Image from Sun Bird Farms
The Dorking is a beautiful, yet uncommon breed. The name comes from a place (Dorking, England) and is not in the least sense implying that they have a low intelligence level. Dorkings did not originally come from England, in spite of the name; Their breeding lines go back much farther than that…
History of the Dorking Breed
There is some historical evidence to suggest that Dorkings actually originated in Italy during the time of the Roman Empire and that would place them among the oldest of breeds. The breed was introduced to England a few hundred years ago where they gained popularity, particularly in Dorking, the place they where named after.
Dorking Breed Characteristics
Dorkings lay about 140 eggs per year so they don’t lay exceptionally well. They are more known as meat birds for their exceptionaly flavored meat. However, Dorkings weigh 7-8 pounds (which is lighter than some broiler varieties) and they do not have a rapid maturation rate, they are not as profitable to keep for meat as many other breeds. Due largely to this factor, their popularity in the US meat industry has kept itself to minimum.
Dorkings come in several beautiful colors including red, silver (as pictured above) and white. Dorkings have the polydactyl gene, which means they have extra toes. (I go into a little more detail on polydactyly in my post on Silkies because that is another breed that carries the gene.)
Dorking Chicken Temperament
Dorking chickens are generally very docile, generally easy to handle and have a friendly disposition. These factors make them well suited for backyard chicken keeping, especially around children. However, they are not commonly available at local feed stores and usually have to be preordered.