Monday, 14 August 2017

A Useless Cock


Everyone who comes to look at the birds here always says how beautiful they think this Red Dorking cock is. Unfortunately, his beauty is only skin deep, at least from a breed conservation perspective. In his first breeding season in 2015 he was put with a Silver Dorking hen (the breed standard is identical apart from the colour controlled by a locus on the X-chromosome, and I predicted correctly from theoretical genetics that this would make red pullets and a 'gold' intermediate heterozygote cockerel form). Out of all the eggs, only three hatched, to produce two red pullets and a 'gold' cockerel. As Sod's Law decreed, the cockerel was dead one morning for no discernible reason before he was old enough to breed, and since this time the original cock has failed to sire any chicks.

A week ago I gathered up all the Dorking eggs laid recently and put them in the incubator, hoping there might be a couple fertilised and that I might get a cock to replace him. But the eggs are now devoid of signs of life. Nothing.

Red Dorkings are very rare and I was on a waiting list for 2 years to get hold of the eggs I got this cock and three hens from. I am going to have to see about buying in some Silver Dorking eggs to get a cock to breed to the hens before they get too old. Meanwhile, if anyone would like a very rare but equally useless male chicken as such as a pet, please get in touch.

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