Poultry Breeds

The Dominique

The Dominique chicken breed was brought to the United States from England during the early days of America’s colonisation. The black and white striped birds were widely distributed throughout the eastern parts of the States by the mid 1800s. Although the breed was common in England and popular with farmers and exhibitors it was never raised as a commercial enterprise.

In 1874, the American Poultry Association recognised the Dominique breed and it was admitted to the Standard of Perfection. In 1960, the Association recognised the bantam type and in 1973, the Dominique Club of America was formed and represents the interests of both the standard and bantam varieties.

Dominique ChickenCredit: http://commons.wikimedhttp://commons.wikimedia.ohttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DominiqueHenSweetie.JPG

As other breeds began to be raised commercially the Dominique fell from favour. It is now regarded as a rare breed in the US and is listed on the ‘watch’ list of the American Livestock Breed Conservancy.

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The Dominique is regarded as a dual purpose breed. It has a broad, full body. Cocks weigh around 7 pounds and hens about 5 pounds. They are considered a medium size chicken. Adult birds have black and white barring which gives them good camouflage against predators in a free range situation. The legs are yellow and unfeathered and they have a rose comb. In appearance, they are similar to the Barred Plymouth Rock and they have similar origins, however the Barred Rock has a single comb.

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The hens lay an acceptable number of brown eggs, averaging 230 a year or 3 or more each week. The hens will go broody and are attentive mothers. The baby chicks are black when hatched with yellow patches on the head, wings and underside. Like the Maran chicken, baby chicks can be sexed by the patch on the head. The patch on the pullets is more solid and compact than that on the head of the cockerels. In the Maran, the patch is white and larger on the cockerels. The legs of the Dominique pullets are darker than that of the cockerels.

This breed is an efficient forager and they also withstand the cold weather well. They are calm and don’t mind being confined. They also produce a good carcass as a table bird. They have heavy plumage and the feathers are used for stuffing mattresses and pillows. Dominiques mature early with most hens laying by six months of age.

Although now listed as rare, Dominiques can be found in small flocks throughout the United States.