Belgian (Barbu) D’Uccle Bantams

Above: Mille Fleur Barbu D’Uccle Bantam Cockerel

The Belgian d’Uccle (pronounced ‘dew-clay’ and also known as the ‘Barbu d’Uccle’) is a beautiful chicken breed. It is one of the few ‘true’ bantam breeds. A true bantam is a miniature bird that has no larger counterpart. The true bantam breeds category also includes Sebrights, Seramas, Japanese, Dutch and Booted Bantams…

Above: Mille Fleur Belgian Barbu D’Uccle Bantam Cockerel

Physical Characteristics

D’Uccle Weight

D’Uccle roosters weigh  26 ounces (740 grams) and d’Uccle hens weigh 22 ounces (625 grams). Weights given are according to the breed’s standard.

Barbu D’Uccle vs Booted Bantam

D’Uccles and Booted Bantams are very similar at a glance but are very different. The easiest way to tell the difference is to look for a ‘beard’. D’Uccles have tiny (if any) wattles and a fluffy beard. However, booted Bantams have big wattles and no beard. However, d’Uccles have a different build/shape when compared with Booted Bantams. Also, d’Uccles are usually shorter and a little thicker (although both breeds weigh the same). The Booted Bantam is the oldest of the two breeds and was legalized in 1879 (35 years before the d’Uccle).

Plumage

D’Uccles are most famous for the Mille Fleur color variation. However, d’Uccles come in many colors (though some are not yet recognized by the American Poultry Association). D’Uccles are among the few breeds where vulture hocks are standard. (Vulture hocks are long, stiff feathers that protrude from the outer side of the thigh. They are often parallel with the wings and point towards the ground). In most breeds (such as brahmas and Cochins), vulture hocks are an undesirable trait. However, they are standard for Sultans, Booted Bantams as well as D’Uccles.

Above: Mille Fleur Belgian Barbu D’Uccle Bantam Cockerel

APA (American Poultry Association) Recognized Colors:

  • Black
  • White
  • Golden Neck
  • Mille Fleur
  • Mottled
  • Porcelain
  • Self Blue (aka: Lavender).

ABA (American Bantam Association) Recognized Colors

  • Black
  • White
  • Blue
  • Buff
  • Grey
  • Golden Neck
  • Mille Fleur
  • Mottled
  • Porcelain
  • Self-Blue (aka: Lavender).

Colors that are not yet Recognized in America Include:

  • Lemon
  • Cuckoo/Barred
  • Blue/Buff Mille Fleur (Mille Fleur with a buff base and blue in place of black)
  • Golden Neck
  • Ermine
  • Silver
  • Red
  • Silver Partridge
  • Mahogany Mille Fleur (same color variation as the Speckled Sussex)
  • Silver Porcelain
  • Blue Lemon
Above: Mille Fleur Belgian Barbu D’Uccle Bantam Cockerel

More About the Mille Fleur Color Variation

Mille Fleur is a unique color pattern seen in several breeds. It is known under different names when seen in different breeds (such as Speckled Sussexes and Jubilee Orpingtons). However, different breeds often have a slightly different mille fleur color pattern (Sussexes have a strong, mahogany base while d’Uccles usually have a red/buff base). The general definition of ‘Mille Fleur’ is a red, brown or buff backdrop (base) with iridescent black bands in the middle of each feather and white markings on the tip each feather. However, though less common, other color variations of the pattern are sometimes seen. Mille fleur is a variable color  pattern and may appear slightly different on each individual bird. This makes telling the difference between birds of the same breed not as difficult (particularly on non-related birds). Mille Fleur chickens’ white markings often spread with age. For this reason, older Mille Fleur chickens often appear more boldly white, while the younger ones appear more of their base color.

Above: Mille Fleur Belgian Barbu D’Uccle Bantam Cockerel

D’Uccle History

The Barbu d’Uccle was first bred by Micheal Van Gelder of Uccle, Belgium (likely somewhere between 1890-1900). The ‘d’ in front of ‘Uccle’ means ‘of’ or ‘from’ Uccle’. However, in Belgium, the ‘d’ is left out, leaving ‘Uccle’ (pronounced oo-clay). Some breeders believe that Belgian d’Uccles where bred from Dutch Booted Sabelpoot Bantams and Antwerp Bearded Bantams. Both breeds are similar but older. The first D’Uccle color variation accepted by the American Poultry Association was the ‘Mille Fleur’ color variation (1914).

Above: Mille Fleur Belgian Barbu D’Uccle Bantam Cockerel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *