American Dominiques can be a very challenging breed to work with. Not only is their body type very different from most of the American Class, but they also have a very hard color pattern to work with. This makes them a fun and challenging breed to any poultryman looking to not get bored too early in the game.
On the plus side, Dominiques are so easy to rehome (either to laying homes or to the freezer) that you can turn over your birds easily without feeling like you’ve lost much. In just a few short generations you can make remarkable improvement on your Dominiques if you cull hard and stick to the Standard.
This is something that has been bugging me and many other breeders about the current state of the American Dominique. The Dominique is NOT a Plymouth Rock, in any way shape or form, including weight. A larger bird may impress a judge, but his opinion is incorrect if he is placing a bird more than 20% above standard weight. There are Dominiques in the country that weigh in at 10lbs winning regularly! This is just not to Standard (7lbs cocks, 5lbs hens) and should be culled against. We weigh all our breeding birds and hope that all breeders will do the same to make sure we don’t have beautiful birds that must be culled for being far too large, or too small.
I am guilty of this. I like a slightly softer tail on the pullets but thankfully Rhonda is around to keep me in check. The Dominique’s tail and cushion should not in any way appear fluffy or overly soft.
This Schilling drawing is not just an artist’s representation but is considered the closest thing to a visual standard of perfection ever to exist for American Dominiques.
If we look at this hen, you can see that she is nice and tidily feathered. I wish we had birds with this close of feathering all the time – we have one cock bird and a few upcoming youngsters that may have it but we have too many birds with looser feathering and that is something we are culling against. Of course this is just a drawing – no bird on the planet has ever been exactly like this bird, no matter how beautiful she is and how much you wish you could you will never have this bird. However it is a goal to breed towards and to keep in your mind’s eye when you’re out in the hen house looking at your upcoming pullets think of this hen.
Can we please stop worrying about combs. How many times I have heard how great a bloodline is only to see that the combs really are beautiful, but the birds are long in the back or saddle or not upright in the chest. That is not a Dominique – that is a cuckoo, rose comb Plymouth Rock. 😦
Will add more to this page later.