The Silver Dorking is thought to be one of the oldest breeds of chickens, and originated in Italy during the period of the Roman Empire during the reign of Julius Caesar and was introduced to Britain by the Romans.
A pure bred Silver Dorking should have five toes and lay WHITE eggs, I have often seem adverts for ‘pure blue egg’ laying Silver Dorkings but this is not the case and these will be cross breeds. I keep the Silver Gray Dorking which is the most common found dorking but a few other colours exist.
Silver Dorkings are very sweet natured and quite birds and I have read (although I can’t find where it was now) that they lay approx. 150 eggs per year and are a ‘dual-purpose’ breed as they are also reach a good weight for meat.
Dorkings are listed as ‘At Risk’ by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. I currently have a pair of Silver Dorkings (and some eggs in the incubator!) living in their own pen so as I can breed from them.
I’ve kept quail on and off since I was about 12, when I was younger I was never keen on chickens or ducks but did like collecting eggs, and I love the amazing noises quail make.
I was first introduced to them by my mum, who kept them when I was much younger and we use to use the eggs for things like mini scots eggs for picnics and days out. Quail eggs are very like hen eggs, but maybe a little ‘lighter’ especially when pickled, just much smaller. It takes about six quail eggs to make up one hen egg, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it. Quail are ideal for people who maybe don’t have enough room for hens but would like to produce their own eggs, and it’s surprising how quickly just two hen eggs a day build up if there aren’t many of you in a family.
Over the years I have mainly kept quail for eggs, and currently have a mix of Japanese and Coturnix birds. I have also occasionallykept painted quail. I keep my quail outside during the summer and indoors during the winter, this means I get a supply of eggs all year round.
This year I am planning to build up my stock of birds and try a few more breeds.
For anyone who is interested in possibly starting to breed their own quail I have written a hatching and rearing guide, costing £2 plus P&P (unless sent by email), if you are interested in a copy please email me firstname.lastname@example.org