Silver Grey Dorkings

A friend (in the blogosphere and hopefully that I will get to meet one day) Narf77 who blogs over at The Road to Serendipidy has asked me to post some pictures of our chickens. So, here goes. 🙂

We’ve chosen to go with silver grey Dorkings, a heritage dual purpose breed of chicken, raising them for meat and for eggs. Dorkings are one of the oldest known breeds of chicken. One of the earliest known mentions of the Dorking was by the Roman agricultural writer Columella during the reign of Julius Caesar. In his text, Rei rusticae libri, he described the breed as, “square-framed, large and broad-breasted, with big heads and small upright combs…the purest breed being five-clawed”. Pliny also described a similar bird with an odd number of toes in his Naturalis Historia. Although Caesar noted that poultry was already raised in Britain prior to his invasions in 55–54 BC, the Red Dorking is believed to have been introduced in Great Britain by the Romans at an early date where much of its development continued to take place. [Source Wikipedia]

This is a great page for photos of Dorking chickens with some fantastic pics of the silver grey Dorkings. These chickens are unusual in the sense that they have this extra toe (5 per foot), but apart from that they are pretty much the image of a classic chicken. The big chest, long drooping tail feathers on the roosters and they’re just so very roostery if you know what I mean. The girls are nice motherly looking hens and they are supposed to be good mothers too. They’re also white egg layers which I believe is unusual as it seems that depending on the colour of the earlobes, a hen will lay brown or white eggs. Dorkings have red earlobes but lay white eggs. Funky. 😛

They’ve a good reputation for tasty meat too and I am very much looking forward to tasting what chicken is supposed to taste like (as opposed to the fast growth hybrid birds we buy in the supermarkets these days that don’t have much flavour). They are a slower growing bird and a friend has assured me we will not see eggs 😦 nor hear any crowing 🙂 for 6 months which means they’re not viable for commercial growers who want fast returns for less feed. I don’t mind though. I like doing my part keeping a heritage breed and as they are considered good foraging birds and they will be free ranging too, they can eat our scraps, chase lizards and eat worms, all of which we have in abundance. Any roosters are on limited time though. Their first crow signals their final countdown (our neighbours won’t tolerate them crowing – full respect). I might be able to source some eggs if I have a broody hen and get her to hatch them for us too. How lovely will it be to watch and wait with the surrogate mumma hen and then hopefully watch the eggs hatching and then her teaching her babies how to be fine hens. I sure hope so. 🙂

A silver grey Dorking hen

Silver grey Dorking chicks. I think they are female as they have the brown head markings.

Dorking feet with that extra toe

A glorious silver grey Dorking rooster. Wish we could keep one

And here are some pictures of our little chicks at the moment.

They are peep peep peeping all the time and come running to whichever side of the pen we walk, although they’re still a little leery of the human hand. I’m very much looking forward to having their pen ready so they have more room to run.

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10 thoughts on “Silver Grey Dorkings

  1. The Eco Mum says:

    They are beeeooodiful birds! I love that you have gone with heritage breeds.
    We have 2 Ladies of Sussex (Sussex Hens) who are foraging around our big block and producing some lovely eggs for us with glorious buttery marigold yellow egg yolks. Delish!

    We might try a Dorking as we want to raise meat too.

    great post Ms Hippie! 😉

    Xxoo

    • Sussex are also great dual purpose birds and are, incidentally, related to Dorkings in more wasy than just being chickens. 🙂
      Dorkings do have some susceptibility to extreme cold and I know your neck of the woods does tend to some icy weather so if the Sussex are better suited to extreme weather, they may be a better bet.
      If you’re looking for meat birds, go with roos. You just need to be prepared to harvest when you hear them start to sing. 🙂

  2. narf77 says:

    So are wyandottes and they lay right through winter :). Maybe we can do an egg send interstate? I know that many Tasmanian chook collectors import from the mainland. The son and heir lives in Melbourne and we are yet to visit his hallowed inner city pad so we might be able to meet up some time soon as Steve and I NEED to go to the Victorian botanical garden…oh yes…AND we need to visit the son and heir 😉

    • And you NEED to visit me too! We’ll be 1 hour from Melbourne on the train once we move so no excuses.

      Wyandotes are also heritage (American) and you are sure doing your part with their population increase in your area of Tassie. 😉 I’m very keen to avoid any form of breeding change so it’s partly why I chose a Dorkings as one of the oldest known breeds. Being married to a Pom had nothing to do with it though. 😉

  3. Very pretty hens! My Plymouth Rocks are happy in cold weather, but I’m a bit worried that summer may be too much for them- they have a very thick plumage.

    • Plymouths are also heritage birds and they cope well in cold to freezing temps (my info comes from the Pickin Chicken app on my iPhone) but doesn’t mean they won’t cope. As long as they have shade and water. I’d keep an eye on them on stinking hot days though, as with any animal. 🙂 your birds and so pretty too though.

  4. narf77 says:

    I don’t know if you follow this blog post but thought that you might be interested in the content as its predominately about Silver Dorkings or is that dorklings? 😉
    http://www.yougrowgirl.com/2012/11/08/chickens-at-the-royal-agricultural-fair-2012/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+yougrowgirl+%28You+Grow+Girl%29

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