Java (chicken)
The Java is a breed
A breed is a group of domestic animals or plants with a homogeneous appearance, behavior, and other characteristics that distinguish it from other animals or plants of the same species. Despite the centrality of the idea of "breeds" to animal husbandry, there is no scientifically accepted...

 of chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

 originating in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Despite the breed's name, which comes from the island of Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

 in Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, it was developed in the U.S. from chickens of unknown Asian extraction. It is one of the oldest American chickens, forming the basis for many other breeds, but is critically endangered today. 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, homestead
Homestead (buildings)
A homestead is either a single building, or collection of buildings grouped together on a large agricultural holding, such as a ranch, station or a large agricultural operation of some other designation.-See also:* Farm house* Homestead Act...

s, and backyard keepers.


Javas are heavy chickens, 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
Comb (anatomy)
Anatomically, a comb is a fleshy growth, caruncle, or crest on the top of the head of gallinaceous birds, most notably turkeys, pheasants, and domestic chickens...

 and wattles
Wattle (anatomy)
A wattle is a fleshy dewlap or caruncle hanging from various parts of the head or neck in several groups of birds, goats and other animals. In some birds the caruncle is erectile tissue.The wattle is frequently an organ of sexual dimorphism...

, 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 appear in three color variations today: Black, Mottled, and White. The Black has black shanks and beaks, though some yellow may appear in the legs. The plumage is a uniform black hue that has a dark green sheen in the light. The Mottled and White have mostly yellow skin, with horn colored beaks. The plumage of the Mottled is a black base with white markings on the tips of feathers, which imparts a spotted appearance.

Javas are valued for their dual-purpose characteristics. Though they are slow-growing compared to the broiler
A broiler is a type of chicken raised specifically for meat production. Modern commercial broilers, typically known as Cornish crosses or Cornish-Rocks are specially bred for large scale, efficient meat production and grow much faster than egg or traditional dual purpose breeds...

s used by the commercial chicken industry today, they produce a good carcass. Hens lay a respectable amount of large, brown eggs and will go broody. Javas are particularly known as good foragers, needing less supplementary feed than many breeds when allowed to free range
Free range
thumb|250px|Free-range chickens being fed outdoors.Free range is a term which outside of the United States denotes a method of farming husbandry where the animals are allowed to roam freely instead of being contained in any manner. In the United States, USDA regulations apply only to poultry and...

. Like many large breeds, they are known to be docile in temperament, and hardy in inclement weather. In general, Javas are particularly suitable for keepers of smaller flocks who require a good dual-purpose chicken.


After the Dominique, the Java is the oldest breed of chicken created in the U.S. Though its name would suggest a Javan derivation, it is not known exactly where in Asia its ancestors came from. It was first mentioned in print in 1835, but it is thought to have been present well before this time. Javas were especially notable as meat production birds throughout the 19th century, with their popularity peaking in the latter half of that century.

The Java is a key foundation breed for the American class of chickens, having contributed significantly to major modern fowl such as the Jersey Giant
Jersey Giant
The Jersey Giant is a breed of chicken originating in the United States in the late 19th century by John and Thomas Black. The intent of the breed was the replace the turkey as the primary meat poultry breed. Named for their state of origin and their large size. Jersey Giants are largest purebred...

, Rhode Island Red
Rhode Island Red
The Rhode Island Red is a breed of chicken . They are a utility bird, raised for meat and eggs, and also as show birds. They are a popular choice for backyard flocks because of their egg laying abilities and hardiness. Non-industrial strains of the Rhode Island Red are listed as recovering by the...

 and Plymouth Rock
Plymouth Rock (chicken)
The Plymouth Rock, often called simply Rocks or Barred Rocks , is a chicken breed that originated in the United States...

. They are also likely to be the source of the yellow skin in contemporary Dominiques, which once had white skin.

The Java was first recognized officially by acceptance in the American Poultry Association
American Poultry Association
The American Poultry Association is the oldest poultry organization in the North America. Founded in 1873, and incorporated in Indiana in 1932 The first American poultry show was held in 1849, and the APA was later formed in response to the burgeoning need for an overseeing body to set standards...

's Standard of Perfection in 1883. The White, Black, and Mottled varieties were all originally described in the Standard, but the White was removed in 1910 because it was thought to be too similar to the White Plymouth Rock. It eventually disappeared in the 1950s. There was also an Auburn type which was the basis for the Rhode Island Red, but it died out by 1870.

Javas had nearly vanished by the end of the 20th century, having been pushed to fringes of the poultry world by the intense focus on one or two breeds by commercial growers, and the introduction of innumerable new and exotic breeds to poultry fancy
Animal fancy
Animal fancy is a hobby involving the appreciation, promotion, or breeding of pet or domestic animals.Fancy may include ownership, showing, trialling and other competitions, breeding and judging. Hobbyists may simply collect specimens of the animal in appropriate enclosures, such as aquaria and...

. Beginning in the 1990s, breeders and conservation organizations began to make a more concerted effort to save the Java. In particular, the Garfield Farm Museum
Garfield Farm and Inn Museum
The Garfield Farm and Inn Museum is a Registered Historic Place in Kane County, Illinois, USA. The property is a farmstead, centered around an inn that served teamsters and the nearby community during the 1840s. It is currently a museum offering a variety of educational and entertainment events...

 in Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 has played a pivotal role in the preservation of Javas in the 21st century. Beginning with Mottled and Black Javas, sports
In molecular biology and genetics, mutations are changes in a genomic sequence: the DNA sequence of a cell's genome or the DNA or RNA sequence of a virus. They can be defined as sudden and spontaneous changes in the cell. Mutations are caused by radiation, viruses, transposons and mutagenic...

 from the Garfield flock have revived the White variety. The Garfield Farm was also been supported by the Museum of Science and Industry
Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago)
The Museum of Science and Industry is located in Chicago, Illinois, USA in Jackson Park, in the Hyde Park neighborhood adjacent to Lake Michigan. It is housed in the former Palace of Fine Arts from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition...

 in Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, which hatched Java chicks as part of their exhibit on genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....


The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy is a nonprofit organization focused on preserving and promoting genetic diversity among rare breeds of livestock...

 continues to list Javas as Critical on its watchlist, meaning fewer than 500 breeding birds from five or fewer primary breeding flocks are known (this does not take in to account the population of non-breeding flocks). The breed is also listed as part of Slow Food USA's Ark of Taste
Ark of Taste
The Ark of Taste is an international catalogue of heritage foods in danger of extinction which is maintained by the global Slow Food movement. The Ark is designed to preserve at-risk foods that are sustainably produced, unique in taste, and part of a distinct ecoregion...

, a catalog of heritage foods in danger of extinction.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.