When Do Delaware Chickens Start Laying

When Do Delaware Chickens Start Laying Eggs?

Delaware chickens typically start to lay eggs around 24 to 28 weeks of age (about 6 months). This is only a general rule, don’t be surprised to see that first egg a couple of weeks earlier or later.

When they do start laying, their eggs will start out small but it won’t be long before they’re laying jumbo-sized eggs.

How Many Eggs Do Delaware Chickens Lay?

Delawares lay around 4-5 large to jumbo-sized eggs each week. That means they lay anywhere in the region of 200 to 250 eggs a year.

This puts them in the same ballpark as Sussex and Barred Rocks. It’s a solid number, and not only is that a lot of eggs, but these are also jumbo-sized eggs!

If you’re looking for a more prolific layer, I recommend checking out Rhode Island Reds or California Whites.

What Color Eggs Do Delawares Lay?

They lay brown eggs. Typically, a little darker in color than, say, Rhode Island Reds and Orpingtons, which lay the classic light brown color eggs you see on supermarket shelves.

How Long Do Delawares Lay Eggs?

Delaware chickens have a slightly shorter life expectancy than some backyard breeds, and therefore fewer years laying eggs. This is not uncommon with breeds that were selectively bred to produce a high number of eggs.

Like most chickens, a Delaware will hit their prime at around 1.5-2 years of age. From there, the number of eggs they lay will taper off at about 10% a year.

They have a life expectancy of around 4-6 years, and it’s unlikely they will lay well when they are near the end of their lives. So, as a general rule of thumb, you can expect 3-4 good years of finding those jumbo eggs in their nesting box.

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Some History and Facts About Delaware Chickens

Delaware chickens are a dual-purpose breed of chicken that originated in the state of Delaware. They were created in the 1950s by crossing New Hampshire Red hens with Barred Plymouth Rocks.

The goal was to create a bird with the production numbers of the Rhode Island Red, with the maternal instincts of its Black Australorp and Barred Rock ancestors. The result was a new breed with a black-barred pattern on white feathers.

The Delaware is actually considered an endangered breed by The Livestock Conservancy, although it’s seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years.

They are certainly an interesting breed with an interesting history, here are facts to bring you up to speed with what makes the Delaware unique:

Some quick facts:

  • The Delaware was listed as having ‘critical status’ in 2009.
  • They are one of the few breeds to lay jumbo eggs (30+ oz in weight).
  • Roosters weigh around 8lbs, with bantams being just 32 oz.
  • Hens weigh around 6lbs, with bantams being just 28 oz.
  • They are hardy birds and do fine in cold temperatures.
  • They are docile, friendly, and curious birds that will happily follow you around.

Where To Buy Delaware Chickens, Chicks, and Hatching Eggs

I buy all of my chickens and hatching eggs online from Cackle Hatchery. Cackle Hatchery has one of the largest ranges of chicken breeds online, and they have excellent customer service.

Obviously, the available stock is always changing, so you’d have to look now to see what they have available. At the time of writing this, however, I could see they had Delaware chickens available starting at $2.20/ea.

They also had pullets available, starting at $115.50, Delaware hatching eggs at $3.75, and some other cross breeds available.

If you’re interested in adding Delawares to your flock, I recommend checking out what Cackle Hatchery has available:

You can check the latest prices and availability of Delaware chickens with Cackle Hatchery by clicking here.

Are Delaware Chickens a Good Choice for a Backyard Breed?

It always amazes me that the Delaware is so rare. I know it’s a difficult choice when you’re shopping for chickens, as there are so many good breeds to choose from.

But Delawares check a lot of the same boxes as other popular breeds. In fact, I know I’m starting to sound biased, but I think they have some unique and interesting qualities.

One of the best things about them is how adaptable they are. They’re great for urban areas and homesteads because they’re hardy and love foraging. The Delaware is also tolerant of extreme weather conditions, so it doesn’t matter where you live.

Those eggs, too, it’s hard to ignore the fact that you’re going to get plenty of jumbo-sized eggs. If that isn’t going to impress your neighbors, friends, and family, I don’t know what will!

If you’re looking for some new additions to your flock – or even starting out with chickens – you can’t go wrong with Delawares.

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Resources

Image credits – Photo by shannon VanDenHeuvel on Unsplash

Delaware Chicken – The Livestock Conservancy