Dorking Hens

Silver-grey Dorking hens

The Dorking is a rare breed, they are very docile birds and perfect free rangers, loving to forage, they are really friendly and follow me around the fields.

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Dillon our Dorking Dad

It is believed that the Dorking as a breed originated in Italy during the reign of Julius Caesar. The main distinctive feature is having five claws (as opposed to the normal four that other breeds have). They were introduced to Great Britain and first appeared in the first British poultry show in 1845. The birds are named after the market town of Dorking in Surrey which in the 19th century became one of the main centres of production. They have always been prized for their white flesh and eating qualities more than their medium size white eggs.

The cockerel is very impressive, both cocks and hens have lovely natures and they make excellent show birds. They are large foraging birds that require space as they are very active. They are really friendly, have real characters and follow me around looking for titbits. Doris is as bold as brass and will march across the field to where the sheep are snoozing under the beech tree and strut through them like she owns the field. Dillon and the gang follow bravely on but tend to skirt around the sheep and meet up with her on the other side of the tree.

Dorkings are very docile, very tame, they never peck at me when collecting eggs or moving them to a different nest box like some of my other hens do. They make excellent broody hens, waiting until all the eggs have hatched before leaving them. Some of my other hens give up once one or two eggs have hatched and the other eggs get cold.

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This picture shows Dilys with the first three chicks to hatch.

Dorkings are classed as a rare breed, further information can be found at