Apple pie, baseball, and Dominiques! As the oldest American breed, the Dominique holds a special place in the poultry fancy of this country. They are prized for their ability to forage, their egg-laying abilities, and their ease of keeping. Dominiques have a rose comb and are a cold hardy breed.
This breed is so old, that no one can really say where it came from or how it was developed. Many believe that Dominiques came to this continent with the pilgrims, and they are even sometimes called Pilgrim Fowl, but there is no documentation or proof that they did arrive with the pilgrims.
No one even knows why they are called Dominiques. There are many myths and half-truths and theories about this much-loved breed. What we do know for sure is that there have been Dominiques in this country for a very long time. The breed was a favorite with homesteaders because they are good foragers, good mothers, and generally easy to care for.
Dominiques survived the Great Depression, probably due to their self-sufficiency, but then began to decline in numbers. The development of the Plymouth Rock, and its rising popularity led many away from raising Dominiques. By the 1950s, they were very nearly extinct.
The efforts of dedicated breeders and a renewed interest in heritage breeds saved this iconic and distinctly American chicken. Today, there are healthy numbers of Dominiques, roaming around in small flocks and farmyards across the country!
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