Dominique chicken is a good dual purpose breed to add on your backyard. It is believed to be the oldest chicken in the United States of America.
These chickens are adept foragers looking for their own seeds, weeds, grubs and tasty insects. They are said to be very hardy and will do well even during the cold winter months.
So, do you want to know more about Dominique chickens? This article indulges more about these Black and White chickens to help you know whether it is the right breed for you or not.
Dominique Chicken History
Dominique chickens trace their ancestry from the United States. Here, they are said to be the oldest breed native to the North America even before the Wyandotte chickens.
Others attribute its entry to the US with the colonists who originated from Southern England. Chickens similar to Dominique with single rose combs were known in many parts of Eastern US by 1750.
These chickens were commonly referred as the Pilgrim fowl because it is believed that the Pilgrims brought them.
However, other names like Dominico, Old Grey Hen, Pilgrim fowl, Blue spotted hen, Dominic and Dominicker were all branded to these chickens.
These chickens were loved by many because they were responsible for looking for their own food by free ranging.
Dominique chickens were easily confused with Plymouth Rocks because they have an almost feather pattern.
However, on a Poultry Show held in New York organizers ruled that only rose-combed barred birds could be exhibited as Dominique chickens.
They were able to survive the First World War until in the early 20th century when they were replaced by most commercial hens that were able to outlay them.
This led to serious decline in their numbers where they were listed as endangered. However there were efforts geared at breeding them and today, the Livestock Conservancy has listed them as watch.
Characteristics of Dominique Chicken
These chickens are medium in size with the roosters weighing 7lbs while the hens weigh about 5lbs. There are bantam Dominique chickens where males weighs 28oz and the females weigh 24oz.
They are characterized by a single rose comb with spikes that face backwards. The combs, wattles and earlobes are red in color.
Their beaks are short stout and strong with a yellow color. Eyes are orange while the body skin is yellow so are the legs.
Dominique chickens have clean legs and feet which have no feathers on them. On each foot, there are four well-spaced toes with a short claw on each toe.
Their tails are held at an angle of 45 degrees while their backs are concave shaped. The wings are wide and neatly folded close to the body surface.
Dominique chicken has more staggered barring or cuckoo patterned feathers which are also known as hawk feathers.
Temperament and Hardiness
Dominicker chickens are calm, sweet and gentle birds. They are cool and will not mind being held on your lap.
They are the type you would keep as chicken pets because of their friendly demeanor where even the Dominique roosters are not aggressive to their keepers.
Your Dominicker chicken will agree to eat from your hand and it will do a good job to help you bond with your girl.
Roosters will only become aggressive during the mating season. However, they will be good and calm to their keepers.
Dominicker chickens are very hardy and will do well in cold areas. Remember that they are an American breed developed in a cold climatic area.
They are excellent foragers and enjoy free ranging to collect tasty insects, insects and seeds. However, they will still tolerate and do well when raised in confinement.
The roosters are very predator savvy and will always be on the lookout just in case there are any chicken predators stalking on them.
Egg laying and Uses
Dominique hens will not start to lay their first until they are 5 to six months old. This is longer compared to most hybrid chickens like Red sexlink chickens that will lay at the age of four months old.
In a year, these chickens will supply you with a clutch of 230-270 eggs translating this to about 4 eggs per week.
Dominique chicken eggs are medium in size and have a brown egg shell color. The inside egg is white with a single yellow egg yolk.
These chickens are occasionally broody but make good mothers to their chicks when they sett and hatch the eggs.
Dominique baby chicks are auto sexing meaning that you can tell the hens vs roosters when these little critters hatch.
Boys will hatch with dark yellow orange legs while the girls have orange brownish legs. Females also hatch with more concentrated white spots on the head while the gent’s spots are more sparse and scattered.
Dominique chicken lifespan is about 5 to 8 years. However, because these chickens lay a large number of eggs, their bodies are exhausted within a short period and shorten their lifespan.
Male birds are likely going to live for longer if given a chance. As we know, most roosters will not be allowed to live with most ending up culled as chicks.
Chickens raised as pets are going to live for long because they receive good care, food and live in a decent manner.
Free ranging chickens will live for short periods of time compared to those raised in confinement. When roaming, chickens are faced by numerous threats like predation, lack of enough food and constant infestation by diseases.
Integrating Dominique Chickens
Because of the calm nature of these chickens, they rank low or at the middle of the pecking order. This makes them easily bullied by rowdy breeds like the Rhode Island Red chickens.
Take your pullets to the main coop where other chickens are at night and place them on the roost bars. When morning comes, all the chickens will find themselves together in the same run.
This will help minimize cases of bullying. However, closely monitor them to ensure that they are safe and if you see cases of harassment, isolate them.
Dominique chickens are strong, healthy and hardy birds. They have proven to withstand cold weather just like Orloff chicken roosters.
However, when taken to hot areas, these chickens will suffer a lot from heat stress. To keep them safe, provide them with enough shaded areas and provide them with plenty of cool drinking water.
Chicken lice will take advantage of their plumage. These parasites will damage the skin bruising it to suck blood from the host.
To control, them, add small amounts of diatomaceous earth powder in your chicken dirt bath. DE works by removing body oils and moisture from parasites to death.
Internal parasites like chicken worms are another serious threat. However, a chicken vet will offer advice on the right chicken wormer to administer.
Tips on raising Dominique chicken
These chickens require food for survival just like we do. Make sure they are eating a well-balanced course and at the right amounts.
All the food that you give to your chickens should be fresh and free from molds. Bad food is not good for their health and it may lead to ill health.
Laying hens will require a diet that is rich in calcium. This will help them produce eggs with healthy shells.
Without water your chickens will die of dehydration. Ensure your chicken waterers are full of clean drinking water every day.
Water helps in food digestion and ensures that all metabolic processes take place effectively. In addition to this, it helps cool down their bodies on hot summer days.
Shelter is one of the basic requirements for your chickens. A good chicken coop will protect your chickens from harsh elements and predators.
It is inside the coop that chickens will lay eggs and hatch their chicks. Make sure that your chicken coop has a warm and dry bedding material.
Final Thoughts on Dominique Chicken
Dominique chicken breed is a good dual purpose addition on your backyard. These chickens are excellent at free ranging helping bring down the cost of feeding them.
They are cold hardy and will tolerate cold weather unlike most chicken breeds that do not withstand such weather.
These feathered friends will keep your egg tray full of those brown eggs. Although they are not very broody, they make sweet mothers for their chicks.
They are calm, sweet and have a friendly demeanor making good chicken pets for your kids. However, the roosters can be aggressive especially during the mating season so, watch out!
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