Claremont Cottage

perfectly situated in the heart of Dorking

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The Dorking Cockerel

This ancient breed was brought to England by the Romans. It is a heavy bird with a large, square frame, single or rose comb, and fifth toe. The American Poultry Association recognizes Silver-Gray, Colored, Red, and White Dorkings. The British also recognize a Cuckoo variety

The Dorking is a breed of bird that is believed to have originated in Italy during the period of the Roman Empire and was introduced in Britain at the time of the Roman conquest making it one of the oldest English breeds.



One of the earliest known mentions of the Dorking was by the Roman agricultural writer Columella during the reign of Julius Caesar. In his text, Rei rusticae libri, he described the breed as, "square-framed, large and broad-breasted, with big heads and small upright combs...the purest breed being five-clawed". Pliny also described a similar bird with an odd number of toes in his Naturalis Historia. Although Caesar noted that poultry was already raised in Britain prior to his invasions in 5554 BC, the Red Dorking is believed to have been introduced in Great Britain by the Romans at an early date where much of its development continued to take place.


They appeared in the first British poultry show in 1845, together with the Sussex breed, which is believed to be derived from the Dorking. The birds are named after the market town of Dorking in Surrey which in the nineteenth century became one of the main centres of production.


They were admitted into the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection in 1874.



The Dorking has a rectangular body with very short, five-toed legs. Due to its relatively large comb it generally requires protection in cold weather.  Dorkings are also well known for their versatility as a breed for both egg and meat production. It is one of the few breeds with red earlobes that produces a white-shelled egg. The skin colour beneath the feathers is white. The standard weight is 9 pounds for a cock, 8 pounds for a cockerel, 7 pounds for a hen, and 6 pounds for a pullet. Furthermore, the breed is very docile. The bird has five recognized varieties: White, Silver-grey, Red, Dark and Cuckoo


They are noted for being exceptionally broody at times, refusing to lay and preferring to sit on eggs to incubate them.


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