The Dorking Chicken is another chicken breed in a long line of chicken breeds to originate in the United Kingdom. Have you seen how amazing the Silver Gray Dorking looks?
On this page, we are going to introduce you to this absolutely stunning breed, as well as give you a few ideas on what it is like to be raising this type of chicken.
Dorking Chicken Facts at a Glance
|Eggs||150-180 per year|
|Egg Shell Color||White or tinted|
|Recognized Variety||Colored, |
|Use||Eggs + Meat (dual purpose breed)|
|Comb Type||Single or Rose comb|
|Weight||Male Standard: 10-14 lb (4.55-6.35 kg)|
Male Bantam: 40-48 oz (1130–1360 g)
Female Standard: 8-10 lb (3.6-4.55 kg)
Female Bantam: 32-40 oz (910–1130 g)
|Country of origin||England|
|Admitted to APA||1874|
Where Do They Come From?
As the name suggests, this chicken breed comes from Dorking in England. However, beyond this, we do not know much about the origins.
However, we do know that it is likely one of the oldest, if not the oldest, chicken breeds in the country.
Interestingly, there does seem to be a little bit of evidence that this chicken was either bred during the Roman era or, more likely, it comes from chickens that were brought over during the Roman era.
To be honest, it doesn’t matter all that much.
What matters is that this is a chicken that has been around for a very long time, and for good reason too.
The Amazing Look of the Dorking Chicken
One of the main reasons as to why we believe the chicken was brought over during the Roman era is due to a rather unique quirk in the look of the chicken.
Like chickens the Romans had, the Dorking Chicken actually has a fifth toe. Although, that toe serves no function at all. We have no idea if the fifth toe has ever served a function, we just know that the Dorking Chicken simply doesn’t use it.
It is just… there. It doesn’t even touch the floor when the chicken is walking. That is how useless that toe actually is.
The most interesting part is that, a total absence of the fifth toe means automatic disqualification of the fowl from a show. Keep this in mind if you want to raise this amazing fowl for showing.
This chicken has short legs. Very short legs. However, those short legs are supporting a rather large body. In fact, one look at this chicken breed will tell you that it is going to be fantastic as a meat chicken.
These are the APA’s recognized varieties of this chicken:
- Colored (single comb)
- Silver Gray Dorking chicken (single comb)
- White (rose comb)
Silver Gray Dorking Chicken
The silver gray Dorking chicken is the most common and the most famous variety of this breed.
According to the breed standards, the silver gray Dorking should have silver-white neck and saddle, free from straw tinge or any markings.
Under the wings the bird has lustrous black with green or blue gloss.
The silver gray Dorking has a primarily greenish black tail and a pinkish white beak.
Dorking Chicken Meat
Traditionally, the Dorking Chicken was mostly used for meat purposes. This is the reason why it was bred. However, unluckily for the chicken, commercial chicken farms have found a better breed to work with.
That is the good old Sussex chicken which, incidentally, comes from exactly the same area that the Dorking comes from.
This, sadly, has had the impact of making the Dorking incredibly rare chicken breed. The White Dorking chicken, for instance, is pretty much close to extinction. There really isn’t any demand for the breed any more from meat farmers.
That being said, if you have these as a backyard chicken, they are going to make a tremendous meat source. Having long and massive body they can weigh up to 14 pounds.
Obviously, we would always try and recommend that you get yourself a Sussex chicken if you can, but if you want something that is a bit more ornamental, while at the same time producing some fantastic meat, then the Dorking Chicken is going to be fantastic for you.
Dorking Chicken Eggs and Egg Laying
The number of eggs that the Dorking Chicken can pump out will average at about 160 per year. This may not actually seem like a lot, but if you have ever raised a larger chicken breed before, then you will know that the eggs are not really a focus for the breeds.
The Dorking chicken eggs are medium to large and they are white or tinted in color.
The larger chickens are mostly meat, and the breeders haven’t really focused on ensuring that the eggs that are produced come through regularly. So, it is a surprise to see that the Dorking Chicken is able to pump out so many eggs each and every year.
The real thrill of the Dorking Chicken is that it tends to work well during the winter months. Most other chicken breeds are going to really slow down their egg production when it gets a little bit cold, but the Dorking Chicken seems to be fairly consistent throughout the year.
As a Show Chicken
Nowadays, the Dorking Chicken is really not being used much in shows. This is, partly, due to the lower number of breeders that are producing this type of chicken. However, if you have a decent specimen, and you live in a fairly large area, there will always be a couple of shows each year to show off your Dorking chickens.
Of course, you do not have to send it off to shows. You can just admire the beauty of this chicken as it runs around. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why people buy the Dorking nowadays.
If you can get it in one of the more unique colors, then it is going to be an even better breed to own.
Is this breed for you?
Despite their size and being very active, these chickens are ridiculously friendly and docile. It is rare that you will get a ‘bad apple’ with this breed, to be honest.
The problem is that they do not get on with other breeds of chicken quite so much. The Dorking chickens allow other, tougher, chicken breeds to walk all over them.
You will likely find that your other chickens will bully your Dorking Chickens. So, either try to keep all Dorking Chickens, or opt for one of the various breeds that works well with the Dorking.
The Dorking Chicken has a single comb which means that it is not ideal to raise this breed in some of the colder temperatures.
It will be very uncomfortable for the chicken unless you are doing something to protect that comb. If you opt for a white Dorking Chicken, however, then this isn’t really going to be a problem. Since the white Dorking chicken has a rose comb.
This is a chicken that does need a lot of space to roam about with. In fact, this is a chicken breed that tends to work best when it is sent out there ‘free range’.
This actually works to your benefit anyway. If your chicken is wandering around ‘free range’, then it can pick up insects and things. This is important, because this is a larger chicken, which means that it is going to be eating a lot!