Chicken Breed Focus - Dorking

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by sumi, Jun 25, 2015.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    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.


    Breed purpose: Meat, Dual Purpose,
    Comb Type: Single and Rose.
    Broodiness: Frequent, good mothers.
    Climate Tolerance: Cold hardy.
    Weight: Roosters 9lbs, hens 7lbs.
    Egg Productivity: Fair, good winter layers.
    Egg Size: Large.
    Egg Color: White/Tinted.

    Rooster, picture @pysankigirl

    Flock, picture @Yellow House Farm

    Dorking Chicks @Rockashelle

    Dorking Cockerel @ki4got

    Dorking Hen @ki4got

    Dorking Cockerel @Jwhip

    Dorking Flock @Yellow House Farm

    Dorking Pullet @Yellow House Farm


    The Dorking Cockerel Statue in Dorking, Surrey county on the Deepdene roundabout, England. Created by sculptor Peter Parkinson, the statue was unveiled in 2007, is about 10 feet high and weighs over a thousand pounds.

    BYC Breed review:

    General breed discussions & FAQ thread:

    Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the Standard of Perfection thread:

    As Meat Birds:

    Do you own Dorkings? Are you a Dorking breeder? If so, please reply to this thread with the your thoughts and experiences, including:

    · What made you decide to get this breed?
    · Do you own them for fun? Breeding? Some other purpose?
    · What are your favorite characteristics about this breed?
    · Post some pics of your birds; male/female, chicks, eggs, etc!
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    What gorgeous birds they are. Thank you for the informative information.

    Cool looking sculpture
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Very pretty breed!!

    But now I want a statue just like that one in MY yard!! [​IMG]

    Hope to see other Dorking owners post pics here! [​IMG]
  4. NeseO

    NeseO Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 15, 2014
    North California
    I have two of the white dorkings. They are beautiful. So far only one has attempted broodiness, but only lasted a day[​IMG].
  5. pipdzipdnreadytogo

    pipdzipdnreadytogo Dorking Queen Premium Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    My Coop
    I love, love, love my Dorkings! I got my two Silver Grays last year and they have already become my absolute favorite breed! :D

    To answer the first post questions:

    I got my Dorkings because I had heard good things about them and I've always loved the silver duckwing pattern on hens, so they seemed like a good breed to try out in my mixed flock. I own them for fun right now, but I do plan to build a barn and breeding pens in the future, and at least one of those breeding pens is reserved for Dorkings. :) My favorite characteristic about them is definitely their personalities! My Dorking gals are such snuggle bugs, super calm, never aggressive to the other birds, and so easygoing that even when they are broody, they never growl or peck at me. Mine are just over a year old and have also only attempted brooding, which they give up on rather quickly when moved to another pen to keep them off the nest.

    Elda is the cuddlier of the two and has cuddle-seeking senses. :lol: She's a bit on the quiet side by comparison to her sister.


    Kit's a bit more reserved when it comes to cuddles, but much more sociable and likes to carry on conversations with me. She's been a bit more prone to brooding as well.


    And the two of them as babies. :love Kit-kit is on the left and Elly is on the right:

    3 people like this.
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Their so pretty and love the baby pics.
  7. Talithahorse

    Talithahorse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2012
    Hartselle, Al
    I was looking for a good dual purpose breed that would be self sustainable, and would do well on the farm. I also was looking for a breed with a good history which also demonstrated a historical relevance. I was looking for a breed that was mostly present in the middle ages through the revolutionary war period. It had to still have most of the qualities that got it through history. I mostly raise them for my own enjoyment (eggs, meat, and thriftiness) but also wish to make some small contribution to keeping the breed alive and true to its foundation.

    Favorite characteristics:

    They are generally calm and gentle. (the ones I have anyway)
    They lay a decent amount of eggs (for my family)
    Seem to be willing and good parents (self sustainability)
    The Roosters are good protectors and do not seem to be overly aggressive.
    *Surprisingly to me, they are good about keeping themselves out of danger by climbing high into the rafters of the barn at night, staying near enough to cover to dash and hide and be alert to dangers. I could see how these helped them survive the ages.

    Oh and the meat is absolutely the best chicken I have ever tasted. (They do take a long time to reach prime processing weight but oh so worth the wait (unless your overhead is the most important part).

    1 person likes this.
  8. autumnhearth

    autumnhearth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2014
    Berea, Ohio
    The Dorking was actually my husband's breed pick last year. He had fallen in love with the picture of a Silver Fawn Dutch Bantam in a chicken book from the library. We didn't end up getting bantams but when he saw the Silver Grey Dorking in Meyer Hatchery's catalog he thought it looked similar and that was that for him, lol. I did research into each of the breeds we chose. We just have a small backyard flock of 7 hens right now and don't have any duplicates of any breeds yet, but when we get more land we definitely want more Dorkings. We like that their a historic breed, docile and plump. I like their low bodies and long tails.

    Victoria is 14 months old, lays a smallish white egg 3-4 times a week. She was the last of our hens to lay and took a couple months off laying during the winter when she went through a soft molt. She flirts with broodiness but has never committed, not that we want her to.

    8 days old

    16 weeks old, snuggled up in my lap

    24 weeks, look at that tail and the silver edge of her wing feathers

    26 weeks, keeping her sisters company while they lay. She was the last to mature.

    Her first egg

    Hiding in the corner of the coop

    November snow

    Dust bathing in May
    1 person likes this.
  9. ofeycat123

    ofeycat123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2015
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    1 person likes this.

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