- Breed Purpose:
- Dual Purpose
- Climate Tolerance:
- All Climates
- Egg Productivity:
- Egg Size:
- Egg Color:
- Breed Temperament:
- Friendly, Easily handled, Docile
- Breed Colors/Varieties:
- Silver-Gray, Cuckoo, Coloured, Red, White
- Breed Size:
- Large Fowl
- APA/ABA Class:
The Dorking is a very old English breed that has primarily been raised throughout its history as a table bird. The breed has two unusual distinguishing features, having an extra hind toe and rather short legs. The exact origins of Dorkings is shrouded in time, but table birds with five toes whose description fits the Dorking, were mentioned as far back as AD47 in Roman writings, and it is believed the Romans introduced the birds to England. It was a landrace from around the town of Dorking, England which was eventually developed into the breed that we know today.
The breed has a fairly calm, gentle temperament, the birds are good foragers and are not inclined to wander. Besides being considered one of the best table birds, and primarily bred for that, Dorking hens are good winter layers. The hens do go broody fairly often and make very good mothers and are often used to foster other chicks. Dorkings also have red earlobes, which is uncommon in layers of white eggs.
They come in a number of colors, including, White, Red, Cuckoo, Colored, and Silver Gray.
They were introduced into the US early on, exactly when is unknown, but they were shown in their first poultry show in 1849. Quite popular in their time, they were gradually replaced by the commercial hybrid meat birds, and they are a rather rare breed now. It was recognized by the APA in 1874 and is on The Livestock Conservancy's Threatened list.
For more information on Dorkings and their owners' and breeders' experiences with them, please see our breed discussion here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/chicken-breed-focus-dorking.994592/
Chicken Breed Info:
Breed Purpose: Dual Purpose
Climate Tolerance: All Climates
General Egg Info:
Egg Productivity: Medium
Egg Size: Large
Egg Color: White
Breed Colors / Varieties:
Silver-Gray Colored Red White
Even though above it says that dorkings are single-combed, the White variety has a rose comb. The Dorking has three unusual characteristics. They have five toes instead of the usual four, six points instead of the usual five, and they have hair feathers extending from their thighs. The Dorking also has a bantam counterpart. Dorkings are said to bear confinement well, but my hens prefer to free-range, and Dorkings love to forage. The Dorking is a dual-purpose breed, meaning they can be used for both meat and eggs. The Dorking has white skin, which is the popular color of skin for meat breeds in Europe, and the meat is exceptionally delicious! The Dorking is a beautiful, dignified, ancient part of our history, blessing us with their presence on our farm! The Dorking breed is in the English Class. The following weights are taken from the American Standard of Perfection: Standard Weights: Cock-9 lbs. Cockerel-8 lbs. Hen-7 lbs. Pullet-6 lbs. *Note* I am awaiting pics of Adolescent stage and chick stage Dorkings to put in those sections. Hope it's no problem!
Recent User Reviews
"I love them"
Pros - they go broody alot,fun to watch
Cons - none so far
i have 2 Dorkings I've read a lot about the breed they say that they go broody a lot which means you dont have to have an incubater to hatch chicks but i want to have that expereince of hatching little dorkings and watch them grow I love there extra toe and there short legs they say they lay a creamished colored legs not sure I've not had them long enough to know that I love that you can sex the chicks by color so far so good i just love them
"An ancient breed worth preserving"
Pros - Excellent meat quality, good setters, beautiful varieties to choose from
Cons - Slow to mature, very large breed, hard to find good breeding stock due to few devoted breeders
This is an ancient breed of chicken that was developed from birds believed to have been brought to Britain by the Romans. It is a true foundation breed with important influences in many of the other British, French and American breeds. IN Britain, the Dorking was prized their ample delicate light flesh and ease of breeding. They can be fully self-sustaining as they are vigorous breeders and setters. Hens lay large chalky white eggs. Their downfall is that they, like most heritage breeds, take a little longer to reach peak dressing weight and maturity. They also do not do well in over-crowded cooping and are at their best when free-ranging. The breed, as a whole, has been largely neglected in the US. Good, sound breeding stock can be very hard to come by. Luckily, there is a core group of dedicated breeders in the US and around the world that are determined to preserve this important breed and promote its use as a quality meat bird for niche markets and backyard flocks.