The Minorca is a good layer and is known for producing very large white eggs. As with other Mediterranean breeds the Minorca is active, robust and hardy and prefers free range conditions. The large fowl is a non- sitter but the bantam sits. Fertility is very good with hatch rates of 90%. Problems like deformities are very rare, as are diseases. The Minorca is not prone to any of the common poultry disorders. The Minorca is not an accepted flier although they are able to flutter over a low fence. Young birds need to be restrained by a 6 foot fence. They are generally easy to keep.
- The native breed of the island of Minorca was known as the Red-faced Black Spanish.
- First imported birds were reported in 1781 when a British ship captured a Spanish merchant ship, although they were probably the Castillian breed from which the Minorca was developed.
- By the early 1900s the breed was so popular as a prolific layer of large white eggs and a top exhibition bird that no fewer than ten Minorca clubs existed; the first was formed in 1883.
- Like many breeds, the war and the introduction of the hybrid layer saw the Minorca struggle to maintain its position.
- As the breed became less popular as a layer, it became more popular as a show bird. It appears that exhibitors started paying more attention to enhancing the headgear of the bird. Breeders became obsessed with comb and lobe size and focussed on these aspects to the exclusion of most other aspects including utility.
- The Minorca is the largest of the Mediterranean light breeds.
- The comb is upright on the male and falling over to one side on the female.
- Black is the main colour but blue and white varieties can also be seen. The blue and whites are quite rare, particularly the bantams.
Did you know?
Males have a large upright single comb. On females, the comb should fall to one side which is known as folded comb. In cold weather, these are susceptible to frostbite so should be covered with Vaseline.
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