Minorca chickens are one of the oldest and popular chicken breeds since the 1800s. They are ancient chickens which are still raised by most of the chicken raisers in the United States.
The Minorca have a special appearance which makes them different from other chicken breeds. People use them for three major purposes, show, large size eggs, and hardiness.
In this breed guide, we have explained all about Minorca chickens like their history and origin, egg production, temperament, color, size, characteristics, facts and care guide.
History and Origin of Minorca Chickens
The real origin of Minorca chicken is still not known, but yes its traces are found in history from the last 1800-1830s.
As the name of this chicken breed came from Minorca Island, Spain, it is clear that its starting point is the Spanish area.
But few sources say that this chicken is first seen in Africa, then in Spain and at the end its development in England. It came to England because of Spanish prisoners who lived in England after they released from the prison.
In the early stage, the chicken was called Moorish fowl and named as Minorca when it reached the Mediterranean regions of Spain. Later, the chicken is crossed with popular Langshan and Orpington chickens.
There are lots of hybrid and new generation chicken breeds now available, so people are forgetting and very few peoples are raising Minorca chickens. In the United States now, the population of this chicken breed is about 100-200 only.
Recognized Varieties of Minorca Chickens
Minorca chickens have been an APA approved breed since the 1830s. The recognized varieties are :
- Single comb black.
- Single comb white
Other available varieties are :
- Rose comb black
- Rose comb White
- single Comb Bluff
Lifespan of Minorca Chicken
The Minorca chickens are hardy birds. They live a good life span of about 6-8 years on average. Minorca chickens can live more if they are raised with good quality feed, water and living space.
Minorca Chickens Temperament
If you are searching for an all-in-one quality breed of chicken, Minorcas are the best option. You may not find other colors of this chicken breed in your locality easily, but the black variety is common.
Minorca chickens are friendly and very alert. They love to live with people, but they do not come close because of their shy nature.
If you have children’s in your home, Minorcas are one of the best pet chickens to raise. They love to play with your kids and also learn commands if you teach them.
Due to their large body size, they are not afraid of other chickens and live happily in their territory. They love to fly and can fly up to 50-60 meters.
Egg Production of Minorca Hens
The Minorca hens rarely go broody. They start laying eggs from 26-28 weeks. Initially, they lay medium eggs but after this pullet life the size of the eggs increase from medium to large.
The Minorca chicken is not an excellent egg layer, but you will be happy with its egg quality. Minorca hens lay about 130 large eggs per year, but in some cases you can get 200-220 eggs per year.
The color of the Minorca chicken eggs is white. You may see some Minorca hens do not go broody, but mostly they love to sit on their eggs.
Not only this, they watch their eggs and take care of their baby chicks very well.
Color, Size, Appearance, and Characteristics
The Minorca chicken is seen in 3 popular colors that are black, white, and blue. They are also found in buff color, but that is rare.
Minorca chicken are available in both standard and bantam sizes. The standard size rooster weighs about 9 lbs and hens about 7.5 lbs.
While the bantam Minorca, roosters weigh about 2 lbs and hens about 1.75 lbs.
Minorca chickens have a unique and beautiful look. You can recognize Minorca flocks from far away. They are seen in black, buff, white, and blue colored plumage.
All Minorca chickens have large size single comb and wattles. You may see a few Minorcas with Rose combs.
The comb is reddish pink in color and the wattles are red. They have oval-shaped, unique looking large wattles.
In all color varieties of Minorca chickens, the skin color is white and legs are dark slate to black. They have four toes.
The feathers of both roosters and hens of Minorca chickens are black, blue and greenish shades. They are shiny and beautiful.
As a Mediterranean class chicken breed, Minorcas are heat tolerant breeds. They lay eggs every week but as they are not a cold hardy chicken fails to lay eggs in freezing climates.
They are good foragers, but easily tolerate confined and portable chicken coops. Minorca chickens love to free-range if you have a long yard.
As they are flighty and active chickens, you may need to build heighten fences if you want to release them in the backyard.
Minorca Rooster Vs Hen
If we compare the size of the Minorca rooster Vs hen, they look almost the same. They have a very little difference, about 1.5 Ibs after fully growing. The average weight of Minorca males is about 9 lbs, whereas the females weigh about 7.5 lbs.
The Minorca roosters have a large size single comb with six to seven points, while the hens have medium size single comb with five to six pointing combs.
Minorca chickens have beautiful feathers with black blue and greenish shin. The tail feathers are curved in roosters, while the hens have a short erected tail.
Females have the same color red wattles, but they are a little smaller than the rooster. The rooster alerts his flock mates while the hens take care of the baby chicks.
Most of the Minorca hens dislike going broody, but if they go, they happily sit on their eggs and make great mothers.
Both the rooster and hens of this breed are shy in nature, so they dislike strange people and pets. They do not come near unknown peoples and stay away from them.
Pros of Raising Minorca Chickens
Here are some advantages of keeping Minorca chickens:
1. Efficient white egg layers
Minorca hens lay about 120-200 white eggs per year, but the best part is that they lay large size, high-quality eggs. They are one of the best backyard chickens for those who need beautiful large size eggs per week.
As a heat tolerant chicken, they lay continuously during warm climates, and they also do excellent in cold climates.
2. Unique look
Minorca chickens have a unique appearance because of their large comb and extreme bright red wattles. You can recognize Minorca flocks from far away.
Keeping a unique variety of chicken and raising them is a wonderful experience for every chicken raiser.
3. Excellent foragers
The Minorca chicken love to free-rang in long yards. They are flying boys and girls, so giving them some space to enjoy is worth their living. They can fly up to 50-60 meters.
Minorcas are the best chicken for both rural and urban raising. Because of their quiet nature, you can raise them in urban areas. Both the rooster and hens of this breed make little noise.
Remember that they fly a lot, so you may need a cage or portable coop to raise in urban areas. Obviously, you would rather not see them destroying your neighbor’s garden.
5. Ornamental chicken
As it is an accepted variety of chicken by the American Poultry Association, you can take them to various chicken shows.
Their unique, beautiful appearance makes them a great ornamental chicken. Your relatives and neighbors will amaze with their awesome look.
6. Heat tolerant
The heat tolerant nature of the Minorcas make them easy to live in all types of climates all over the world. They are not cold Hardy chicken but can easily survive in frizzy temperature.
They love to live in warm climate areas. Minorca chickens can easily live in high temperature weather areas. They just require shades of trees to rest during foraging.
7. Friendly chickens
Minorca chickens are very friendly to their owners. They love to play with kids and chicken toys.
8. Very social
The Minorcas are very social birds as they make a lovely relationship with their owners. They mix with family peoples within a few days if adopted in adult age.
If you raise them from chicks, they will always trust you and never be shy. When it comes to unknown people, Minorca chickens always stay away from them.
Cons of Raising Minorca Chickens
Here are a few downsides of raising Minorca chickens:
1. Low-quality meat
The Minorca chicken meat is very dry and stringy, so most people do not recommend this breed for meat purposes. That’s why the main purpose of raising Minorcas is for ornamental and eggs.
In a few countries people are using the chicken for both meat and eggs, but compared to other chicken breeds the quality of meat is not up to the mark.
Minorcas are one of the popular flighty chickens. They can fly up to 50-60 meters, so do need long yards with heighten fences around your area.
So, their flighty nature may cause an issue if you are raising them in a small backyard. Either raise them confined or provide them long yards.
Do not release them in small areas because they may fly to your neighbor’s home, which may cause issues.
3. Slow growth
Most of the poultry raisers keep a specific breed of chicken to make some money with their eggs, meat by breeding them.
If you want to keep Minorcas to sell eggs and meat, it’s a bad option. It is because Minorca hens take about 26-28 weeks to start laying eggs, and roosters also grow very slow.
Moreover, most of the Minorcas lay under 150 eggs in a year and the meat quality is also bad. So, basically, it is a good show bird with average egg laying and meat quality.
FAQs on Minorca Chicken
What is Minorca chicken good for?
Minorca chickens are good for their large size white eggs, friendly nature, good foraging, heat tolerance, quietness, and unique look.
How long do Minorca chickens live?
Minorca is hardy to chickens. They can live up to 6-8 years and more if given correct feed and additional vitamin and minerals. Typically, the life expectancy of a chicken depends upon proper caring.
Summary (Is Minorca Chicken Good for Me?)
Overall, Minorca chicken is a good chicken for raising in long yards. If you have lots of space, they love to forage and fly.
Their large size white eggs are another reason to raise them. They have a remarkable bird look which will enhance your backyard look.
Moreover, they are very friendly and love to play with children’s, so they will become spectacular pet chickens. Their hardy and heat tolerance capacity make them easy to raise in all types of climates.
So, if you are ok with the above features of Minorca chickens, then they are good for your backyard.