Dominique Chicken All You Need To Know: Temperament And Egg Laying

Did you know that barred rocks are not the only black and white barred chickens?

The Dominique chicken is another wearer of the stylish black and white barred feather pattern.

They are one of the oldest chicken breeds around and have been kept in the US since the 1800s.

If you live in a colder climate and are looking for a dependable egg layer then look no further. Dominiques are also excellent mothers and are perfect if you want to hatch your own chick from eggs.

Keep reading to learn all about the Dominique and how to take care of this breed…

Dominique Chicken

Dominique Chicken Overview

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A Flock Of Dominiques

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Dominique Chickens

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Close Up Dominique

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Dominique Chicken

The Dominique is a low maintenance bird that loves to forage for its own food.

They are perfect for beginner chicken keepers and for those who do not want to spend a lot of money on chicken feed. This breed is also excellent for gardeners as Dominiques love to eat pests that eat common garden plants.

She has a calm temperament although they can be aggressive when they feel threatened.

With humans they will always maintain their composure.

These chickens have thin black and white bars on their feathers – there are no other color varieties for this breed.

You can expect this little hen to lay around four brown eggs a week.

They tend to be broody and are known to be excellent mothers.

Due to their calm temperament this breed is good with children and other pets in the family.

Overall the Dominique is excellent if you are looking for a high performance and fashionable dual purpose chicken.

Beginner Friendly: Yes.
Lifespan: 8+ years.
Weight: Hens (5lb) Roosters (7lb).
Color: Black and white stripes.
Egg Production: 4 per week.
Egg Color: Brown.
Known For Broodiness: Yes.
Good With Children: Yes.
Cost of Chicken: $3-4 per chick.

Why We Love This Breed

  • Dominiques have a calm temperament which makes them perfect family pets.
  • They are a very low maintenance breed.
  • Because they are quiet they are suitable for both rural and suburban areas.
  • Their gorgeous black and white barred plumage is very fashionable and eye-catching.
  • She is a dual purpose breed that is a reliable egg layer.


Dominicker Chicken

The Dominique chicken is commonly confused with the Plymouth Rock.

Upon a quick glance it is easy to see why.

They both sport the iconic black and white barred pattern.

The most accurate way of telling the two breeds apart is by looking at their combs.

Dominiques have a flatter rose comb whereas Plymouth Rocks have an upright comb.

Another way to tell the Dominique and Plymouth Rock apart is their barred pattern – however this is more difficult to spot. The Plymouth Rock’s barred patterning is very crisp and true black/white while the Dominique has a more jagged pattern with less contrast between the black and white colors.

Dominiques are medium sized chickens.

Their comb, wattles and earlobes are all red – they will have short and yellow beaks too.

This is a yellow skined bird that is known for their featherless legs.

Size and Weight

This is a medium sized chicken.

Hens will weigh around five pounds and roosters will weigh around seven pounds.

You can even find bantam sizes with hens weighing 24 ounces and roosters weighing 28 ounces.


Dominique chickens wear black and white stripes (or bars) on their feathers.

In the US there are no other recognized color varieties other than the black and white barred pattern.

What Is It Like To Own A Dominique Chicken?

Dominique Chickens

Dominiques are very low maintenance – this makes them an excellent bird for first time chicken keepers.

This breed enjoys searching the fields and ground for bugs and plants to satisfy their hunger. This means they will eat less feed than the average chicken making them perfect for chicken owners on a budget.

You will often find them foraging from dawn until dusk.

It will be rare to find your Dominique sick. They are very hardy chickens and can thrive in both warm and cold climates.

She has an excellent temperament, like Buff Orpingtons.

They are calm and well-mannered and are always well behaved with their owners.

Due to their calm temperament, Dominiques are excellent with families with children and other pets.


Dominiques are known to be a very calm breed.

It is one of the breed’s best qualities and a major reason why people want to keep this chicken.

Keep in mind that just like many other breeds the roosters can be aggressive and may fight other roosters and hens if they feel threatened.

However despite the possible aggression to other roosters and hens, Dominique hens are calm with their owners.

Chicks in particular are extremely friendly and will love to run up to your feet.

Close Up Dominique

Egg Production

They are known for being fairly good egg layers and one of the best egg laying breeds.

Dominique Hens will lay around 4 eggs a week.

You can expect these eggs to get slightly larger as the hen ages and grows bigger.

Egg Production
Eggs Per Week: 4+ Eggs
Color: Brown
Size: Medium

Noise Levels

As long as your Dominiques are kept happy and healthy, they will not make too much noise.

Make sure to let them roam and forage for their food.

Facts About This Breed

  1. They are also known by different names such as the Dominicker and Pilgrim Fowl.
  2. Dominiques are one of the oldest chicken breeds in America.
  3. Because of their rose comb and feathers they are cold hardy.
  4. She is a versatile and dual purpose hen that can lay lots of eggs.
  5. Historically their feathers were used in pillowcases.
  6. The name Dominique is of French origin.

Dominique Chicken Care Guide

A Flock Of Dominiques

Health Issues

Dominickers are a fairly healthy breed with no known specific health issues to watch out for.

It is fairly easy to care for these self reliant chickens.

However just like other chicken breeds, care should be taken to prevent or treat any parasites and pests.


Feeding a Dominique is much easier than most other breeds.

They spend a lot of their time foraging for food – they are natural foragers and prefer to eat things they find over standard chicken feed.

The majority of their diet will consist of berries, bugs and other things they find outdoors (they are also great for gardens since they eat pests). Since they do not eat as much feed as the average chicken they are also cheaper to keep.

As long as you give your Dominique chickens enough space to roam they will be very well fed and satisfied with their diet.

Although they love to forage you should still provide them with regular chicken feed to supplement their diet.

Remember to use a high quality chicken feed that satisfies all of their dietary needs. You have the option of free feeding or scheduled feeding times (Dominiques will be happy with both).

Finally you will need to make sure that they have access to fresh, clean drinking water at all times.

Coop Setup

Inside the coop your Dominiques will each need at least three square feet of space. Of course the more space you can give them the happier and better off they will be.

They will also need nesting boxes that measure 12×12 inches.

A simple chicken coop with no special requirements will suffice.

The most important part of setting up their coop is their enclosed run and roaming space.

Run and Roaming

As mentioned before the Dominique is an excellent forager.

Therefore it is very important that their enclosed run has enough space for them to roam around and forage. The space guidelines for a chicken is eight square feet of space per chicken inside their enclosed run.

Alternatively you could keep them in a smaller coop without an enclosed run but let them out throughout the day.

You will need to be careful of predators.

Make sure that you keep an eye out throughout the day for any signs of danger. Also remember to lock up the coop before it gets too late so that your chickens are safe from predators at nighttime.

Dominique Breed History

Dominique Hen

This breed is considered the oldest American chicken breed.

They were named and generally referred to as Dominique chickens but they were also referred to as Pilgrim Fowl. This is because some people believed that at one point the pilgrims brought the chickens to the country.

It is thought that the ancestor to the Dominique came from the Island of San Domingo or Saint Domingue.

From there the bird was crossed and bred with other bird breeds in the area and eventually the Dominique breed was developed.

As you may have noticed the Dominique and the Plymouth Rock are strikingly similar in appearance.

They look so similar that booth breeds would continue to be confused with until the year 1870.

In 1870 the New York poultry officially declared that Dominiques would be determined by a rose comb. This made it significantly easier to differentiate the two. Finally there were set guidelines on how to tell the two breeds apart.

Any bird with an upright comb would be called a Plymouth Rock.

Sadly after their popularity boom in 1875 they began to fall in popularity due to the increased interest in the Plymouth Rock.

This got so bad that in 1970 only four flocks of the Dominique chicken were documented to exist. To avoid the extinction of this breed, the flock owners were contacted and began a breed rescue program. Thankfully they agreed and the Dominique breed slowly began to revive itself.

To this day Dominique chickens remain a dependable but slightly unpopular breed due to being overshadowed by the iconic barred Plymouth Rock breed.


Although they are often overlooked (for the Plymouth Rock) Dominiques are a formidable and excellent choice for those looking for a low-maintenance and easy to care for backyard chicken.

They are perfect for the first time chicken keepers due to how effortless they make keeping chicken.

Not only are they low maintenance but they are also good for their egg laying and they mature quickly.

Dominiques love to roam and forage for their food. Anyone keeping this breed should provide them with plenty of space so they can forage and find their own food (these snacks will make up the majority of their diet).

If you are looking for a new member to add to your flock then the Dominique chicken may be the breed for you.

Plus, how could you resist that cute rose comb?

Let us know any of your questions in the comments section below…

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and is interested in backyard chicken health and care.

1 Comment

  1. Chris Lesley, thank you for writing about the Barred Plymouth Rock and Dominique chickens and explaining their differences. I would love to know what feed/feeds you feed your flock and the type of bedding you use in their pen. Thanks, Helen

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