Needing Dorking Information

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Omniskies, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. Omniskies

    Omniskies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey all, I recently joined the forum here and hope this is the first of many posts.

    We recently ordered some Silver Grey Dorkings from Ideal Hatchery and have devoured what little information we've been able to find on the internet and in books. So far most of what we've found has been contradictory. Dorkings lay well, Dorkings don't lay much at all, Dorkings are hardy, they die easily.

    Does anyone out there have Dorkings who could help out with all of this confusion? We would like to know if Dorkings scratch in the garden less than other chickens because of their short legs (something we read in a book). How many eggs do they lay on average, how broody are they, how hardy are they?

    Alright, so we want to know everything we possibly can about Dorkings [​IMG]. Anything is helpful so we know what we're getting into. We've fallen in love with what the breed looks like and would like to start a serious flock to improve and promote the breed.

    Any and all information, good and bad, is appreciated.

    Thanks in advance [​IMG]

    PS: If anyone knows of breeders or hatcheries besides Stromburgs, Sandhill Preservation, Ideal and McMurray who have Dorkings, especially different colors, I'd love to know about it for when we want to increase our flock size.
     
  2. lacyloo

    lacyloo Cooped Up

    May 26, 2007
    north florida
    they have 5 toes , thats all i know
     
  3. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    My wife and I are waiting on our first batch (comming from McMurrey), so we'd also like to hear some more.
    I do know there is a small family ranch in Montana that has some. here is a listing for the ranch http://ovabid.com/detail.asp?id=2733
    We
    chose dorks because their a heritage breed so their a good all around bird. Moderatly good layers, large size and cold hardy.
     
  4. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    BC, Washington Border
    I have bred them for years. They used to be used as a cross with cornish to produce meat birds. Their offspring is larger than either parent with this cross. They lost popularity after new strains where used for meat production that developed faster.

    They are very winter hardy and will lay over the winter. Dorking will burrow and dust bath as quickly as other breeds. The shorter stature doesn't slow them one bit.

    Considering you are getting them from a hatchery and they tend to breed out broodiness in favor of production they are less likely to brood than those from a quality heritage breeder. Expect a bird that will lay into their teens. They will not lay like a hybrid cross will, but will lay for years after the cross is burned out.

    Every rooster I have had is HIGHLY protective of his girls. Just something to look out for if housing with a flock of another breed that is more docile.
     
  5. Omniskies

    Omniskies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the information, Kstaven. So they are just as destructive in the garden as other breeds? We got our information from Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. In it under Dorkings it reads

    "This breed is known to be calm, docile, and quite adaptable to a variety of settings. Dorkings are good foragers but don't tend to scratch much, making them an ideal choice in a backyard setting. Hens readily go brroody (often all at the same time if given the chance) and are excellent mothers. They lay a fair amount of large, creamy white eggs."

    Because of this, we were hopeful that they were less interested in smiting gardens than other chicken breeds. Regardless, we would still like to raise them.

    Thanks for the warning about the rooster being protective. Do they tend to be hostile toward people when you get close to their hens? Are they more apt to defend a flock against a stray cat or hawk?

    In fact, since you raise them...do you mind if I pick your brain? [​IMG]

    On average, how many eggs do Dorkings lay per year? I've heard "a couple" on up to them being "very good" layers but I can't seem to find an average number.

    Do they have the same lethal leg gene as Scots Dumpies and Japanese Bantams?

    Are Dorkings good enough mothers to simply let them brood their own chicks rather than hatching them out in an incubator? We're wanting to try out actual broody hens. In the past we've always collected the eggs so we're still looking at the pros and cons of both.

    Are there any problems we have to look out for?

    I heard they like to roost in trees, that they're surprisingly good flyers _and_ that they need large, low-level perches to keep from having any foot or leg troubles. Which is true?

    I know I have other questions but at this hour my mind has drawn a blank. I'm in obsessive devour-information mode so anything is appreciated.

    Thanks again [​IMG]
     
  6. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

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    We're working towards adding more chicks to the gene-pool this summer. [​IMG] Kstaven, in your opinion, what would be the ideal number of ladies in a breeding pen with a rooster? We're planning on building a breeding coop in the next few months, and I'm toying with pen/run sizes and trying to figure out dimensions. We have 25 chicks coming in May, and have no idea how many hens and roos were going to have. I'm expecting the 50/50 ratio, but it will all depend on the run. I'm thinking 1 roo to 4-5 hens in a pen right now. That way I can manage the breeding a little easier. Does that sound about right?
    Thank you for your info!! Much appreciated![​IMG]
     
  7. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    BC, Washington Border
    My roosters have never been human aggressive but will defend against an animal or a stray rooster in a second.

    I would have to average Dorking hens in around the 200 per year mark for eggs.

    They do not have a lethal leg gene.

    Can't speak for hatchery stock on broodiness but good heritage lines are good little broodies and protective mothers. Just watch your hands when they do go broody or you will likely take a good nip.

    FLYING: If you are getting good heritage breeds they are like a basketballs with wings and do not gain altitude well. In a panic maybe they could do six feet. Many of the hatchery stock Dorkings I have seen are very lean in comparison and thus better flyers. My hens are averaging 8-9 lbs.

    I run 1 rooster to 8-12 hens and eggs are always fertile. 4-5 hens to a rooster may give you a bunch of bald hens.
     
  8. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    Mrs. AK-BB here...

    [​IMG] You mean baldness isn't a breed-trait? [​IMG]

    Thank you... I think my pens are big enough for at least 8 hens to a roo. That's a good number to start with.

    Can you point us in the direction of a good heritage breeder?
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2008
  9. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    BC, Washington Border
    I would start here for references in your area.

    The Dorking Club of North America
    Phillip Bartz 1269 Perbix Rd, Rt. 1 Chapin, IL 62628
    217-243-9229 e-mail: Rooster688@hotmail.com.
     
  10. PeterO

    PeterO New Egg

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    Just a comment on Dorkings.
    I find them very quick to settle and very quiet around people. My birds are not handled a lot but will sit quiet after a few strokes with the hand.
    Mine lay right through the winter and will produce more than 200 eggs. They even kept laying through the high temps of our summer, something all my other breeds struggled to do.
    Best of luck with your Dorkings
    Peter O
     

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