Dorkings

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White Dorking
White Dorking

Contents

History

This English bird is one which may be considered an ideal bird for general purposes. It is a hardy fowl and can stand almost any amount of cold weather, providing the ground is not damp. This is proved by the fact that they do well in the northern part of Scotland and in the extreme north of Ireland, among the Cumberland Hills, and in other places equally as cold and exposed. This should be remembered by those who contemplate raising them, that the soil must not be damp if success is expected with them. The Dorking is one of the oldest of domestic fowls, if not the oldest. There are no definite records to show when it first lived in England, or whence it came, but the supposition is that it was carried to England by the Romans, who evidently possessed fowls of similar characteristics.Roman authors such as Pliny, Columella and Varro describe Dorkings and Archaeological studies on the Thames, and in the Lake District back this up.Bonnington Moubray in his book "Practical Treatise on Domestic Poultry" ,1824 describes it in great detail. He also referred to it as the Darking.The name Dorking was given to the breed in 1863. The first Dorkings brought into the United States were introduced in about the year 1840, by Hon. L. F. Allen, of Black Rock, New York. The chief distinctive mark of the breed is the presence of a fifth or supernumerary toe, springing behind, a little above the foot and below the spur. It has been sought by various writers to deprive Dorking of the honor of being the original and principal rearing place of this justly celebrated variety, and it is asserted that the true Dorking fowls are raised at Horsham, Cuckfield, and other places in the Weald of Surrey, and that the ancient and superior white fowls from Dorking are a degenerated race compared with the improved Sussex breed. The feature in which this bird is most popular is its table qualities. The flesh is white and very delicate in texture. It is claimed by many to equal if not excel the French varieties. The broad, deep and projecting breast of the Dorking admirably fits it for table purposes, and in the respect it is conceded by some the rival of the Indian Games. As layers the Dorkings are good, and are careful sitters and attentive mothers. They are splendid fowls for the farm and are profitable for practical purposes.

There are three varieties of Dorkings - the White, Silver Gray, and Colored. The White Dorking is really the purest blooded of the three, as for years this was the only variety which produced invariably the fifth toe, although the Colored and Silver Gray varieties seldom fail to breed this peculiarity.It was suggested that the colored varieties where created by crossing the White with other large colored fowl. In color the White Dorking is of clear, unblemished, glossy white. The comb and wattles are a bright-scarlet red; the legs are either white or a delicate flesh color.At one time there was also a Red Dorking, but this was described as been almost extinct in 1904

Silver Gray Dorkings are beautiful in plumage. The head of the cock is silvery white; hackle, pure silvery white, as free from stripes as possible; comb, face, earlobes, and wattles, bright red; beak, horn or white; eye, orange; breast, thigh, and underparts, black; back, shoulder coverts, saddle and wing bow, pure silvery white; coverts, greenish black; primaries, black, edged with white; secondaries, part of outer web forming wing bay, white; remainder of feathers forming wing butt black; tail, greenish glossy black; legs, feet, and toe nails, white. The eye, beak, comb, face, wattles, legs, feet, and toe nails of the hen are the same as in the cock; head, silvery white, with slight, gray markings; hackle, silvery white, clearly striped with black; breast, rich robin red or salmon red, shading off to gray in the lower parts; back, shoulder coverts, saddle, wing bow, and wing coverts, bright silver gray, with minute pencilings of darker gray on each feather, the shafts of the feathers white; primaries, gray or black; secondaries, gray; tail, gray, of a darker shade than body; quill feathers, black.

Coloured or Dark Dorkings

In both sexes

Comb, face, and wattles: Red. White earlobes are objectionable.

Eye: Orange or bright red in both sexes, the latter preferred.

Beak: Dark horn Shanks and feet: Pure white.

In the cock

Hackle: White or straw colour,striped with black.

Saddle hackle:Similar.

Back:Various shades of black and white, sometimes mixed with maroon.

Wing-bow:white, sometimes mixed with black or grey.

Breast and under parts:Jet black.

Tail:Black.

In the Hen

Hackle:Pale straw ,stripped with black,usually of a much darker shade than the cock.

Breast: A salmon red colour, each feather tipped a very dark grey.Rest of body a rich dark brown, the shaft of each feather being a dull white , and each feather being slightly paler on the edges ,except on the wings , where the centre of the feather is a bownish-grey with a thick black lacing.

The Wing: should be free from a red tinge.

The tail coverts: Black or copper colour.

Colored Dorkings differ from others only in color, the general color of male being black and straw color, and the female is marked with black and mixed gray, with breast of dark salmon edged with black. The combs of Dorkings differ in the three varieties; the White has a rose comb, Silver Grays have single combs, and Colored Dorkings may have either single or rose combs, but single is preferred.

The standard weights for Dorkings differ. The weights for Whites are: Cocks, 7 pounds (3.4 kg); hens, 6 pounds (2.7 kg); cockerels, 6 pounds (2.9 kg); and pullets, 5 pounds (2.3 kg). Silver Grays: Cocks, 8 pounds (3.6 kg); hens, 6 pounds (2.9 kg); cockerels, 7 pounds (3.2 kg); and pullets, 5 pounds (2.5 kg). Colored: Cocks, 9 pounds (4.1 kg); hens, 7 pounds (3.2 kg); cockerels, 8 pounds )3.6 kg); and pullets, 6 pounds (2.7 kg).


Breed Clubs

Dorking Breeders Club

L'Amicale des Dorkings de France

The Dorking Club Phone - 01943-872660

Dorking Klubben Phone - +4574590575


Sources

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