Minorca Chicken Breed

Minorca chickens are slender-built, Spanish chickens that originated in the Mediterranean…

History

Minorca chickens originated in a small island off the coast of Spain. This small island is known as the island of Minorca. The Island of Minorca is where the Minorca chicken breed got its’ name.

Minorca Breed Temperament

Minorcas are very intelligent and curious in nature. They are also lively and somewhat easily spooked. However, they are very outgoing and, when handled and treated well, are very friendly. Minorca hens are generally very docile/submissive. For this reason, when they are placed in mixed flocks with bigger chicken breeds, they can get bullied and over-stressed.

Physical Characteristics

    Minorca’s are clean legged (which means they have no feathers on their feet). They also have white skin and ear-lobes. Minorca’s also come in  either of two different comb variations: Rose comb or single comb.

Color Variations:

Though the most common colors are buff and black, Minorca’s come in other colors. Legally recognized Rose comb varieties are: Black and white. Legally recognized Single comb varieties are: Buff, Black and white. I was blessed with the anility to obtain 3 single-combed black Minorca hens (Hosanna, Abijah and Yerah). I had a rescue Buff Minorca that passed away but because of my experience with her, I fell in love the breed. 🙂

Weight:

Minorca chickens are fairly petite in build. Interestingly, the APA weight standard is not the same for all color variations. According to the APA (American Standard of  Perfection), Black, Single comb Minorca roosters weigh 9 pounds and Black, Single comb hens weigh 7-1/2 pounds. All other color variations are ~8 pounds (cocks) and 6-1/2 pounds (hens). None of my hens (even though they are very healthy and productive) have ever been as big as standard though!

Activity Level

Minorcas are also very avid foragers and tend to be very busy. They also have strong instinct as far as predators are concerned and have excellent peripheral observation. Because of these traits, they are excellent free range chickens. However, Minorcas generally do not bear confinement well. The breed does best with a source of occupation. Grass clippings and/or scratch blocks work well. Minorcas are intelligent and have amazing aerial capabilities. Thus, they are superb escape artists. For this reason, pens need to be secure!

Productivity

   Minorcas are fair layers. They lay medium-large white eggs. Minorcas lay ~150-200 eggs per year. Like most egg-layer breeds, they are generally not very broody.

Hardiness

Minorcas are very heat hardy but they dislike cold. For this reason, they do best in warm weather. Notwithstanding, they are fairly hardy. My Minorcas have all done fine in below freezing temperature. However, Minorcas often have large single combs. For this reason, I advise rubbing some oil or grease (coconut oil works well) or petroleum jelly on their combs at night when it gets below freezing.

Obtainability

The Minorca is not a very easily obtainable chicken breed. In fact, it is considered rare. You are not likely going to find them available in springtime at the local farm/feed store (unlike Rhode Island Reds, Barred Plymouth Rocks and Orpingtons). However some select colors can be ordered from hatcheries online.

Above (Left-to-right): A Partridge Welsummer hen, 2 Black Australorp hens & a Buff Minorca hen

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