In 1939, the Blue Hen Delaware state bird was officially recognized. The state University of Delaware chose the bird as its mascot back in 1911, so clearly, the people of Delaware had a soft spot for it even then.
Several Delaware organizations, including the Blue Hens athletic teams, use it as a symbol or mascot. Keep reading to find out more!
How To Describe the Blue Hen Delaware State Bird?
The blue hen Delaware state bird is mostly blue, with some black on the throat and neck. This species’ rooster male is easily identified by his red mohawk and jowls.
The hens’ feathers turn a shade of grey-blue, while the roosters are a brilliant blue. There are three different coloured chicks to choose from blue, black, and splash.
These chickens are lighter than the average chicken used for food. Males average five pounds and females, four, according to A-Z Animals. Their wing span is between 43 and 59 centimeters.
How Do I Describe the History of the Blue Hen Delaware State Bird?
To my knowledge, the Blue Hen is not a legitimate chicken breed. The Blue Hen name has been around since 1775, but its history is murky.
One legend claims that during the Revolutionary War, the men of the 2nd company of the First Delaware Regiment, led by Captain Jonathan Caldwell and drawn primarily from Kent County, brought blue game chickens with them because of their reputation for fighting ability. These chickens earned the nickname “Blue Hen’s Chickens” for the men.
There’s also the urban legend that the “Sons of the Blue Hen” are a group of individuals who claim to be descended from two gamecocks that Caldwell hatched from a certain blue hen.
The members of the company may have been given this moniker as a result of their uniforms being likened to the feathers of a fighting cock.
On April 14, 1939, the Blue Hen Chicken became the state bird of Delaware. The Blue Hen is the inspiration for YoUDee, the mascot of the University of Delaware’s athletic teams.
The University maintains a small flock in its College of Agriculture & Natural Resources; in 2007, this totalled roughly forty birds.
In the 1960s, S. Hallock duPont, a breeder of Blue Hens (though not derived from the original Kent County stock), contributed twelve birds to the University.
Why is the Blue Hen the Delaware State Bird?
Although it’s not a recognized chicken breed, this hen is very popular in Delaware.
This all goes back to the Revolutionary War when a Delaware company’s captain saw in them the fighting potential of his farm hen’s progeny and gave them the nicknames “The Blue Hen’s Chickens” and “Sons of the Blue Hen.”
The reverence in which the bird was held by residents of Delaware grew from its outlandish military origins. This courageous bird has been the state’s university mascot for centuries.
Delaware is crazy about this tough foul. The bird isn’t actually a native of the state, despite the name. It’s not even a natural species here.
Read also: How Was the Washington State Flag Founded?
What is the Behaviour of the Blue Hen Delaware State Bird?
This flighty, nervous bird, known as the blue strain of the American gamecock, lays brown eggs that are edible. However, these birds weren’t always used in farming.
The Delaware Blue Hen was originally bred for the sport of cockfighting. Delaware has forbidden hawking, although it was there that the fearsome bird was first developed.
It’s possible you’d like to raise a sizable flock, but the roosters must be kept apart. When males of this species attain sexual maturity, they cannot coexist in the same environment.
The roosters cannot be kept in the same yard because they will fight with one another, even if you fence off the bigger flock into smaller flocks.
The aggressive nature of blue chickens is what made them so successful in cockfighting. Conflict between two males in close proximity is inevitable.
You may notice that chickens like to live in tiny flocks in the wild if you travel to Asia, notably India, where they originated. A rooster and one to four hens are the ideal number of pets for them.
In the wild, a rooster may only mate with one hen at a time, but most have multiple hens. He, too, faces rivals.
A couple of subordinate roosters always hang around the main flock just in case. Prior to reaching sexual maturity, young guys typically congregate in smaller groups of two to four.
Hens of breeding age leave the flock to start their own nests in the spring. She incubates a nest of three to seven eggs.
She is single-handedly responsible for raising her kids. These animals prefer to congregate with only one other flock every 12.5 miles when free to do so.
What Makes Up the Diet of the Blue Hen Delaware State Bird?
The needs of your Delaware Blue Hens will determine the type of food you should give them. Guidelines for gamecocks provide the basis for these animals’ diets.
Wild birds have a slightly different diet than domesticated chickens. These creatures have higher protein requirements than your average chicken.
Their diet needs to have between 17 and 19% crude protein in it. A diet of up to 22% crude protein is fine for roosters to chow down on. Below are foods that make up the diet of the blue hen Delaware state bird:
- Oat groats
- Jockey oats
- Mixed grains
- Egg whites
- Specially treated milk
As a result of their inability to produce the lactase enzyme, chickens and gamefowl require a special fermented milk formula that makes consuming lactose easier.
The ratio of pure culture of lactic acid bacteria to fresh milk should be 1:0.5.
The avian population at the University of Delaware has been genetically modified through intermingling with the Blue Andalusian breed from Spain.
On April 14, 1939, the Assembly of Delaware officially designated the Delaware Blue Hen as the state bird. The state bird of Delaware is unique among the fifty states.
The Blue Hen Chicken is the official state bird of Delaware. Thanks for reading!