Hi there! I am relatively new to chickens. We got our first ones in October 2014, some full grown and two almost ready to lay pullets. We have no experience with chicks or eggs or culling. In fact, we really need to build a good coop, because we just threw something together last year.
We started with 7 birds (1 rooster and 6 hens), but two hens had silkie heritage and were too beat up on by the other birds, so we re-homed them. The rooster was a feisty little thing (Japanese bantam - LOVELY!). But he and my 6 year old didn't get along (and he could fly), so we re-homed him, too. And then one of our remaining hens suddenly died this year. She was fine one day and dead the next, but not a mark on her.
Not exactly sure what the remaining 2 white and 1 red are. They were given to us from someone who bought them at Tractor Supply. They were all clearly mixed breed, and they lay brown eggs. Some people say the white are Leghorn, but they do not look anything like Leghorns (too fat and calm) and they lay light-brown eggs. The red might be some hybrid like Red Star or Golden Comet. She also lays brown eggs, and they are a bit bigger. Between the 3 we get 1 egg nearly every day, so none are super-prolific layers.
I found this forum while looking for information on Dorking chickens. We have only an acre, and our fenced-in area is much smaller, so we are limited in what we can do. I doubt I could manage more than 15 chickens right now. But we want to fence in another portion of our yard and then help out with the breeding efforts of the Dorking. We are passionate about the need to retain foundation genetics, whether in livestock or plants, and we love everything about the Silver Gray Dorking. So hopefully a small breeding flock will be in our future, if we can find some local people to partner with.
We just aren't sure if we are going to purchase Australorps or Dorkings for our flock in the interim, because we could use the eggs to sell at market if we got Australorps, and the broodiness of the Dorkings might be too much to deal with until we actually do the planned breeding.