The Duchesse is a very old breed of Utility Pigeon and is believed to be a member of the Mondaine family. It is an ancestor of not only the Utility King, but also the Swiss Mondaine. The breed is believed to have been introduced to the United States during the 1870’s from Holland and Germany and because of this were sometimes known in the 19th century as “Dutchies” and also as “Dutchesse”. The Duchesse is probably closely related to the Romagnol, an ancient Italian house pigeon bred for table use. They are very large pigeons, always white in color with bull eyes and usually heavily muffed. Some old literature suggests that some birds also came crested.
Though once very popular for squabbing purposes, not only as purebreds, but also crossbreds, the breed fell out of favor among commercial squab producers due to their muffed legs which created more work during processing due to the extra picking involved and the unsightly blemishes left on the feet of the squabs.
In fact, the breed so fell out of favor among commercial squab producers, that today, the Duchesse is practically an extinct breed. I would not know of another loft of these birds anywhere. My great grandmother kept this strain for decades and although she mainly had them for their beauty, they are good reliable producers of big squabs, but tend to be a little slower breeders than my Utility Kings. via : ( howtoraisepigeonsforsmeat )