Tips for Raising Dorking Chickens
Have you ever considered raising your own flock of chickens? It’s not as complicated as it seems. The hardest part is choosing a breed that fits in well with your overall goals. From the hundreds of different chicken breeds out there, you might want to consider raising Dorking chickens. Dorkings are low key, but they prefer open spaces and are not afraid to defend their territory. All chickens generally require the same amount care, but certain tweaks to housing and feeding can make a huge difference in how this breed responds.
The Ancient Breed
Dorking chickens are a type of heritage breed, which means they are distinguished by their country of origin. Dorkings can be traced back to the Roman Empire and were traditionally raised for their meat. They were introduced to Britain beginning around 43 A.D. where they quickly gained popularity.
Roosters can grow up to 10 to 14 pounds and hens to about eight to 10 pounds, making this one of the larger breeds worldwide. They are known for their short legs, five toes, single combs and red ear lobes. Six color varieties dominate this breed: silver, gray, white, red and cuckoo. Cuckoos are mostly gray and known for laying eggs in other birds’ nests. White Dorking chickens and red Dorkings tend to be popular among owners.
Hens favor foraging and provide white-colored eggs all year, even through the winter. Though the whole breed generally has a calm temperament, roosters can be quite hostile to intruders and go to great lengths to impress their beloved hens. Here are some important tips on raising Dorkings.
Give Them Their Space
The amount of space you need depends on how many chickens you have. Since these are larger birds, make sure each chicken has plenty of room to roam. Your local or state government might also have provisions on how much property you can allocate toward raising animals such as chickens and whether you are able to use any of the front lawn.
Clean Up the Droppings
Chicken droppings are an inevitable nuisance and must be maintained for the hygiene of the animals and your neighborhood. Straw is an effective and affordable material for bedding. Keep the straw bed about three or four inches deep and supplement with diatomaceous earth for odor control. Clean the bed weekly to minimize odors, bugs and critters. Add more bedding as needed, and replace the bedding monthly to keep hygiene and odors in check.
Another reality of raising Dorking chickens is that they can get sick. All chickens are susceptible to disease, so you might consider vaccinations or provide feed that contains medicines and immunity boosters. Be knowledgeable about current disease trends and prevention strategies, and protect yourself, your family, your pets and the neighborhood by maintaining a clean coop and caring for your animals.
Embrace the Experience
Raising Dorking chickens is a great option if you are looking for larger chickens with delicious meat. Always maintain proper feeding and cleaning habits to support your chickens’ livelihood and therefore your food source. It is wise to reach out to someone who has experience raising chickens to help you troubleshoot problems.