Bred animal myself
Pennsylvania, United States
Posted Sep 25, 2013
There was a period for about three years, that I raised Red Dorkings. I considered the breed to be at its best, when assessed for their meat quality. These birds are without a doubt, one of the best tasting quality meats, I have ever eaten. I am yet to raise another fowl within twenty years, that had the taste and texture of a quality Dorking.
The birds develope rather normally for heritage meat, fowl. Which, means they are best butchered around six or more months of age. The hens also start laying around the same time, and are decent layers of medium sized cream eggs. The girls often go broody in the spring and summer, and make excellent mothers.
Personality wise, the hens tend to be timid and easily bullied. If I didn't provide my flock with a calm environment, they usually where flighty and seriously underweight from the SOP. If kept properly, they where happier, friendlier, and much heavier birds.
The roosters are wild men, that will seriously bounce off the walls if their coop is to small. I had to separate them from the poor pullets, because they simply couldn't handle the stress. I never got attacked by one of these boys though, and I certainly raised a fair number of them.
The chicks are total bullies and where awful feather peckers. This was the reason I actually parted with the breed. They literally wanted to "eat" chicken. So, I separated them from my other breeds, used red lights, but it still didn't put an end to the issue. So, I gave up on my Dorkings.
I really didn't have any health issues with my birds. Fertility often was very heavily influenced by the weather. I hatched best in mid spring, but before and after hatch rates where depressing.
I do want to say, that Dorkings are a challenge to find and purchase. Many people feel they have no choice, but to order chicks form McMurry or Sandhill. Which, is fine! But, if you want a meatier, heritage bloodline, get on a small farmer’s waiting list. They are hidden, but there are still some Dorking breeders out there.