Minorca chicken

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Other names
  • Catalan: Gallina de Menorca
  • Spanish: Menorquina
  • Minorka
Country of originSpain
  • Male:
    Minorca, measured: 2.834 kg[1]
    UK Standard: 3.20–3.60 kg
    UK bantam: 960 g[2]
  • Female:
    Minorca, measured: 2.210 kg[1]
    UK Standard: 2.70–3.60 kg
    UK bantam: 850 g[2]
Egg colorwhite[3]
Comb typesingle; rose
ABAsingle comb, clean legged
rose comb, clean legged
PCGBsoft feather: light[6]
Black Minorca cock and white Minorca hen, illustration from the Geflügel-Album of Jean Bungartz, 1885

The Minorca, Catalan: Gallina de Menorca, Spanish: Menorquina, is a breed of domestic chicken originating in the Mediterranean island of Menorca, in the Balearic Islands to the south-east of Spain. It is a well-known exhibition bird in many countries of the world, but in the island of Menorca is an endangered breed and considered to be at risk of extinction.


The international type of Minorca was created by the British from indigenous Menorcan birds. This process began during the British occupation of the island from 1708 to 1783, but It is not clear if it took place there or in Britain. It is likely that it began in Menorca and continued in Britain, where imports of chickens from Menorca in the 1780s are documented.[7]: 662  By about 100 years later, the breed (which was considered a variety of the "Spanish") was common and long-established in Devon and Cornwall, in the south-west of England, where it was highly regarded as an egg-laying breed. It had been exhibited in Paris, under the name "Barbezieux",[8] and was widespread in the world.[7]: 662  It reached Germany in the late 1870s,[9] and was added to the Standard of Perfection of the American Poultry Association in 1888.[4]

Various attempts were made to modify some of the physical characteristics of the breed, including body size (by cross-breeding with the Langshan), the size of the comb and earlobes, and the position of the neck.[7]: 662  None of these attempts had any beneficial effect on its abilities as an egg-layer.[10]

Until recently the Minorca was uncommon in its island of origin. In 2004 a project to assess the numbers and quality of the remaining stock in the farms and country houses of the island was completed at the Centre de Capacitació i Experiències Agràries de Mao,[7]: 663  the agricultural college of Mahón, and the results published in 2006.[1] A breeding flock selected for quality and consisting of 30 cocks and 150 hens was established at the college, and 600 birds distributed to local breeders.[7]: 663 

In 2012 a programme of conservation and improvement of the Minorca breed was approved, to be managed by the Associació de Gallines Menorquines, the association of breeders of the chicken in Menorca island. [11]

The Minorca is listed by the Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente, the Spanish ministry of agriculture, among the indigenous breeds at risk of extinction. The population in Spain at the end of 2012 was 460 birds; all were in the Balearic Islands.[12]


In Spain, the Minorca is a breed of medium size, with uniformly glossy greenish-black plumage. Cocks weigh about 2.8 kg and hens about 2.2 kg.[7]: 662  The back is sloping and the tail almost horizontal. The comb, face and wattles are bright red. The comb is smooth and single, with six well-defined points; it is erect in cocks, but in hens falls to one side. The wattles are large, smooth and fine-textured. The earlobes are white, very large, and oval or almond-shaped. The skin is white and the legs black or dark slate-coloured.[3][13]

The British Poultry Standards call for a higher weight, in the range 2.70–3.60 kg for both cocks and hens.[2] In the United Kingdom blue and white colour varieties of the Minorca are recognised,[2] and in some other countries there are buff and barred varieties.[5] Rose-combed variants are recognised in several countries, not including Spain. There is also a Minorca bantam, which in some countries may also be rose-combed.[5]


The Minorca is often kept as an ornamental breed. As a farm bird, it is an egg-laying breed. Hens start laying early, at about 26 weeks, and give about 120 white eggs per year.[7]: 662  Eggs weigh more than 65 g from the 57th week of the life of the hen.[7]: 662 


  1. ^ a b c D. Villalba, A. Francesch, A. Pons, J. Bustamante, M. Espadas, V.Y. Santonja, D. Cubiló (2006). Caracterització productiva de la gallina Menorca (in Catalan). Informació tècnica: Centre de Capacitació i Experiències Agràries de Maó (Menorca) 55 (March 2006).
  2. ^ a b c d Victoria Roberts (2008). British poultry standards: complete specifications and judging points of all standardized breeds and varieties of poultry as compiled by the specialist breed clubs and recognised by the Poultry Club of Great Britain. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 9781405156424. p. 177–80.
  3. ^ a b Races autòctones de les Illes Balears: Gallina de Menorca: Caràcters generals (in Catalan). Govern de les Illes Balears. Accessed September 2014.
  4. ^ a b APA Recognized Breeds and Varieties: As of January 1, 2012. American Poultry Association. Archived 4 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Liste des races et variétés homologuée dans les pays EE (28.04.2013). Entente Européenne d’Aviculture et de Cuniculture. Archived 16 June 2013.
  6. ^ Breed Classification. Poultry Club of Great Britain. Archived 12 June 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Miguel Fernández Rodríguez, Mariano Gómez Fernández, Juan Vicente Delgado Bermejo, Silvia Adán Belmonte, Miguel Jiménez Cabras (eds.) (2009). Guía de campo de las razas autóctonas españolas (in Spanish). Madrid: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino. ISBN 9788449109461. p. 661–663.
  8. ^ William Bernhard Tegetmeier, Harrison Weir (illustrator) (1873). The Poultry Book: comprising the breeding and management of profitable and ornamental poultry, their qualities and characteristics; to which is added "The Standard of Excellence in Exhibition Birds," authorized by the Poultry Club. New edition, greatly enlarged. London; New York: George Routledge and Sons.
  9. ^ Rassetafeln: Minorka (in German). Bund Deutscher Rassegeflügelzüchter. Accessed September 2014.
  10. ^ Chickens. Poultry Club of Great Britain. Archived 9 November 2018.
  11. ^ Programa de conservación y mejora de la raza gallina Menorquina (in Catalan). Departamento responsable del subprograma de genética avícola del IRTA, 2012. Accessed September 2014.
  12. ^ Raza aviar MENORQUINA: Datos Censales (in Spanish). Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente. Accessed September 2014.
  13. ^ Raza aviar MENORQUINA: Datos Morfológicos (in Spanish). Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente. Accessed September 2014.