Damascus, OR

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The Dorking chicken excels as a quality meat producer. They have a tender, fine-textured, flavorful meat with ample portions in the breast, wing and wishbone area. Queen Victoria preferred the Dorking over any other breed of table fowl. In fact, when it comes to quality and flavor of meat, the Dorking chicken has few rivals. 

In 2009, The Livestock Conservancy Chefs Collaborative held a chicken tasting event- a blind taste test of the top chicken breeds. Tasters judged each sample’s flavor, texture and appearance. Of course, Dorking chicken was the overall favorite!

These chickens are short but heavy.  Cocks average 10 lbs and hens 8 lbs when allowed to fully mature.  Although cocks have been known to reach 12 lbs. in weight and hens 9 lbs, but such instances are not common.  Suggested butcher at 12-22 weeks.  At 12 weeks they are the size of a rotisserie chicken 2.5 lbs.  By 18-22 weeks you have a very large but tender chicken to quarter or breast out.

In my personal experience you cannot compare the Dorking meat to any other heritage breed.  It may rival the Cornish X in tenderness and the skin is not thick but thin and crispy when cooked.  However unlike the Cornish X these chickens are self-sustainable when kept in a flock.  They forage and behave like chickens should.  They also eat less processed feed than other heritage breeds.  In my own pens I have mixed breeds in one and the same amount of Dorkings in the other. I go through half the feed in the Dorking pen as I do the Layers.  Both pens receive the same amount of free-range forage time.  I've also heard that the amount of feed a Dorking consumes as it reaches 16-20 weeks of age, is relative to the amount of feed the Cornish X consumes in 8-10 weeks!  I'd love to see some research in this area.