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Dorking Chickens – All You Need to Know About This Rare Breed

Last Updated: 28.11.20

 

 

In case you are curious to know about this rare chicken breed, you can find more info here. The Dorking chicken breed is well-natured, and it can be used both for meat purposes, as they have high-quality meat, and egg production, as they lay up to 190 medium to large-sized eggs per year.

This chicken breed is one of the oldest chicken breeds around and it comes from the United Kingdom. It was named after the town Dorking in Surrey, Southern England. Unfortunately, this breed is now on the endangered list, as there are few individuals left in private households. Efforts are being made to preserve this wonderful chicken breed.

The endangerment of this breed is just one of the side effects of the industrialization of the chicken farming business, as faster-growing hybrids rapidly grew in popularity. The use of traditional breeds that offered great tasting meat, but did not offer such considerably large productions has stopped, thus making them become endangered.

The Dorking chicken is a breed that provides both great tasting meat and eggs while offering great companionship to the family due to their good-natured temperament. Nowadays, this breed depends on the efforts of backyard breeders that are trying to prevent it from becoming extinct. Also, not all color varieties are still available for purchase.

 

A bit of history

The Dorking chicken is one of the oldest British chicken breeds and it is believed that this breed originates from the five-toed chicken brought from the Roman Empire. The market town this breed is named after seems to be the place they were first recorded, and from there Dorking chickens were sent in the markets of London and other major cities throughout the country.

The Dorking was one of the chicken breeds included in the first poultry standard of the country, that was edited and published in 1865 by the Poultry Club of Great Britain. This only comes to prove just how old this breed is, and well-appreciated it was at the time. It was thought to be one of the breeds that meet all of the major requirements of the time.

1874 was another important year for the Dorking chicken breed, as the American Poultry Association included three color varieties in their Standard of Perfection. The three included varieties were colored, silver-grey, and white. The rose-comb white variety was later added, in 1960, making it one of the most sought after color varieties of the breed.

 

 

Characteristics

One of the most important features of this breed is its fifth toe. This is why many scientists believe the breed comes from the five-toed chickens in the Roman Empire. Although this is a special feature, the fifth toe does not seem to serve any particular purpose, it just hangs in the back of the bird’s foot.

This breed is used for both eggs and meat, and with their short legs, they make ideal chickens for meat production. They weigh around 8 pounds, which given their small size and short legs means they are quite good meat producers. The Dorkings have broad chests and long backs, which indicates they are quite a stout breed.

They come in a variety of colors, mainly white and silver-grey, making them an ideal choice for anyone who has a passion for show birds. Their large comb, which is bright red and beautiful, does not make them ideal birds for very cold environments. Also, the comb seems to be a bit floppy on some roosters, making them quite funny looking.

Unfortunately, the rosecomb white color variety is quite impossible to find these days. The color variety that had gotten people so excited many years ago is nearly extinct now. The white-colored Dorkings have become so rare, that efforts are being made to save as many of them as possible, to give this great breed one more chance.

Although Dorkings are not fussy eaters, certain nutrient requirements need to be met to provide them with the best possible diet, in order to increase the odds for the rare breed. Remaining individuals should be treated with the utmost possible care for us to be able to enjoy their company and products for a long time to come.

 

Temperament

The Dorkings are good-natured birds, well-tempered, to the point of being called the dolly of the flock by some enthusiasts. They are calm and friendly birds, and it’s best not to put them around more aggressive birds, as they might not settle in well, and get very stressed. Also, unless you want them to be at the end of the pecking order, make sure they are paired up with similar birds.

Dorking hens are known to be great mothers, raising their chicks well, and for much longer than other hens do, as they will not kick them out of the coop as soon as possible. More importantly, while being great mothers, they are also great with their owners and do not show any signs of aggression when being handled, or their eggs are being taken away.

For all of these reasons, and many more, if you are a Dorking enthusiast, you may want to think twice before deciding to breed them for meat purposes, as it is very easy to fall in love with them. Dorkings are known to be great companions, and one of the best-natured chicken breeds still around.

Even if these birds are so calm and friendly, overcrowding should be avoided, especially if they are mixed with other breeds. The high-stress level overcrowding might have on these chickens could prove to be fatal, which should absolutely be avoided, especially since they are on the endangered list. Make sure you keep the space requirements for each breed.

 

Meat

This chicken breed provides one of the best-tasting meats that have an amazing flavor, which puts it high on the list of best-tasting chicken meat types. The Dorking meat is also tender and very light, making an ideal choice for those of us that are looking for high-quality chicken meat. This meat is also highly suitable for small children that are just now learning what eating meat is all about.

Another great aspect of breeding Dorking for their lovely meat is their appetizing skin. Besides being visually pleasing, their skin is great-tasting and rich in collagen. Unlike other chicken breeds that have yellow or grey skin, the Dorkings come with pale white skin, which is a well-sought-after trait.

It is a known fact in the meat industry that the skin should be white in order to be pleasant looking and many meat hybrids meet this requirement. However, here we have a breed that, although it was not bred as a meat hybrid, it carries this very pleasant trait, making it an ideal choice for us.

Although they do not grow as fast as other industrial hybrids do, they Dorking meat is highly appreciated, especially in small communities throughout the United Kingdom, which are also the ones making great efforts in preserving this rare and wonderful breed nowadays. Being offered a Dorking stake should be considered a privilege.

 

 

Eggs

Usually, chickens that are bred for one type of product, either eggs or meat, are not used for the other one as well. Here is where the Dorkings are the exception to the rule. Although they produce high-quality meat, the Dorking hens are also great egg layers. Hens will lay their eggs year-round, keeping us well-fed.

Unlike other egg-laying breeds, Dorking hens do not have a drop in production during winter, meaning they are able to lay up to 190 eggs per year, as long as they are healthy and happy. This important fact comes to show that this old breed can satisfy both the needs of a family, as well as become a great companion.

The Dorking eggs are usually light-colored to white and medium to large in size. These two traits of the Dorking eggs are very important to any chicken breeder, as larger, light-colored eggs tend to sell at a higher price than small eggs. Therefore, the Dorking chicken breed is one that can bring great satisfaction to any chicken breeder.

There are quite a few factors that influence the Dorking egg-laying cycle, from how well the hen is fed to the overall housing conditions they are being provided with. However, since they are such good mothers, the Dorking hens increase the chances they have to survive in modern times and become a part of our children’s lives as well.

 

 

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