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The Java is a breed of chicken originating in the United
States. Despite the breed's name, which comes from
the island of Java in Indonesia, it was developed in the
U.S. from chickens of unknown Asian extraction.
It is the second oldest American chicken, forming the
basis for many other breeds, but is critically
endangered today. Its ancestors were reputed to have
come from the Far East, possibly from the isle of Java.
Sources differ on the time of origin of the Java, but the
breed was known to be in existence in America
sometime between 1835 and 1850.
Javas are large birds with a sturdy appearance. They are hardy, and are well-suited for both meat and egg production, especially by small-scale farms, and
backyard keepers. The Java is a premiere homesteading fowl, having the ability to do well when given free range. The Java was noted for the production of
meat during the mid 1800s. The Plymouth Rock and Jersey Giant breeds owe much to the Java, as the Java was used in the creation of both of these breeds
which later supplanted it.
Javas are a heavier breed chicken, with roosters weighing around 9.5 pounds (4.3 kilos) and hens 6.5 to 7.5 pounds (2.9 to 3.4 kilos). They have a very long,
broad back and a deep breast, which makes for a solid, rectangular build. They have small earlobes and medium size combs and wattles, all of which are red in
color. Javas have singe combs, but they have a shape which suggests the influence of a pea-combed breed in their development.
Javas come in four varieties: Black, Mottled, White, and Auburn. The legs of the Mottled Java should be a broken leaden-blue with yellow soles. The White Java
was admitted to the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection, but was removed prior to 1910 as it was felt that it and the White Plymouth Rock were
too similar. White Javas have yellow leg color. The Auburn Java has never been recognized by the APA, but is mentioned as a color sport of the Black Java in
writings as early as 1879, and it is most noted for its use in the development of the Rhode Island Red chicken breed. All Javas have yellow skin and lay brown
eggs. Although the APA only recognizes the Black and the Mottled Java colors in its Standard of Perfection the White and the Auburn are being actively bred by
a core of dedicated producers interested in bringing these colors back to the breed.
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
has upgraded the Javas from:
Critical: Fewer than 200 annual registrations in the
United States and estimated global population less
Threatened: Fewer than 1,000 breeding birds in the
United States, with seven or fewer primary breeding
flocks, and estimated global population less than
|Day old Mottled Java chicks