The Belgian d’Uccle chicken breed is a true bantam breed known for its unusual appearance and extraordinarily friendly personality. They are frequently found on the shoulders or in the arms of their owners. Learn about the different varieties, their temperament, egg-laying, breed features, and more. If you like bantam breeds, this could be the chicken breed for you!
History of the Belgian d’Uccle Chicken Breed
|Class||APA – Feather legged|
ABA – Single comb, muff, and beard
|Size||Bantam – small|
|Recognized Varieties||Mille Fleur, Black, Porcelain, Golden Neck, Mottled, Self Blue, White, Lavender, Blue, Grey, and Buff|
Barbu D’Uccle, which is French for “bearded”, comes from the Belgian region of Uccle. This breed was created by Michael Van Gelder, a wealthy Dutch entrepreneur. He began his quest in the late 1800s and spent several years and lots of money to perfect his vision. It took hatching around 1,000 chicks each year to get the perfect genetics he was looking for.
The breed was first exhibited in 1905, and as you can imagine, it quickly became a hit. Shortly after its first exhibition, people in England and the United States had them imported for their flocks.
For many years, people have pondered how Mr. Van Gelder created this creature. The Barbu D’Anvers (Bearded from Anvers) and the Dutch Sabelpoot (vulture hocks) are the two breeds most say he crossed. Whether or not there were any other breeds used is anyone’s guess.
They are a true bantam breed. This means there is no standard counterpart for the Belgian d’Uccle chicken breed. As you know, I’m not a fan of bantam breeds but their personalities make them tempting. Bantams are a good choice for those who don’t need many eggs, large eggs or live in cities where breed restrictions can be a problem.
Recognized Breed Varieties
In 1914, the D’Uccle was recognized by the APA (American Poultry Association) and classified as a feather-legged breed. The ABA (American Bantam Association) also recognized the breed, classifying it as a single comb, muff, and beard breed.
There are only seven color varieties recognized by the APA
- Mille Fleur (1914)
- Porcelain (1965)
- White (1981)
- Black, Golden Neck, Mottled and lavender (1996)
The ABA, however, recognizes 10 color varieties.
- Golden Neck
- Mille Fleur
In Europe, the color palette is more varied with numerous additional hues recognized. Belgium recognizes over 20 distinct color varieties.
|Egg Laying||150-200 per year (2 per week average)|
|Egg Color||White to Cream Color|
Belgian d’Uccle hens do not have a reputation for exceptional egg-laying skills. I would say they are average for bantam breeds, laying between 150 and 200 small, white, or slightly off-white eggs. They are late to start laying in the spring rush, but they do lay through the winter if given proper housing and protection.
In general, they are known as a broody breed. As in all breeds, you can’t say that all d’Uccle hens will be broody. They are devoted mothers and are even known to hatch eggs from large breeds when allowed to hatch chicks.
Their small eggs are not large enough for most recipes but can be used with a little learning curve to adjust the number needed. They’re not prone to egg abnormalities. Maybe because the eggs are so small?
|Number of Toes||4|
The Bearded Antwerp, Sablepoot, and Booted Bantam breeds are often confused with the Belgian d’Uccle chicken breed. It isn’t too hard to determine which one you have with a little observation.
Both the rooster and the hens of the Belgian d’Uccle chicken breed have a beard. A beard, also known as a muff, is a patch of fluffy feathers growing on the chicken from under the beak and around the eyes, much like a man’s beard. The three lobes of feathers that form the full beard grow backward and meet the neck hackles.
The D’Uccle sports a single comb and has brownish-orange eyes. A muff and beard surround their head creating an owl-like appearance.
The wattles on both the roosters and the hens are extremely tiny and almost non-existent. Their neck is short, but well developed, running down into a broad breast.
They have white skin under their feathers.
They have feathered legs and feet which are called boots. The scales on the legs and feet should not be visible through the feathers. Each foot has four toes.
The tail is held at a stiff, almost perpendicular angle to the body.
The size and backline are the final distinguishing characteristics of the Belgian d’Uccle chicken breed. The roos weigh in on average at 1 lb 10 oz and hens 1 lb 6 oz. The back and tail lines form a “V” shape” instead of the “U” shape of the breeds they are confused with.
Their feathers are deep brownish-red with a band of black iridescence somewhere in midfeather. The white half-moon-shaped tips of the feathers stand out against this mahogany background.
|Bears Confinement||Yes, prefers free ranging|
The Belgian d’Uccle is an active chicken breed. Although they prefer free-range access and are excellent foragers, they can tolerate confinement if you provide them with a secure yard with plenty of room to satisfy their desire for roaming. Adequate space should prevent boredom and fighting.
You will need to provide them with a proper diet especially if confined.
They do well in winter if you provide adequate protection from the weather, good nutrition, and enough room for them to remain active.
They are one of the friendliest, most calm breeds. They are generally healthy and not more prone to common chicken diseases than any other breed.
They can tolerate heat if they have shade and plenty of water.
They are often broody and make excellent mothers to any chick they hatch out.
The bird’s serene tranquility makes it ideal for shows and exhibits, even the roos! Each bird has a unique coloration pattern, so no two are identical.
They are an excellent breed for children and the elderly because they enjoy being stroked and held.
Where To Buy the Belgian d’Uccle
I was unable to find many of the varieties available for purchase.
You can buy the Mille Fleur d’Uccle at McMurray Hatchery
You can buy the Porcelain Belgian d’Uccle at Meyer Hatchery
If you know of another reputable hatchery that sells them, please share it in the comments.
If you are looking for a bantam breed that is extraordinarily friendly and unusual in appearance, then the Belgian d’Uccle may be a great choice for you.
Belgian d’Uccles lay 150-200 small, white to cream-colored eggs a year. They will often go broody and are known to be good mothers.
They were also known as “living flowers in our gardens” at the turn of the twentieth century.
These guys are comical to watch. When I saw them at a friend’s house, I laughed out loud at their funny walk. The constant clucking and clicking as their feathered legs and feet ferried them across the yard was too cute!
Is the Belgian d”Uccles chicken breed right for your happy, healthy, homestead flock?
Read about other chicken breeds you may like.