing constellations in silent flight.

Perhaps she remembers when Delawares roamed free – or homesteads echoed with clucks and laughs under orchard trees. Or maybe she dreams of futures unfurled, where her lineage dances through time, a feathery story of this earthly world. 🌿🌟

The ultimate Delaware chicken guide appearance history and uses.


Thanks for reading our Delaware chicken guide! We’re trying our best to spread the word about these lovely animals.

These birds may not be as prominent as they once were.

But their economic qualities and yummy, nutritious eggs will (hopefully) continue to help thrifty homesteaders for generations.

What about you?

  • Do you agree that Delaware chickens are perfect for small farms and homesteads?
  • Have you ever raised a Delaware chicken?
  • How many eggs does your Delaware chicken lay per week?
  • Do you raise Delaware hens for eggs? Or also for meat?
  • Delawares are also an excellent exhibition bird! Do you agree?

We love hearing from Delaware chicken fanciers, raisers, or anyone interested in brainstorming more about these excellent egg-layers.

And we thank you again for reading.

Have a great day!

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