The Rouen Duck is a heavy breed of domesticated duck raised primarily for decoration, display, or as general purpose ducks, as they are not like prolific laying hens. Rouen ducks are frequently used for meat, the breed originated in France sometime before the 19th century.
The Rouen duck is a breed of duck bred in Normandy for many years, it is the result of the selection of the mallard to increase its mass. Their colors are almost identical to those of the mallard.
Rouen Duck Characteristics
The plumage color of the Rouen duck is almost identical to that of the Mallard duck, the mallard’s color pattern is known as gray. Males have a green head, white neck, black tail, and dark brown and ashy tail feathers, a gray body, and a deep light-colored chest. Rouen females are a consistent shade of mahogany brown, with a brown crown and brown eye stripes extending from the bill to the back of the eyes. Another characteristic of the female’s color pattern is the sharp, detailed pencil found on the feathers of the head, neck, body, most of the wing, and tail.
Female Rouen can be much darker brown in color than female Mallard duck. Both sexes also have blue speculum feathers. However, the feathers of the Rouen specula are brighter in color and larger than those of the mallard. Adult Rouen ducks are typically significantly larger than mallard ducks. The duckling, that is, the Rouen baby, is identical to the Mallard duckling in terms of plumage coloration.
In North America, two different types are raised: the common, or production variety, which is larger than a mallard but has a typical duck conformation, and the much larger and more square standard variety. The production variety typically weighs 2.7 to 3.6 kilograms (6 to 8 pounds), while the standard breed weighs 4.1 to 5.4 kilograms (9 to 12 pounds).
Rouen ducks are distinguished from wild ducks by the presence of a second stripe across their face, just below the eye, while Rouen ducks have only one stripe across the eye.
Rouen Duck History
The breed was first bred in France, but it was not until it arrived in England in the 19th century that it was refined into the breed recognized today as the Rouen. The French version resembled a larger-than-average mallard, but through selective breeding, the British developed the show Rouen. The end product was a bird with a long and deep keel, boat-shaped profile, huge appearance, and refined markings, especially on the female.
It was used mainly as a roast bird; Although it produced 35 to 125 eggs per year, there were other breeds that were more reliable, with higher egg production. The eggs are typically white but can have blue and green tints. Rouen ducks, which are on display in exhibitions, have been known to crush their eggs if allowed to sit due to their enormous size. In 1861, Mrs. Beeton said about it:
The Rouen duck is a large and beautiful variety, of French origin. The plumage of the Rouen duck is somewhat somber; its meat is also much darker and, although more flavorful. The origin of the name is unknown. When they arrived in England, they were called Rhône, for the region of south-west-central France, Rohan, for the cardinal of that name, Roan, for the mixture of colors, and Rouen, for the city of northern France, and finally Rouen was adopted in both England and France. In France, they are called Rouen Foncé (dark) as opposed to Rouen Clair, which are lighter in color.
In 1850, D. W. Lincoln of Worcester, Massachusetts, introduced the first Rouens to the United States and used them as general farm ducks until they became popular as show birds. They were included in the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1874 and have since won many titles, often being top-ranked in the heavyweight class and competing well with other breeds.
Types of Rouen Ducks
We can distinguish light Rouen from dark Rouen, the latter being the result of the selection of the former by English breeders.
The pale Rouen duck is the result of the improvement of the blue duck by selection. This selection began in the Rouen region at the end of the 19th century and resulted in ducks weighing about 3.5 kilograms. But it was very quickly replaced by other races. From 1910 to 1920, under the impulse of a breeder named René Garry, the improvement of this duck was resumed with the crossing with the mallard. Animals weighing 4.5 kilograms were obtained, the breed standard was adopted in 1923. The duck lays eggs with a very light greenish shell, at least 80 grams, the pale Rouen is appreciated for its tasty meat, it is one of the best ducks.
The Dark Duck of Rouen
It is the result of the selection of the Rouen pale duck by English breeders. It differs from it by its darker color. It moves more slowly and with greater difficulty. The duck lays eggs of at least 80 grams with a greenish shell and various shades (whitish, bluish). The ducks weigh 3 and 3.5 kilograms respectively.
The Rouen duck is well known abroad, especially for its dark variety. It is inscribed on the list of affected animals by the Conservatory of Breeds of Normandy and Maine.
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