I am new to the Dorking Breed but have read so much about this ancient and noble breed. Actually I am still waiting for my shipment of chicks from Sand Hill Preservation Center.
Anyone have any advice about breeding Dorkings for a "newbee'? I am especially concerned about the dynamics of breeding different colors of the breed. Can reds, colored & silver dorkings be crossed or is it better to keep colors separate? I will probably have many more questions as I become more acquainted with the breed. Thanks for any help!
Post by jimahall-Hall Family Poultry on Jan 19, 2011 14:24:23 GMT -5
I would suggest keeping the varieties separate. They may be of the same breed, but the colors genetics are very different. Hopefully someone with more education on genetics than I can explain why you should not cross the varieties.
Thanks! I will probably see which color line fills out and "works" the best, then narrow it down to only one color. Are there any Dorking breeders on the "east coast" (north or south of NC)? If so, what colors do you raise?
Post by Yellow House Farm on Feb 2, 2011 18:32:48 GMT -5
Consider joining the Dorking Breeders Club.
Dorkings are a great chicken. They are very worthy of the farmstead.
As to your question, I think your hunch is right. I'd watch your birds develop and choose the best pair(s)/trio(s).
If possible, I sincerely recommend choosing one variety this first time around, preferably an Standardized variety. The whites, reds, and silver greys are the best to begin with, in my opinion. The coloreds are prone to high levels of variability.
Does anyone have a first hand opinion of the Silver Grays offered by Ideal Hatchery in Texas and/or the Silver Grays sold by McMurray's of Iowa? There is quite a price difference.
We have raised many dozens of SG cockerels for meat production from the two hatcheries.
Ideal's are truly sub-standard, by which I do not only mean that they are not show birds. They grow erratically, are undersized, type is truly inexistent, and overall size is both unpredictable and generally lacking. Moreover, their temperament is not to be believed. They're as flighty as a ticked off Ancona.
MMCM on the other hand are really quite good. General type is correct. Color is sound. They are healthy and grow out evenly and well. One negative point could be said that a minority of the cockerels were a bit tapered in the tail, but selection would stop this. Also, in some specimens, the stance could be wider.
As an aside, I couldn't help but notice how nicely the MMCM birds were growing out, especially considering their hatchery origins. At a certain point, I had Duane Urch on the phone. We discussing this or that, and MMCM came up. I explained the difference in the two hatcheries via my experience. He chuckled and said that MMCM refreshed their stock with his Dorkings--an a-ha moment.
Now, I've not had stock directly from Duane because we focus on the Whites, the other cockerels were brought in solely for meat production. Perhaps his direct stock is of even higher quality? Perhaps the MMCM stock is a diluted manifestation of Urch's stock?
Nevertheless, I think that a good start could be had from ordering 100 SG in from MMCM and then culling hard.
I had a person ask me about Dorking and where to get them a few weeks ago. I can say when it comes to Duane Urches stock most of his birds he breeds are above normal as Standard Breed Birds. I think if we took a bus load of people to his farm and looked at his whole set up we would come back impressed on maybe not the best birds in the world but when it comes to breeding the rarest of the breeds he has good bloodlines. I think this would go with his Black Javas that he has had for many years and would be a good place to get a start. He has very good Rhode Island Reds maybe his best is his Rose Combs.
Hope others will get into the rare old time breeds and then try to breed them to the standard over five years. It can be done if you know what you should be keeping to improve the breed.. Don't cross colors it will take you five years to get back to the normal every day strain that you started with. bob