Bearded Belgian D’Uccles are charming little chickens with a distinct flare. The most common variety, the Mille Fluer, is oftentimes what the uninformed public will call this breed.
This is incorrect, however, as other breeds are also recognized in the Mille Fluer color pattern.
Bearded Belgian D’Uccle Bantam Chickens
This breed was created in Belgium between 1880 and 1890 by crossing D’Anvers and Booted Bantams. The original varieties were Mille Fluer, Porcelain, and White. In early 1914, the Mille Fluer Bearded Belgian D’Anver was admitted to the American Poultry Association as a breed accepted for showing. Since then, several more varieties have been accepted.
The most common varieties are Black, Mille Fluer, Porcelain, and White. What attracts most fanciers to the breed is the Mille Fluer variety. This variety is a deep reddish brown with a black tail and white spangles all over the bird.
The D’Uccle is a pretty bird, with a clump of feathers, called a “beard”, on the face. It has a regular-sized, single (normal) comb and should have either no wattles or very small wattles.
Adult males weigh about 740 grams (1 pound, 10 ounces), and adult females should weigh about 625 grams (1 pound, 6 ounces). It is rather broad across the chest, and there should be a “V” shape formed in the space between the head/neck and the tail due to the short back.
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They have vulture hocks and a widespread tail. The D’Uccle is one of the few breeds of chickens that is a true bantam, as there is no larger counterpart.
D’Uccles are good foragers, and will pretty much feed themselves if they have a large enough area to do so.
D’Uccles are very hardy birds that require little extra care. Because they do not have over-sized combs and they have small wattles that are protected by the muff, or “beard” of feathers on their face, they are a good breed to have in regions that get cold.
The only extra care that they require is that the bedding MUST be kept clean and dry and a clean roost must be provided, especially if you wish to show your birds.
These things are needed because the D’Uccle has large feathers on its feet, which can get very tattered and dirty if not cared for properly.
In regards to the foot feathering, it is best to have the birds in a well drained yard, because if they allowed to run around in mud etc, they can develop mud balls (or fecal balls) on their toes. If this is not removed, the loss of nails or the tips of the toes may result.
D’Uccles are fairly easy to breed and raise. The fertility rate is about average, and the chicks are pretty hardy. Some hens are very prone to being “broody” (wanting to sit on the eggs), but not all will brood the eggs until they hatch.
The hens tend to get bored with sitting and will leave the eggs a few days before they hatch. Because of this, it is recommended that the eggs be hatched in an incubator or be put under a broody hen of a different, more reliable breed of chicken such as Bantam Cochin, Bantam Silkie, or Japanese.