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Use: The Belgian Bearded d’Uccle (pronounced dew-clay) is a bantam chicken breed primarily used for exhibition, though hens are modest layers of small, creamy-white eggs, averaging two to three per week. The breed makes fantastic broody hens that happily hatch any eggs placed under them.
History: Belgian chicken fancier Michel Van Gelder developed the Belgian Bearded d’Uccle chicken breed in the late 1800s. The breed is named for Van Gelder’s home, the small municipality of Uccle, located near Brussels, Belgium. Poultry historians believe Van Gelder crossed another Belgian chicken breed, the rose-combed Antwerp Bearded Bantam, with a single-combed Dutch Sabelpoots Bantam to produce a compact, booted bantam with a small single comb and a beard. The Mille Fleur variety of Belgian Bearded d’Uccle was accepted into the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1914.
Conformation: The Belgian Bearded d’Uccle is a majestic, bearded, heavily feather-legged bantam chicken breed. It is similar to the Booted Bantam, with the addition of beard and muffs. Roosters weigh 26 ounces and hens weigh 22 ounces. The breed comes in a range of APA-recognized colors, including Mille Fleur, Black, White, Blue, Mottled, Golden Neck and Porcelain. The oldest variety and the one most associated with the breed is Mille Fleur, a name meaning “one-thousand flowers.” Mille Fleur Belgian Bearded d’Uccles are a rich, golden mahogany brown, and every feather is marked with a black spangle and a v-shaped white tip.
Special Considerations/Notes: Belgian Bearded d’Uccle chickens are easygoing, sweet birds that bear confinement well, but they’re also excellent free-range foragers. Because of their fancy feathering, they don’t do well in wet or snowy conditions. They’re strong fliers and require tall fencing when kept in pens.