The Dorking is a breed of chicken that is believed to have originated in Italy during the period of the Roman Empire under the reign of Julius Caesar. They believed it was the purist breed as it had 5 claws. It was introduced to Great Britain where much of its development took place. It appeared in the very first British poultry show in 1845. It has always been prized for its white flesh and its eating qualities.
The Dorking is a hardy bird and is quiet in nature. They are large foraging birds that require space as they are very active. They can become weedy if not given enough space. They are kept for both their eggs and meat and make good show birds. Their egg laying tends to be in the early part of the year. The eggs are of a good size and are white. The Dorking can take up to two years to mature and can live for up to seven years. This is a docile bird to keep. To keep them at a good weight and size they do need to be given a good quality feed. They can become very broody.
There are five standard colours for the Dorking - Silver grey, dark, red, cuckoo and white. The silver grey is the most commonly found. The silver grey hen is a delicate shade of silver grey, with darker grey pencilling. The dark is a darker version of the silver grey all but a black crescent on the salmon breast and back. The red is very dark. The white is pure white with no straw tinge. The cuckoo has fuzzy bands of grey and dark grey across each feather. All colours have red eyes, combs, wattles and earlobes with white legs and feet.
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