Silver Grey Dorkings
Listed as Threatened by the American Livestock Conservancy, the Dorking chicken is an ancient breed first developed as a land race in the area of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey counties in England. This area was famous for producing poultry of the highest quality for the table; the five-toed Dorking having been the most sought after of these chickens. It is the town of Dorking, once called Darking, for which the breed was named.
The origin of Dorking chickens is abit of a mystery. The Roman author, Columella wrote of five-toed fowls in Rome whose description fits Dorkings fairly well. Popular history is that the Romans brought five-toed fowls with them when they invaded in 43 A.D. Curious is the fact that these five-toed fowls were so respected by the Romans for their fine table qualities, but none are to be found in Italy. One could speculate that the Romans may have brought the five-toed Ardennes chickens from Belgium and that these formed the basis for the Dorking breed. We also know that prior to the Roman arrival in Britain, Phoenician traders were known to visit from the Mediterranean and exchange poultry for tin in Great Britain.
As a table fowl, the Dorking chicken has few peers and no superlatives. The flesh is tender and delicate. The chickens are well fleshed in the choicest sections: breast, merry thought (wishbone area), and wings. Early Dorking chicken breeders so valued the breed that it was only with great difficulty that any live chickens could be obtained at any price. At one time it was rumored that the town of Dorking had a lawagainst selling the chickens alive.
Though easily fattened for the pot, Dorking hens are excellent winter layers, and could be said to be very good layers except for their propensity to sit after laying 35-50 eggs. They are exemplary sitters and mothers; often staying with the chicks far longer than hens of other breeds. Dorking hens also tend to welcome chicks of other hens. Dorking pullets are slow to come into lay, but will be found to lay all through the winter – a time when eggs are harder to come by. The breed is not much inclined to wander far from home, though they are good foragers. They like to roost in trees when given a chance – something unexpected of a large chicken with short legs. Males weigh 9 lbs and females weigh 7 lbs.
Exactly when Dorking chickens arrived in America is a bit of a mystery. We do know they were well distributed here before 1840, and were even shown at the first poultry show in America in 1849. By 1904 they were the most popular breed in their native England.
OUR BREEDING PROGRAM
We took over a breeding program from an old-time breeder, who had been selecting for both conformation and production.
We're very pleased with the quality - with our breeding birds being exceptional. We have made good strides with regards to size, growth rate, and egg-laying. The girls, as should be typical, have layer well through out the winter! The breed still has a ways to go, but we've worked hard to make progress.
COOL CHICKS AVAILABLE!
Chicks are $7 each, straight run.
There is no minimum order for on-farm pick-up.
25 chick minimum order for mail shipment. Shipping and handling is $45.50 per 25 chicks.
Chicks hatch and are ready for pick-up/shipment on Monday afternoons.