- Breed Purpose:
- Egg Layer
- Climate Tolerance:
- Egg Productivity:
- Egg Size:
- Egg Color:
- Breed Temperament:
- Friendly, Do not bear confinement well, Flighty, Shy, Docile
- Breed Colors/Varieties:
- Single Combed and Rose Combed. Colors include: Black, Blue, Barred, Buff, White.
- Breed Size:
- Large Fowl
- APA/ABA Class:
The largest of the Mediterranean breeds, Minorca, aka Moorish Fowl are most excellent layers of large white eggs. They are extremely heat tolerant, very good foragers and free rangers, all together a very tough and hardy breed. They are quite active and very good flyers, though they generally do well in confinement and are still used in commercial egg production in some parts of the world. The large carcass size makes for a decent table bird, though the meat is reported to be dry and usually “larded” aka stuffed with lard, before cooking.
Named for the Island of Minorca, off the Spanish coast in the Mediterranean, in the past birds of this type were commonly found in the Castile regions north of Madrid. The exact origins of the breed are shrouded in history, but one tradition has them coming to Spain from Africa with the Moors, another tradition has them coming from Italy with the Romans. They were found in England as early as the 1780’s and the British developed them as an international breed and show bird, they were imported into the US in 1884.
Originally with large white ear lobes and a very large single comb, the rose comb variety was developed around 1900 in the US. They usually are found in four main colors, Black, Blue, White and Buff, though breeders are working on other project colors. They are quite popular as exhibition birds today.
Admitted into the APA starting in 1888.
On the Livestock Conservancy’s Watch list.
For more information on this breed and their owners' and breeders' experiences with them, see our breed discussion here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/chicken-breed-focus-minorca.1133349/
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Recent User Reviews
"I love my Minorca"
Pros - Gentle, sweet and excellent egg layer
Cons - A bit shy
I ended up with mine accidentally. She's a black Minorca, I had no idea what she was until I did some research. She was a rescue, abandoned by previous owners. She apparently wasn't handled much before I got her so she is shy, but she has come a long way since then. She lays the hugest white eggs I've ever seen and quite reliably. I don't know how old she is but I've had her for 2.5 years and she still lays almost daily in the summer and spring. She is so gentle and sweet as well and has a beautiful green sheen to her feathers. She also makes the cutest little cooing sounds, leading me to believe that this breed is rather quiet. She never causes a rucuss. She's been through a lot, a dog bit her back and took a chunk out. We kept her in our kitchen while we nursed her back to health and she allowed us to, and was so patient. If the other Minorcas are like this, there needs to be more!
Pros - Good Mama Hen
Not an escape artist
Cons - Kind of skittish
Our Buff Minorca is such a good chicken! She lays some decent sized white eggs and is a sweet chicken (once you catch her that is). She was prone to broodiness so we finally got some eggs from some friends and let her hatch them out. She hatched 3 out of 5 (one was infertile and the other got crushed by another hen, so not her fault). She was a great mother!! She would have given her life for those chicks!
Whether she is skittish or doesn't lay well, she made up for it in being an surrogate mother.
Pros - sometimes really freindly but depends on how much you handle it, gorgous birds, amazing for showing
Cons - not good for meat use, sometimes very flighty and skittish
my one black Minorca named destiny is very friendly and actually comes up to me they are to young to take to show but look amazing I wish I got them sooner, and when I did get them it was the first time I heard of that breed but glad I did. my other buff Minorca named goldilocks is actually very flighty and very skittish but the difference was I held the black one more then the buff one as a chick so make sure if you get them that you hold it a lot.