Belgian Bearded d'Uccle
The Belgian Bearded d'Uccle (pronounced dew-clay) (often simply Belgian d'Uccle) or Barbu D'Uccle in French, is a breed of bantam chicken originating from the town of Uccle on the outskirts of Brussels, Belgium. The bird is frequently referred to as the Mille Fleur, or Millie for short, in the U.S., after its most popular color variation. It also has a related variant that is tailless, called the Belgian d'Everberg.
The Breed came into being in the early 19th Century from Belgium, and was created by a Belgian man by the name of Michael Van Gelder. Most sources maintain that it originated from crosses of the Antwerp Belgian and the sabelpoot which is known today as the Booted Bantam, and raised as a closely related but separated breed.
In 1911, the American artist and poultry enthusiast Arthur O. Schilling saw the mille fleur variety of the breed during a trip to Europe, and imported several to the United States. Schilling, who photographed and illustrated many breeds for the American Poultry Association's (APA) Standard of Perfection, was visiting C. S. Th. van Gink, another famed poultry artist of the era. In 1914, the mille fleur variety of the breed was listed in the APA's The American Standard of Perfection.
Barbu D'Uccles have a low posture, a short but well developed neck and a rather open tail-feathering. D'Uccles have a single comb, different from its rose-combed relative the d'Anvers.
The American Standard of Perfection specifies that the ideal weight of a cock is 26 ounces, hen or cockerel (male less than one year old) is 22 ounces, and pullet (female less than one year old) is 20 ounces.
British Poultry Standards calls for representatives of the breed to be “as small as possible”, and does not advocate a weight standard, but suggests as a rough guide a maximum weight of “790–910 g (28–32 oz)” for males and “680–790 g (24–28 oz)” for females, with variations taking into account age and maturity.
The Belgian Bearded D'Uccles comes in many color variations, including: Mille Fleur, Porcelain, Black mottled, Buff mottled, Blue mottled, Blue Mille Fleur, Buff Colombian, Brown red, Red, White, Black, Buff, Blue, Colombian, Lavender, Splash, Golden Necked and Lemon.
The American Poultry Association officially recognizes seven varieties: Bearded Black (admitted 1996), Bearded Golden Neck (1996), Bearded Mille Fleur (1914), Bearded Mottled (1996), Bearded Porcelain (1965), Bearded Self Blue (1996), and Bearded White (1981).
In the mille fleur color pattern, feathers are mahogany, tipped with a crescent-shaped black bar and a V-shaped white spangle. The name comes from the French term mille fleurs, meaning thousand flowers. This color pattern also appears in other breeds, including Leghorns, Dutch Bantams, Old Englishes, and Booted Bantams. The true coloration usually appears following the first adult molt.
The porcelain color pattern is similar to mille fleur, but the feathers are straw-colored, tipped with various kinds of white spangles and a pale blue bar running through part of its length. Porcelain varieties also exist for the Booted Bantam and Belgian Bearded d'Anvers varieties.
Self blue means it is one even shade of blue, with no darker blue lacing.
The Belgian Bearded D'Uccle is renowned for being a calm bird. Bearded D'Uccle eggs are notably small and are coated with creamy or tinted coloring. The breed is known for being very broody, and a typical hen can lay her eggs over a two-week period, though others have taken as long as three weeks (21 days). Unlike most breeds, Belgian D'Uccles have vulture hocks (feathers on the hocks). While vulture hocks are a DQ (disqualify-er) in show birds for most breeds, a lack of feathering is a DQ for Belgian D'Uccles.
- Australian Poultry Standard, 2nd Edition, published 2012, Victorian Poultry Fanciers Association Ltd trading as Poultry Stud Breeders and Exhibitors Victoria.
- "Brief History: Belgian d'Uccle and Booted Bantam". Belgianduccle.org. Belgian d'Uccle & Booted Bantam Club. Retrieved 9 January 1967.
- Lacey, Patricia A. (1 April 2010). All Cooped Up: The History of the American Bantam Association, a 131-Year Evolution. Xlibris Corporation. pp. 152–155. ISBN 978-1-4500-6083-7.
- Percy, Pam (20 February 2006). The Field Guide to Chickens. Voyageur Press. p. 34,74. ISBN 978-1-61060-078-1.
- Roberts, Victoria (16 March 2009). British Poultry Standards. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 67–68. ISBN 978-1-4443-0938-6.
- APA recognized breeds and varieties (PDF). American Poultry Association. 28 August 2012. pp. 7–8. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- Damerow, Gail (January 2012). The Chicken Encyclopedia: An Illustrated Reference. Storey Publishing, LLC. p. 179. ISBN 978-1-60342-561-2.
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