The Dampierre is the re-creation of an old French chicken breed, the Normande, that died out more than a century ago. Until the end of the 1800s, the Normande existed, as you might have guessed, in the Normandy region of France. The Normande resembled its mottled cousin the Gournay, except the Normande sported a feather crest on its head. The Normande was known for its fine white meat, delicate bones, and abundant production of white eggs that the hens were willing to incubate and hatch.
In the late 20th Century three backyard poultry experts in Normandy were able to recreate the vanished breed using Guornay and a Crevecouer, and in 1996 the birds --renamed Dampierre to distinguish them from the historical Normande breed-- were formally introduced at a French poultry show. In the intervening two decades, the breed has continued to be improved and standardized, although selective breeding is still needed to advance the breed. For example, while most of the chicks we hatch develop the signature feather crest, some of the chicks lack this feature. It has not been formally adopted into the French standard.
When you buy Dampierres you should expect to cull some chicks in order to continue to improve the breed. Points to consider when evaluating your birds include the presence and shape of the feather crest, comb size and shape, and the general type of the bird. The number of Dampierre breeders can be counted on one hand, and our recent import of this ultra-rare breed creates a tremendous opportunity to secure the future of the Dampierre.
Our Veteran breeders at Seagrave-Williams Farm are honored to be one of the first here in America. Please place your order for this coming Spring 2020, the stock of these ultra-rare birds will be very limited.