I am firmly in the camp that we should establish the Erminette as a breed. I believe this represents the best opportunity to preserve these genetics for future generations. In my opinion, just breeding for color patterns, allows these genetics to be spread thin – as they were once – and risk their disappearance. It seems that breeders focusing on the color rather than type, is what took the Erminette to the brink of extinction in the first place.
At the same time, once we establish a breed and decent numbers, anyone can then transport the color pattern to other breeds and play as they wish.
Based upon what we have available to us today, I believe we should pattern our “breed” after the single comb, yellow legged, Rock type birds Hutt studied in the 1940’s.
Unless there is a strong group preference to another course of action, I plan to breed to the Hutt type. I currently have two breeding pens and will begin some test hatching. I have some appropriately marked pullets - four, and one hen. My best cockerels are marked blue. I have also kept some all-white birds. My test hatching will determine the most color-productive combinations. I will breed towards yellow legs whenever there is an option. I plan to hatch 200+ chicks this spring. It is my hope that this will yield some decent specimens, with the idea of finding enough quality breeders to begin to make some progress setting color and type.
I echo Anthea's comment regarding productivity. that will be in the forefront of my program. They must be productive to be sustainable. My group last year laid extremely well, this year's pullets are starting a little more slowly.
I am in complete agreement with you Matt on setting the Erminette up as a breed and working towards "Hutt's type".