Enjoyinging reading. We still are chicken-less. Changed mind on breeds and trying to decide--- have any of you had Dominiques? Trying to find about their temperament more. The thread doesn't say a lot but they are also hard to find. Then there are two checking on more to varying the flock... Trying to find if either are size of Domiques... One is Cream Brabanter but they seem too rare to find, the other is Cream Legbars.
Ah decisions. We have kids visit and they enjoy collecting eggs, holding chickens and learning about them. We are hoping for a calm breed too. We sell their eggs to help pay for their food too.
In the past we had different types....( barred rocks, ameraucanas, white leghorns, buff orpingtons... Are some) we wanted to try something different, not sure if we can get them.
I raised up a set of dominiques from Meyer Hatchery. They ended up being a bit smaller than the hatchery barred rocks but they took about a month to 6 weeks longer to get to the point of laying. I sold most right as soon as they got to the point of laying so the largest egg I saw was a pullet egg and it was a small to medium egg. I know a guy who just went on and on about how great the dominiques were so I tried some. This guy had raised his in KY and said they were quite popular there. The only thing I can think of is the quality I paid for. I paid for hatchery stock and perhaps the guy that convinced me to try the dominiques had true bred to the standard / heritage dominiques. I know there is a great difference from my heritage RIR and the hatchery RIR.
If the same is true for the dominiques, then I recommend looking and thinking really hard about what one hopes to get from their chickens. If it is a large number of eggs, hatchery birds are typically really good layers but their eggs might be a bit smaller or a shade difference in color when compared to the same from a heritage bird. I have found heritage birds to be calmer in most cases.
Children like color and naming birds. Keeping this in mind, I would think children would like a varied flock more than a flock of 1 breed. Eggs of varying colors is a big hit with children too. Differences between the birds is special to children too, so a crested hen or a feathered footer might just make one child's day. Then there are the chickens that just look so different from the average chicken that children must love or hate them at first glance. Silkies and modern game chickens come to mind first. Silkies come in a wide range of colors like orpingtons do, but silkies are much smaller and require much less food.
See lots to think about when choosing a flock. A list of priorities kind of helps but not always, sometimes it is easier to just go out there and get a great variety and see which ones become the favorites.
Many of you are great taking time to comment. I agree, Sally....good points...so we wanted to get at least two kinds. We were considering old heritage breeds which could die out for lack of interest too. Online has a lot about Dominiques but I do want to hear from others.
My husband's family had chickens... But our own first flock was white leghorn (too flighty), Ameraucanas ( one kid's mama called saying, "We can come over this week and can you dye some more eggs blue for us?" Heh heh.), and barred rocks. One barred rock was a character, very personable, she would peck feet to be picked up and "sing" happily when carried around. She pulled my dog's hair (long hair on his ears) she stole potholder off the table on the patio when we were eating outside...she would follow us around. The other 3 rocks were not very personable.
The next flock we had some of the old girls-- the Ameraucas still living and laying. We added Cochins, speckled Sussex, Polish, barred rock. Well the Sussex and Cochin were from a woman in KY. we noticed the other birds getting sick after the quarantine of one month. When one died, we called Purdue and it turns out they were carriers of MS and MG, said both can be passed on thru the egg to offspring. They said the government banned a medicine to get them well because they'd still be carriers. We have wild ducks in our yard/ pond and we were told it can spread if we kept them. It can spread to songbirds and waterfowl. After seeing what these went through, we did not want to risk any spread. It was hard decision. We were already using bleach spray on boots, hand sanitizer etc.with one hen dead and many more sick, we decided to give them up. Vet students studied disease with them. We were given things to sanitize the coop which was washed well, tilled into the dirt too. We were traumatized and turned off on chickens for a while. We waited past two frosts then husband again sanitized the coop really well.
The last flock we had was buff orpingtons. They were docile but not one personable bird in the whole bunch. They were from Mt Healthy, an NPIP certified hatchery...but just last month I was told though MS and MG can be passed to offspring, NPIP doesn't test for those two! Was shocked.
We have a more solid run which even birds can't get in. We want to every careful where our next flock comes from!
Anyway, the Buffs were tested again after we had them a year and were disease free.
Kids came over and wanted to hold the big rooster. One 6 year old said we had to name them all Sarafiona or they wouldn't give us any eggs. She was excited to find eggs and hold the rooster.
One friend came over who had grown up on a farm and she was delighted to hold one. She wanted to name one Cinderella. They did all look the same. When she visted later I'd do the same thing as I did with the kids when asked, "Which one is (my chicken's name)? I'd study them and pick one which had more feathers as our rooster was not a gentleman. So they go, "Yes, that's her!" haha Oh our rooster was King Midas so they wanted to know why he got that name and we told them the story of King Midas too.
The Buffs were docile but not personable. We didn't make enough selling their eggs to pay for their food, we get organic feed. We sold them before I had surgery last year; then we missed them! The chicken run looks so empty and visitors not going out to hold them and take pictures. Funny how people enjoy visiting the chickens!
Anyway, we might have considered Buffs again but we'd rather have more personable though docile chickens and better feed to egg conversion.
I like a varied flock but we wanted to get a rooster in case we decided to let some hatch, pick the rooster of the type we'd want more chickens of.
Reading about Dominiques what we liked is their egg laying doesn't just stop at 3 years. Welsummers we were considering do stop after 3 years and the Welsummers we found were larger breed. Domiques are little smaller. Online it said they lay a large egg. One site showed their egg laying steadily going down each year but not suddenly stopping. Our chickens tend to be more like pets, not good I suppose. We name them all, kids and adults come over and get attached too. IT would be nice if they lay for more years.
We liked idea of getting a different color of egg than the "main flock with rooster" too so if we did decide to have some hatch we could tell by the color which ones to let hatch. I hope this makes sense. I saw the cream brabanters and they make me laugh, I know people would enjoy them, especially the kids (if the brabanters aren't too flighty). But Brabanters are very hard to find. I'd be afraid to pick it for the main flock, I learned their egg laying isn't as good ( a woman sells hatching eggs for both of these breeds, she's in Nantahala, NC). They are the same size as Dominiques from what I can find out so I thought maybe good.. online many sites talk about how docile both are they are and productive though not like egg business productive; the woman in NC said the Domiques are better layers.
Then the Cream Legbars are docile and they are so pretty too, I loved them when I saw them but when I did a search on "aggressive rooster" on the site, wow... things like the rooster from "H***" and then one breeder in the CCL Club said roosters are very protective of their hens and would not be a good choice around children.
Now with the Brabanters and the CCL I don't think I'd want to try to hatch the eggs as they are still trying to get to the breed standard. I don't want to cull my birds if they are giving me an egg, I just want to enjoy them. I don't care if they aren't top notch fitting a breed standard. I want docile! Especially want a calm rooster.
The Buffs we had, the hatchery sent us two roosters by accident... ah when they were 6 months old, one rooster turned into a meanie! He wouldn't let me in the back yard when the chickens were free ranging in the evening! He'd chase me and threaten me. My husband would simply turn him upside down and the rooster would still be trying to get away if husband had me hold him upside down. Ah. Then the two roosters got in a HUGE fight. My husband managed to get the two bloody boys separated and one in the isolation hutch. We waited a couple of days to be sure the mean one was isolated then our Mennonite friend came got the meanie and took him to rooster heaven.
Docile is at the top of our list! haha.
Anyway, the kids liked the barred rocks too they called them the "stripped ones" and Dominiques are same pattern. If they eat less, it'll help our budget; we give ours scraps from our garden too.
I like the ones with the fancy hairdos but we we thought a reliable layer mixed with the pretty ones too.
I would rather get from breeders but never again from just anyone, learned a hard lesson. Those birds looked healthy, we followed the keep them isolated rule too. Ugh.
Also, breeders will sell just straight run is what I found so far. We want just one rooster but we don't want to cull if we can help it. I found one person with CCLs whom I could get hatching eggs. Brabanter eggs cost a fortune and sold to people who are trying to perfect the breed so I probably one get those unless from the woman in NC. Then there is CCL but I am not sure if they are much larger than the other two.... then Dominiques, I guess I should find the club and ask also. The BYC thread on Domiques is pretty silent.
Alright, that's my long story. I may research some more but if Domiques are calm and I can get some more for layers not breeding at all in future, then I would want to get one breed with crest if they will all get along okay.
I don't have incubator though to get eggs and I don't want too many roosters either. hah
Thanks for patience, I know it was a long post.
Edited by Bawk - 4/11/15 at 10:33pm