Rouen Duck [Some Interesting Facts]

Rouen Duck [Some Interesting Facts]

Rouen Duck

The Rouen Duck is a breed hefty, domesticated duck with an interesting history. At first glance, you might confuse these ducks with their wild counterparts – the Mallards. But, after a closer look you’ll notice the Rouen’s bolder colors and big size.

Their French origin has given them a certain charisma that’s impossible to ignore. Their calm and docile temperament makes for easy rearing, irrespective of the purpose.

Though the Rouen Duck isn’t a known for laying eggs, its meat is delectable, making it a sought-after specialty worldwide.

The Rouen Duck likes grass foraging. Their taste for grass helps in maintaining a natural and healthy diet, making the Rouens an appealing option for backyard ducks.

What Is the Origin of The Rouen Duck?

The Rouen Duck is an ancient duck breed, dating back to before the 19th century. You can trace its roots back to Normandy, the scenic region of France where some say it all began. Named after ‘Rouen’, a vibrant city in north-central France – this duck breed carries a history that matches its striking appearance.

Most duck breeds owe their existence to the Mallard Duck, and the Rouen is no exception. It’s a direct descendant that has crafted its own unique identity over the centuries. Famous for its tranquility, hardiness, and delightful meat, it’s a breed that brings value to any flock.

Let’s fast forward to around 1800. The Rouen ducks took a journey from France across the waters to England. Through time, it was known by various names. ‘Rhone’, referencing southwest France. ‘Roan’, denoting a blend of colors. ‘Rohan’, a tribute to a Catholic Cardinal. Eventually, it reclaimed its original name ‘Rouen’.

In England, this duck experienced a major overhaul. Breeders dedicated themselves to tweaking its traits. They inflated its size and gave its body a boat-like shape. Over time, its colors popped even more.

By 1850, the breed crossed the ocean once again, this time to America. Mr. D.W. Lincoln of Worcester had the honor of introducing Rouen ducks to American farmers. Americans fell in love and quickly adopted the breed into their farm culture.

It made such an impression that it earned a spot in the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1874. Today, the Rouen Duck stands as perhaps the second most popular meat duck breed across North America. It’s embraced not only for its size and beauty but also for its winning personality.

What Are the Physical Characteristics of The Rouen Duck?

Looking into the details you’ll find out that the Rouen Duck distinguishes itself through several unique physical traits. For one, it’s a heavyweight breed. A Standard Rouen tips the scale at 9-10 lbs, showcasing a large blocky body, deep level keel, and a back that arches from shoulders to tail. Look at its head, and you’ll see it’s well-rounded; its medium size bill has a notable concave along the top line. The Production Rouen – though 2 pounds lighter – also captures attention with its trimmer figure and upright carriage.

The color scheme of the Rouen drake has a dark yellow bill, vibrant orange shanks and feet, and pitch-black eyes. The head, upper neck, and tail flaunt a dark green color while the lower neck and breast reveal a dark brown tone. The upper back is dark grey while its lower body is a lighter shade. Adding personality to its look, a white band wraps around its neck, while impressive diagonal white/blue/white lines crisscross its wings.

The female Rouen Duck has distinctive penciling patterns on the majority of the body, from the head, neck, body, wing, and tail feathers. A unique combination of a brown bill, dark orange shanks, and feet with black eyes round off the female Rouen Duck’s striking look.

Even the Rouen ducklings have their distinctive look. They have yellow, downy feathers and dark brown patches, beaks, legs, and facial stripes that set them apart from Mallards.

At first glance, Rouen ducks appear strikingly similar to Mallards. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll notice important differences. Rouen ducks are much larger, heavier, and their plumage color is brighter than their Mallard counterparts. Keep in mind that these distinctions aren’t just limited to adults. Adult Rouen ducks also noticeably tower over the adult Mallards.

What Are the Behavioral Traits of The Rouen Duck?

The Rouen Duck is known for its calm and docile nature. This makes them a popular choice for pets and as exhibition birds.

What sets these ducks apart is their sociable nature. They enjoy interacting with humans as well as other animals. Rouens are known to preen each other and are often described as one of the friendliest duck breeds. This is a behavior where they clean hard-to-reach feathers by rotating their heads backward.

However, there’s more to these ducks than just friendliness. Male Rouens can occasionally become aggressive. This usually happens when they’re guarding their territory – especially during the mating season. That’s why you’ll want to keep a lookout when they interact with dogs or cats.

It’s worth noting their vocalization and movement patterns too. Rouen ducks are, in general, quiet beings. They’re not as chatty as other breeds. Still, they might become quite talkative when they want food. Fact is, female Rouens are more vocal than males.

Their large size and inability to fly make them slow movers. When they’re happy, they often bob their heads up and down. You’ll also be greeted with a round of quacks whenever a Rouen Duck sees you.

A Rouen Duck’s colorful plumage and friendly demeanor makes it a preferred pet over other breeds. More suited to farm and yard life, these sociable ducks get along pretty well with other ducks and people. If you want to raise them from ducklings, you’ll find they enjoy being held and even hugged. With a Rouen Duck around, there’s hardly a dull moment.

What Are the Breeding Characteristics of The Rouen Duck?

When it comes to egg-laying and incubation, the Rouen Duck isn’t known for its prolific offering. Instead, they produce between 35 and 125 eggs yearly, with the eggs’ colors ranging from white to blue or even green. These ducks mature around the six-month mark. Even so, their large bodies often prevent them from sitting on a nest – there’s a risk for the more exhibition-typed Rouen to crush their own eggs if allowed to sit because of their enormous frames.

In North America, two distinct types of Rouen ducks are bred: the common or production bred, and the standard bred variety. The former is larger than its Mallard counterpart but maintains a typical duck conformation. On the other hand, the latter, the standard bred kind, is much more massive and squarer. Bodies of the standard Rouen ducks are large, blocky with a horizontal carriage. It has a deep, level keel that extends from its shoulders to tail. The trimmer bodies and upright carriage make the common Rouen ducks less hefty.

Breeding the standard Rouen ducks, though, can become quite a challenge. The drakes in the standard Rouens lean toward having overly enlarged keels, known to cause breeding problems. Due to this, it’s advisable to keep a few of the common Rouen drakes for breeding purposes. This way, you’re avoiding any potential difficulties and ensuring healthy growth and population of your Rouen duck flock.

Remember that while Rouen ducks generally have a docile and easygoing nature, the males can become aggressive, particularly when guarding their territories or during mating season. So if you’re thinking of mingling them with your other pets, such as cats or dogs – a bit of supervision wouldn’t hurt.

How Are Rouen Ducks Used in Meat Production?

The Rouen Duck takes center stage in meat production as it’s known for its heavy weight and fine-flavored flesh. These ducks are ideal for roasting, providing lean, juicy, and tender meat that many find delectable. Their flesh is laced with a higher percentage of fat, a quality that makes them perfect for a lot of tasty dishes.

They’re classified as a heavyweight breed where a Standard Rouen Duck can tip the scale at up to 11 pounds. The Production Rouen, though fairing slightly lighter at up to 8 pounds, is favored more for its meat. While the Production Rouen might yield less meat, the trade-off is a higher number of eggs laid.

However, be aware that Rouen Ducks are slow to mature, often taking up to eight months to prime up for the table. As a workaround, some farmers opt to process the ducks for meat when they achieve weights of around four to five and a half pounds. This approach not only saves on feed costs but also yields leaner and lighter-tasting meat typically when the ducks are just four or five months old.

Caring for Rouen Ducks

Here are some easy steps to take care of a Rouen Duck.

Space and Safety First

When it comes to housing, your ducks need plenty of space. Walking and foraging keep Rouen ducks active and happy. They’ll need a duck house equipped with soft, warm bedding, free from drafts yet ventilated for clean air.

Keep an eye out for potential predator entry points – your duck’s security is important. Going the extra mile with a buried frame stops any digging attempts at breaching the pen.

Water, a Basic Necessity

Never forget Rouen Ducks are waterfowl, with water needs unique to their kind. A full bill dip helps them keep their nostrils clean, vital for their health.

Be it a kiddie pool or a small backyard pond, an accessible water source will do wonders for them.

Nutritious Meals for Healthy Ducks

Feeding your Rouens should be strategic. Despite their love for foraging, a little assistance won’t hurt.

Duck Pellets found at the local farm store supplement the nutrition they get from the pecks at vegetation, grains, and fruits. Avoid chicken feed and bread; they are no-nos for your ducks.

Keep Them Warm and Safe

The temperature plays a role when dealing with Rouen ducklings. Ensuring a cozy 70°F environment, even during the night, is critical for their first four weeks.

Ducks are Social Beings

Don’t overlook the social needs of Rouen Ducks. They’re great at making friends, both with their kind and other birds.

It’s not surprising to see them blend in with various types of animals. If you’re starting with ducklings, they’ll appreciate a good hug or hold.

What Is the Conservation Status of The Rouen Duck Breed Today?

The Rouen Duck are considered a non-industrial breed, contributing to their secure status. Still, their population isn’t on the higher side. You’ll find this breed on the Watch List of the Livestock Conservancy. So, it’s safe to say that this duck breed isn’t endangered, but efforts are in place to keep a check on its population.

Don’t mistake their watch status for rarity. Rouen ducks are quite common on small farms and homesteads. They serve as general-purpose ducks, offering meat, showmanship, and charm.

If you’re a fan of delicate, light-flavored meat, the Rouen Duck might become your new favorite, trumping other duck breeds in the culinary taste.

There’s a small hitch though. These ducks take their time to grow, maturing at six to eight months. But as they say, good things take time, and Rouen ducks stick to that adage. They come up to speed slower than the standard commercial duck – the Pekin.

The growth of the Rouen Duck market is heartening. The shift toward leaner meat production is driving people to embrace this breed. Despite its popularity, finding Rouen ducks for sale might be a bit tricky due to their conservation status. Your best bets include platforms like Purely Poultry, My Pet Chicken, and Murray McMurray Hatchery.

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