Erminettes are found in three color phases; White Erminette - Erminette - Black Erminette. The word 'Erminette' refers to both the breed and the color. All three of the color phases are natural hallmarks of the Erminette breed.
In the latter part of the twentieth century to the very early years of the twenty first century, the SPPA made a list of various breeds that were deemed extinct. On this list was found the Erminette. Shortly after the genetic study flocks had come to a close, the Erminette as a breed and distinct coloration had been lost to the poultry world. Even the most ardent poultry activists and historians could not locate even one flock of Erminettes and so the Erminette was placed on the SPPA's list of extinct breeds in the hopes that awareness of the state of this breed (as well as other breeds on the list) may help to stir up any last remaining remnant flock that might be gracing the farmyard of a breeder far removed from the poultry world before that flock too went extinct.
Fortunatly a flock was eventually discovered. An elderly woman (whose name is unfortunately unknown), was approached by someone driving by who shared with the fellow that the birds in question that he saw were called Erminettes and that they had been passed down in her family for multiple generations. Hatching eggs were quickly secured and so started the work in restoring the Erminette to its former "glory."
The birds should be bred to the following standard, as it is still in recovery like many breeds today.
Yellow skin White feather to black feather ration - 85% white, 15% black White feathers are ideally solid white without streaks of black Black feathers are ideally solid black without traces of white markings such as spangles, streaks, ect Ideally legs should be solid yellow.
Combs single, straight, medium-large in males, medium in females. Historically combs were pea, then rose, then single. Only single remains today and seems to be the most desirable at present.
Females seem to run one of two ways; smaller hens around 5 lbs or large bodied hens easily reaching 7-8 lbs. Select the larger hens as opportunity allows.
Eye color isbay. Some individuals tend to have darker eyes on the Erminette colored and solid black colored birds. Select the bay color as opportunity allows. As a side regarding eye color; very rarely there appears a bird that reaches adult hood with light mint green colored eyes. They are quite beautiful and stunning. Should these appear in your flock, don't discard these quickly as there are breeders who like to maintain this trait as a side flock to their main flocks. This rare color does not appear in any other breed of chicken. Before you cull these out, please reach out to Curt Burroughs on the breeder page to see if these could be relocated to individuals interested in perpetuating this trait.