When Ron Nelson began his work on restoring the Erminette chickens, it wasn’t long before he got the idea to develop a red version. It is uncertain how far he progressed with this project, or exactly what breeds he chose to use. After he passed away, some of his Red Erminette birds remained with Josh Miller and were then passed on to Glenn Drowns at Sand Hill Preservation. There are very few of these birds remaining. We decided it was time to begin a restoration project on the Red Erminettes before the last examples disappear. We collected stock from Josh Miller in Wisconsin, Glenn Drowns in Iowa and Josiah Moore in Missouri. From these surviving birds we have put together a number of breeding pens and are aggressively hatching chicks to get this project started. Our goal is to get at least 300 chicks hatched in 2020.
This will be another multi-year project that will entail hatching large numbers of chicks to get the type and color – established and stabilized. Our goal is to have a white bird, with red “Erminette” type markings. This will be a single comb, yellow skinned bird of medium size, with excellent egg production characteristics. With any of our projects, the overriding goal will be to develop a bird that will be a traditional dual-purpose bird. These birds will possess good meat qualities and lay cream to light brown colored eggs. These birds will also be versatile, able to forage for a decent portion of their nutrition.
It will take some time before we get enough good examples to begin hatching for sale. We will however, provide frequent updates and photos charting the progress of the project.
The first Erminettes were shown in December 1874, in Bristol, Connecticut, by John Sutliffe.