Dorking (chicken)

Dorking Hahn.JPG
A Silver Grey Dorking rooster.
Other names Silver Grey Dorking.
Country of origin Italy
APA Continental
ABA Single Comb and Clean Legged
Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus)

The Dorking is a breed of chicken that is believed to have originated in Italy during the period of the Roman Empire and was introduced in Britain at the time of the Roman conquest making it one of the oldest English breeds.[1]



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.[2][3]

They appeared in the first British poultry show in 1845, together with the Sussex breed, which is believed to be derived from the Dorking.[4] The birds are named after the market town of Dorking in Surrey which in the nineteenth century became one of the main centres of production.

They were admitted in to the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection in 1874.


The Dorking has a rectangular body with very short, five-toed legs. Due to its relatively large comb it generally requires protection in cold weather. Dorkings are also well known for their versatility as a breed for both egg and meat production. It is one of the few breeds with red earlobes that produces a white-shelled egg. The skin colour beneath the feathers is white. The standard weight is 9 pounds for a cock, 8 pounds for a cockerel, 7 pounds for a hen, and 6 pounds for a pullet. Furthermore, the breed is very docile. The bird has five recognized varieties: White, Silver-grey, Red, Dark and Cuckoo.(1)

They are noted for being exceptionally broody at times in entire flocks refusing to lay and preferring to sit on eggs to incubate them.

Approximate Weight

Cock 4.6 - 6.4 kg
Hen 3.6 - 4.6 kg
Bantam Variety Dorking
Rooster 1.1 - 1.4 kg
Hen 0.9 - 1.1 kg



  1. ^ Hobson, Jeremy & Lewis, Celia. Choosing & Raising Chickens: The complete guide to breeds and welfare. David and Charles publishing. London. 2009
  2. ^ Lewer 1927
  3. ^ Dohner 2001
  4. ^ Crawford 1990, p. 1033–1034


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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