- 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/
Recent User Reviews
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.
Pros - independent, cockerels are non-aggressive to us and the other chickens
Cons - pullets are very shy and skittish
This is a preliminary review as I haven't had these chickens all that long. They have not begun laying, although I did have a Buff Minorca pullet a few years ago who laid very well.
The cockerels are a bit skittish of us, and the pullets very skittish. The pullets tend to be near the bottom of the pecking order in my flock. The cockerels are getting along with each other as they were raised together.
The pullets are starting to become friendlier to me now that they are approaching the POL (point of lay). They are a bit chatty now and do come up to me sometimes.
I love this breed and have decided to make it my primary breed, with the others in the flock as extras.
Some people say that you can mix them with the Black Minorca and then breed back to Buff over several years in order to build the size up on the Buff Minorcas. The Buff Minorcas do tend to weigh less than the Blacks right now here in America I have read.
I have never had a Black Minorca so cannot say if they are similar in temperament.
My Buff Minorcas stay inside their large fenced area as they prefer the security. They can fly quite well though, and my original pullet from years ago did fly out of the pen as she had no buddies in the flock- she was a loner. Now that I have a group of Minorcas they do like to stay inside the pen and have actually never flown out. Mine came from McMurray. Sandhill has these also and I have not ordered from them but may someday. I think Ideal has them as well.