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. 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.

Izegem Cuckoo

This ultra-rare chicken breed traces its roots to medieval Belgium where it was highly regarded as a delicious table fowl. Izegem is a small city in Northwest Belgium that is not very far from the French border and the English Channel. The breed suffered a catastrophic decline in both world wars in the 20th Century. (Izegem is near some of the famous battles of World War II including the Battle of Dunkirk.) In the 1970s efforts were made to save the breed using remnant flocks of the once popular birds. With their rose combs and cuckoo feather pattern American poultry hobbyists inevitable draw parallels between the Izegem Cuckoo and the quintessential American chicken, the Dominique. However, several points of distinction are worth noting, among them that the Izegem pre-dates the formation of the United States by at least 250 years, and the Izegem Cuckoo is much larger than the Dominiques. Dominique roosters may weigh 7 lb. and the Izegem rooster may weight almost half again as much.