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If you are in the market for a chicken but want a balanced bird all the way around, then look no further than the Dorking Chicken. This is a versatile breed that is not only friendly but can be dual purpose; used for both egg-laying and meat.
Dorking Chickens are a rarer breed of fowl that are great at providing food for your family, whether it be meat or eggs. The breed hails from Britain and is a rarer breed of chicken that is currently under the controlled conservation status. This is a larger breed of chicken and will usually weigh in at around eight to fourteen pounds, with females being slightly smaller than males.
The breed can lay up to 200 medium to large-sized eggs per year and will continue laying even into the winter. Their hefty size also makes them an excellent choice for meat, but if you are just looking for a companion, then they will fit that bill as well, as they are a friendly breed of fowl. The breed has a lifespan of around seven years.
Keep reading below to learn more about the Dorking Chicken and some of its strange features.
|Size||14 Pounds (Rooster)|
8 Pounds (Hen)
|Class||SCCL (single comb clean leg)|
|Color||Silver With Gray, White, Red, Cuckoo, Dark|
|Hardiness||Not Cold Hardy|
|Eggs/Yr||140 – 200|
|Egg Size||Medium to Large|
History and Origin
The Dorking chicken has a rather interesting history as they are one of the oldest British breeds of chicken. Many believe that the Dorking Chicken actually came over with the Romans due to the fact that the chicken has five toes. This is because a writer from ancient Roman mentioned a five-toed chicken, just like a Silkie, that was well balanced and an excellent breeding stock.
The history that we do know, though, shows that the Dorking Chicken came from the small town of Dorking, England. For some time, the breed was one of the primary sources of meat for London. Once it was no longer the sought-after breed for meat, the breed moved on to exhibition shows and competed in the first poultry show in the country. This earned it a spot as one of the first exhibition breeds, and to this day, Dorking Chickens can still be found in poultry shows.
This is now considered to be a rare breed of chicken, so finding a breeder to buy one from can be quite difficult and costly. It may be easier to find a reputable breeder for the Dorking at a livestock or chicken show.
What do they look like?
There are five different colorings that are recognized in Dorking Chickens; Silver With Gray, White, Red, Cuckoo, Dark. Most of these colors will have a mix of dark feathers on the Dorkings body, with the exception of the all-white variety.
The birds have short legs, short necks, white skin, and have a single comb/rose-colored comb (similar to Ancona Chickens) on their head. They have red earlobes, and their body is rectangular in shape.
It has long red wattles, and with the exception of the all-white Dorking, most breeds will have black feathers on their body, along with the coloring. You should also note that the bantam Dorkling weighs slightly less than the regular variety, usually coming in at around eight pounds.
There are also quite a few color variations of this breed that aren’t currently recognized. In addition, this breed has a very distinct feature that will help you recognize them right away, a fifth toe!
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The Dorking is a friendly breed of bird that can be easy to handle and make an excellent companion for those who desire pet chickens. The breed is known for being passive, even around children, and have shown signs of growing attached to their owners. This breed will even tend to follow humans around, so you should watch where you step when your flock runs up to greet you.
This breed is known for being free-range as they won’t wander far from their home. They are foragers and will happily pluck away at any bugs they find hiding around their coop. As with any breed of animal, be sure to monitor young children around the Dorking Chicken to ensure that no accidents take place.
What is their purpose?
As mentioned above, the Dorking Chicken is a good all-around bird. They are good egg layers, and their hefty size makes them a good choice for meat. They are also used as show chickens but can be excellent companions as well.
At their smallest, this breed weighs in at around 8 pounds, with some of the largest birds hitting a hefty fourteen pounds. It is also considered by many to be one of the most delectable breeds of chickens you can have.
In addition, they can provide between 140 – 200 eggs a year or two to four eggs per week and don’t seem to slow down laying, even when cold weather hits. This usually begins when they are around six months old. When they reach the six-year mark, you can expect their laying habits to stop or at least slow down as they have entered old age.
If you are looking to breed a large flock, then you are in luck as well. The Dorking hens are exceptional mothers, even if the chick isn’t their own. This means that you won’t need to worry about having to intervene in the breeding process; just place a rooster into your flock, and with any luck, you should have chicks in no time.
If you are looking to enter chicken shows, then you will want to be especially selective when purchasing chicks. This is a rare breed, and finding a purebred Dorking Chicken can be a bit of a challenge.
Care and Health
Dorking chickens are generally a hardy breed that are generally easy to care for. You should keep in mind that this is a larger breed of chicken when planning out your coop and run. They will need much more room than smaller breeds. If you already have chickens in your coop, you should also note that due to the Dorking’s temperament, they will likely find themselves at the bottom of the pecking order.
This is a chicken with a single comb, so they won’t do well in cold temperatures. Ensure that you have a proper way to keep your flock warm in colder weather as they are susceptible to frostbite. A well insulated and wind free coop can help keep your chickens toasty throughout the fall and winter. Some varieties of Dorking chickens, like the white Dorking, will do better in the cold.
Dorking Chickens are also a bit of a messy breed, so you may find yourself having to clean up after them regularly; some may even require baths. As always, remember that it’s best to have a chicken feed and water set up to ensure that your flock has proper access to food and water at all times.
If you plan to make your Dorking Flock free-range, then remember to check on them regularly. While they won’t wander far from their coop, they should have a set schedule and access to clean water at all times. You should bring the flock inside when the sun begins to set as they will be ready to settle down for the night.
If you notice that your Dorking Chicken has stopped laying eggs at a young age, then check to see if they are plucking feathers. This breed tends to take a break from egg-laying when growing its new set of feathers.
What color eggs do Dorking chickens lay?
The eggs that the Dorking chicken lays are generally white in color. However, they will sometimes lay a creamier color of the egg. This has sometimes been linked to the coloring of the chicken itself.
Are Dorking chickens good layers?
While they may not be as talented at laying as the some other breeds, a flock can keep your family fed.
How long do Dorking chickens lay eggs?
They begin laying eggs once they are around half a year old and will stop when they are around six years old.
Are Dorking chickens rare?
Yes, the breed is considered to be rather rare. Depending on where you live, it can be hard to get ahold of a Dorking chicken or at least one that meets breeding standards.
How long do Dorking chickens live?
The Dorking Chicken has a lifespan of around seven years.
How much are Dorking chickens?
A female Dorking Chicken will cost you in the $5 range, while a male usually costs you a bit under $4. Be sure to double-check the parents and familiarize yourself with the breed to ensure you are getting a purebred Dorking.
How many eggs do Dorking chickens lay?
Dorking chickens are rather good at laying eggs, and you can expect to get between 140 – 200 eggs a year, and they won’t slow down for cold weather either! This amounts to between two to four eggs per week per chicken
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