|DOMINIQUE LAYING PULLETS|
The Dominique chicken is recognized as America’s first chicken breed. The exact origin of the breed is unknown, although their initial
creation may have involved European chicken breeds and later in its refinement, some Asian varieties. The name of “Dominique” may have come from birds
that were imported from the French colony of Saint-Domingue (today known as Haiti) and which are thought to have been used as part of the development
of the Dominique breed.
Barred chickens with both rose combs and single combs were somewhat common in the eastern United States as early as 1750. As interest in poultry breeding
increased, attention was given to develop uniformity in chicken breeds. Early names of these fowl include Blue Spotted Hen, Old Grey Hen, Dominico, Dominic,
and Dominicker. The breed was widely known on the eastern coast of the U.S. as the Dominique.
The Dominique is a medium-sized black and white barred (otherwise known as “cuckoo” patterned) bird. The barred plumage coloration is also referred to as
hawk-colored and serves the Dominique in making the bird less conspicuous to predators. The Dominique sports a rose comb with a short upward curving spike
that is characteristic to this breed. The males average seven pounds and the females five pounds. The Dominique’s tightly arranged plumage, combined with
the low profile of the rose comb, make this breed more resistant to frostbite than many other breeds of fowl. Dominiques are also known to adapt well to hot
and humid climates. Historically the close feathering of this breed not only protected the birds in cold weather, but provided ample material for the pillows
and featherbeds of their owners.
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
For years, I raised Rhode Island Red laying hens and very much liked the breed. However, purchasing new stock every couple of years was
relatively expensive and I set about finding a method to reproduce my own laying hens. Unfortunately, my wife and I do not much care for eating
young RI Red roosters and I never acquired the skill to vent sex day-old chicks... too many rooster to raise for too long.
For one batch, I raised a small number Rhode Island Whites in order to hatch Gold Sex-links. I liked the Gold Sex-links but not the Rhode Island
Whites. The Whites found their way into my son's flock.
For two years, my Gold Sex-links served as the back-bone of my laying flock. Their egg production and feed conversion rates were excellent, and they
laid a good quality egg. Unfortunately, they proved to be poor free ranging hens with egg production dropping off significantly when allowed free access
to my garden plot. Additionally, Gold Sex-links are not known as long-term layers. Egg size increases dramatically after their first year but thier
rate of lay also decreases even more dramatically.
In 2014, I decided to raise Dominique hens. They are an old, relatively rare breed that is known to be excellent free rangers. Considering that we are moving
our operation to the country, free ranging is considered a highly desirable quality, and they are less likely to become prey to the local wildlife because of
their barred pattern. Dominiques, although not known for a high lay rate, should prove to be good layers for several years and they are also auto-sexing
– you can differentiate male and female day-old chicks.
Fertile Dominique hatching eggs are usually available during non-peak hatching months, June through January, and are sold in lots of one dozen. They may also be available, from time-to-time, during January-May abut will incur an additional premium. At this time, we do not ship eggs. For
information on hatching eggs click here to see our Incubation Guide.
The eggs we sell are the same eggs we hatch and are collected and stored in the same manner as the eggs we hatch. However, because of the complex
factors involved in artificial incubation, we make no guarantee of fertility or hatchability. Because the Dominique chicken is a rare breed that
remains in the Watch category, their eggs can be expected to hatch at a much lower rate than more popular heritage breeds.