rare, heritage breed.
The exact origin of the American Dominique chicken
is not known, but they came from European chicken breeds and later in its refinement,
some Asian breeds. They were probably brought from southern England to New England
in Colonial times.
The name "Dominique" probably came from birds imported
from the French colony of Saint-Domingue (Haiti). Early names of these poultry
include Blue Spotted Hen, Old Grey Hen, Pilgrim Fowl, Dominico, Dominic, Dom,
Dominecker and Dominicker.
Dominique fowl was common on American farms
as early as the 1820s, where they were kept as a dual-purpose (egg and meat) chicken.
They were popular all during the 1800s and found throughout the United States.
In 1871 the New York Poultry Society decided that only rose combed Dominiques
would be the breed standard. The single combed Dominiques were folded into the
barred Plymouth Rock breed- a larger breed common in New England which were created
by crossing large, single comb Dominiques with Java chickens. In 1874 the Dominique
breed was officially admitted to the American Poultry Association's Standard of
The above photo is Dominique chickens, Banty chickens, and
Extinct by 1970
The Dominique was popular until the 1920s but then interest decreased. The breed
survived during the Great Depression of the 1930s because it was hardy and easy
to keep. It was a great survival chicken.
By the end of World War II in
1945, as the large-scale poultry industry began to increase, the Dominique again
declined. Small mom and pop farms decreased as food commercialization increased.
By 1970 there were only four known flocks owned by: Henry Miller, Edward
Uber, Robert Henderson, and Carl Gallaher. According to reports by the American
Livestock Breeds Conservancy, from 1983 until 2006 Dominiques steadily increased
As of 2007, they were once again beginning to decline. However,
populations may increase as more and more people become interested in self-sufficient
living and the preservation of heritage poultry.
They are categorized as
"Watch" on the Conservation Priority List of the American
Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
The photo to the right is
some Dominique hens enjoying a dust bath they created.
Dominique chicken is a medium-sized black and white barred "cuckoo" patterned
bird. The pattern is called barring or hawk coloring. It makes the Dominique less
visible to predators.
Dominique fowl have a rose comb with a short upward
curving spike. Plymouth Rock or Barred Rock chickens look similar to Dominiques.
One difference is that Barred Rocks have a single comb. Dominique have staggered
barring whereas Barred Rocks have crisp, parallel barring. Dominque colors are
almost white and almost black whereas Barred Rocks are pure white and black.
Dominique's tightly arranged feathers keep the birds warm in winter and provide
plenty of feathers for pillows and featherbeds. Dominiques carry their heads high
up on well-arched necks. Their body is broad and full with long and full tail
feathers that are held the highest of the American breeds. Their legs are yellow.
The roosters average 7 pounds, and the hens 5 to 5.5 pounds. Roosters are
lighter in color than hens. There is also a Bantam version of this breed.
: "Calm and
Self Reliant Chickens", "Broodiness in Hens", and "Good for Meat, Eggs and Feathers".
photo to the right is a Dominique cockerel a few months old on the roof of his
This is a Dominique
pullet about 6 months old in comfrey
and stinging nettle. Another hen is behind her. All farm animals love comfrey.|
and the next photo are Dominique pullets about 3 months old. |
is a wild photo of Dominique hens dust bathing together. There are 6 hens in there!
is a chart of the relative egg production of a hen over 10 years.|
year is considered to be 100% and then each year thereafter the percent goes down.
The first few years hens are very good layers.
I have an 8-year-old Brabanter
hen named "Friendly" who I keep as a pet with the rest of my chickens. She lays
about 5-6 eggs a year, all in the spring. Usually hens live to be about 8-15 years.
Though I heard about one hen who was 17 years old.
|Here is a picture of "Friendly" the Brabanter hen. She is broody. Those are Dominqiue chicks with her that she hatched. She decided to sit on the eggs of other hens. Friendly and her chicks are happy together. She is a very good mother.|