Standard Varieties of Chickens:


This variety of fowls belongs to the Mediterranean class, and they are placed next to the Leghorns in laying qualities. They are in appearance very similar to the Leghorn. Their general outline is, in fact, that of the latter, but of more length of body and heavier in mold. Indeed, they are the only variety of the Mediterranean class that has a given weight, which approaches that of the Wyandotte, being only one-half pound lighter than the last named. The origin of the Minorca, like that of so many others of our profitable poultry, is much in doubt. Some are of the opinion that they originally came from Minorca, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, one of the Balearic Isles, while others contend they are a variety of the Black Spanish. Be that as it may, they are one of the most profitable breeds of poultry for the farm that is known.

For table purposes they are good, the flesh being white, or light colored, and fine grained. Their chief property is their egg production. They are nonsitters, and year-around layers. As winter layers they are exceptionally good when kept under fairly favorable circumstances. While the Leghorn surpasses them in the number of eggs laid, the Minorca's eggs are larger and equal the output in bulk. Their eggs are white, and average eight to the pound. They lay from twelve to fifteen dozen a year. For farm purposes they are especially profitable. Being of an active, restless disposition they keep in splendid condition and make good foragers. For suburban poultry keeping they are very practical birds, and net good results to the keeper. They are hardy, easily raised, and mature quickly.

FIG. 24. - Black Minorca cockerel.

The Minorca fowl is large in outline, well bodied, stands well up on its legs, broad chest, and a long, flat back, with tail carried upright. Many breeders dispute as to the carriage of the tail. The standard says "upright," while the preference is almost universally made by breeders that is should be carried "well back." The upright position gives the tail the Leghorn type (see fig. 17), while the typical Minorca differs somewhat from it by being more horizontal, as shown in fig. 24. The body of the Minorca male is long, square in front, tapering from front to rear. When standing erect the body of male is at an angle of nearly forty-five degrees. Thighs are stout; shanks, medium in length, stout in bone, and in color dark slate or nearly black; comb, single, large, perfectly straight and upright, evenly serrated, and extending well over back of head. The comb of the Minorca is larger and more bulky than that of the Leghorn. Wattles are thin and pendulous, corresponding with size of comb; earlobes, pure white. The female is in body of the same general appearance as the male, rather long, broad, and deep. Her comb is single, large, and drooping to one side; like comb of male, her comb is perceptibly larger than that of the Leghorn female. Black Minorcas are in plumage a rich, glossy black throughout, and gray tips are considered serious defects. The White Minorca is as popular as the Black, and takes the same position as does the White Leghorn in its class. The standard qualifications are equal for the two except in color, and that must be pure white throughout, feathers other than white in plumage disqualifying; the other qualities are equal as to profitableness between the two varieties. The comb, face, and wattles are bright red, free from white in face; eyes are dark hazel or red.

Before concluding Minorcas it is worthy of note that the latest acquisition to the Minorca class is the Rose-comb Black Minorca. The only objection that has ever been raised against the varieties of Mediterranean class is their susceptibility to frostbite of the comb. Their combs are so large that continued cold or exposure is sure to result in this complaint. To obviate this one defect, if it may be so termed, in this valuable class of birds, has actuated breeders in making a bird that possesses the other qualifications, but with low rose combs. There are two varieties of Rose-comb Leghorns - the Black and the White, and the Rose-comb Black Minorca. The latter is not a standard variety as yet, but indications point to their admission as such in the near future. Many good specimens have been bred and exhibited at the recent shows, and success in making this new fowl seems assured. The head of Rose-comb Black Minorca male should be medium in length; beak, stout and black; eyes, dark red; face, smooth and red; comb, rose, straight, and set close and even on the head. In size the comb should be between that of the Wyandotte and the Leghorn; wattles, medium in length and not so large as in single-comb variety; earlobes, pure white, large smooth, and almond-shaped. The head of female is similar to that of the male - medium in size; face, red; comb, small and even on the head; wattles, medium in size, thin, and bright red; earlobes, pure white, large, and even.

The standard weight of a Minorca cock is 8 pounds (3.6 kg); hen, 6 pounds (2.9 kg); cockerel, 6 pounds (2.9 kg); and pullet, 5 pounds (2.5 kg).


The following images come from the Oklahoma State University Department of Animal Science's Poultry Breeds pages. The Minorca page contains further information about this breed's history and more images of these fowl. Clicking on each image takes you to the page specifically about that particular variety.

Single-Comb Black Minorca Rose-Comb White Minorca

Image Credits (from left to right): Copyright © 1996, Oklahoma State University Board of Regents; Copyright © 1996, Oklahoma State University Board of Regents

Please note: These links point to pages that are being served off of the Oklahoma State University's web server, which is not part of the Chickscope project. Because of this, the pages may be missing or corrupted, and control of this is generally out of the hands of the Chickscope development team.

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