Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Dorkings sounds like a name someone might have called my group of friends in high school, but it's actually a rare breed of chicken used for both egg laying and meat.  In a previous post I covered the difference between a 'meat bird' and a heritage breed chicken and my want to start a backyard flock of 'table birds' - birds that will eventually end up at 'freezer camp.'

I chose Dorkings because of their supposed ability to forage and tolerance of cold weather, the fact that they make great mothers, their gourmet meat quality and also because the color of their eggs are white which is different from the eggs that I will get from my mixed backyard flock I currently have; they lay brown or blue/green eggs. 

So Fluffy!!!
About 2 months ago I contacted a woman online who said she had some Dorking chicks for sale. Apparently these aren't the kind you impulse buy from the metal bins at Tractor Supply during your college days and then wonder what the hell you're gonna do with 3 baby chickens in a dorm room. This is a rare breed and you need to order well in advance of a hatching or know someone who is willing to part with a few of theirs. This woman happened to place her order with the Sandhill Preservation Center way back in January and decided she didn't need the birds after all and therefore was willing to part with the entire order. She reserved 10 'colored' Dorkings from the May hatch. Apparently these birds are hard to predict and didn't decide to put out enough baby chicks until mid July. Even then, they did not have enough of the 'colored' variety and instead supplemented her order with about 8 'black' and 4 'silver greys' in addition to 7 'coloreds' they were able to hatch. I met up with her on her farm and she gave me the grand tour. She has some really beautiful birds and I definitely appreciated all the info shared. I went to the farm with the intention of getting 10 birds. I left with 19. Yikes. I tried my best to avoid the look I could feel my hubby giving me as soon as we got into the car. I had to talk him into getting the 10, how was I supposed to explain leaving with 19? I sounded like I had a speech impairment when I started explaining "I..uhh... errr.. well, you know... she... then... I don't know... cuteness.....they're so fluffy!!!" I guess that explanation worked cause he didn't question too much after. We ended up getting about $120 worth of baby chicks for $40 after a soap trade, so I think it was a good decision.

Dorking chicks - Colored, Silver Grey and Black

So here we are again. After thinking I would never raise chickens in the house again I have 19 of them in a large dog cage in my entrance way. And I'm back to Google Sketch-up for an easy chicken coop plan that hopefully costs a lot less money this time around.

As an update to our current flock; The Bishop Don Juan, our only rooster, has been pretty rough on his ladies these days and I think will be attending freezer camp soon. I just need to decide if I have the courage enough to do 'the deed' myself. I'm laughing as I picture myself, 9 months pregnant right now, like a crazy woman, slaughtering a chicken in my back yard. Maybe I'll save some dignity and just Craigslist him.

The Bishop Don Juan

Don our 'Easter Egger' Rooster and his flock


Elizabeth said...

Oh my, that is one gorgeous roo! How old are your layers? There are some pretty fantastic tutorials on "doing the deed" yourself out there. I am addicted to the BYC website myself (if you haven't checked it out already, don't say I didn't tell you it was addicting!). And it sounds like you have fallen victim to "chicken math" as well. You could try to reassure your hubby that you will likely lose a couple of those 19 chicks, so it all works out in the end. LOL

Admin said...

Oh yeh, I love BYC! So much good info on there and all of the users are really helpful and friendly.

I keep reminding hubby of the delicious dinners to come and it seems to pacify him ;) So far the new baby chicks are a joy to have - lil fluffy butts looks so cute scratchin' around!

becky3086 said...

I have wanted some dorkings for a long time. I will be watching to see how these do for you.

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