Chickens are said to be the gateway animal into the farming/homesteading lifestyle. We started with ducks, but chickens weren’t far behind. Once you have them, it’s hard to imagine life without them. Momma is definitely the matriarch of our flock, she’s the boss and everyone knows it. I wanted to shine the spotlight on Momma because of her age, breed and contribution to our homestead.
Momma is a Silver Dorking hen who is approximately 7 years old now. She, along with another Dorking hen and Rooster were the first chickens we had on our place. Momma holds a special place on our homestead and in our hearts. Almost all of our chickens over the past 5 years are related to her in some way.
The Dorking is a heritage dual purpose breed, known to be good mothers. Momma has proven this to be true, she is an excellent example of her breed. We have had her for at least 5 years, when she came to us she was approximately 2 years old. This makes her about 7 and she’s still going strong. Most people will tell you once a chicken is over 2 years of age they have passed their prime. This may be true for some, but not Momma. When she came home she was laying an egg a day throughout the year.
Not only has she continued to produce quality eggs daily (she takes a 2 month break during the winter months), she is an excellent mother. Consistently raising two clutches a year, she has an amazing hatch rate of about 90% (100% the past two years).
If you are thinking of adding chickens to your backyard, farm or homestead I encourage you to research heritage breeds. Not only will you be helping to preserve the breed but most are extremely hardy and self sufficient.
Our beautiful Momma owes us nothing, and will live out the rest of her life in the comfort of her coop.