Duck Breed Information: Rouen Duck

A rouen duck in its natural environment

If you’re interested in raising poultry, you might want to know more about one of the oldest domesticated ducks – the Rouen Duck. This breed is known for its large size and a rich history that goes back hundreds of years. In this article, we will share with you everything you need to know about the Rouen duck, from its history and origin to its behavior and temperament, housing and feeding requirements, breeding, raising, and many more important details that will help you take care of this beautiful bird.

Appearance and Characteristics of Rouen Ducks

The Rouen duck is a large domestic duck breed that weighs between 8lbs to 10lbs and has a length of about 27-28 inches. They have a bulky appearance and are known for their striking beauty. The feathers of the Rouen duck are iridescent green, brown and black, giving them a unique and attractive look. They have a wide flat bill, reddish-brown eyes with a green tint, and their legs and feet are orange. Rouen ducks have a calm and gentle demeanor, which makes them a popular choice for those looking to raise them as pets.

In addition to their physical characteristics, Rouen ducks are also known for their excellent meat quality. Their meat is tender, juicy, and flavorful, making them a popular choice for culinary purposes. Rouen ducks are also good egg layers, producing up to 150-180 eggs per year. They are hardy birds and can adapt well to different climates, making them a suitable choice for backyard farming. Rouen ducks are also social animals and thrive in flocks, so it’s recommended to keep them in groups of at least two or more.

History and Origin of Rouen Ducks

The Rouen duck originated from France and is named after the northern region of Rouen in Normandy. These birds were originally bred for their delicious meat and were considered a delicacy in Europe. They were exported to England in the 18th century, and over time, they became popular for their exhibition qualities in both France and the United States.

Despite their popularity, Rouen ducks faced a decline in the 20th century due to the rise of industrial farming and the preference for faster-growing breeds. However, in recent years, there has been a renewed interest in preserving this breed, both for their meat and their ornamental value.

Rouen ducks are known for their distinctive appearance, with their iridescent green heads, deep chestnut-colored bodies, and bright orange feet. They are also known for their calm and docile temperament, making them a popular choice for backyard flocks and hobby farms.

Differentiating between Male and Female Rouen Ducks

Distinguishing between male and female Rouen ducks can be challenging, but there are a few characteristics that differentiate them. Male birds have a larger head, broader neck, and a deeper voice. They also have a curly feather on their tail, which the females don’t have. Finally, male Rouen ducks have a more pronounced green head iridescence than the females. This iridescence is only noticeable during breeding season, which is typically between fall and winter.

In addition to these physical characteristics, behavior can also be a clue in identifying male and female Rouen ducks. During breeding season, males will often display aggressive behavior towards other males and will court females by bobbing their head and flapping their wings. Females, on the other hand, tend to be more docile and will often be seen tending to their nests or caring for their young.

Rouen Duck Behavior and Temperament

Rouen ducks have a gentle and docile nature and are known for their calm temperament, making them good pets for families. They aren’t as active as other breeds, and they prefer spending their time foraging and waddling around in the garden. They’re sociable birds and get along with other poultry, making them ideal for keeping in flocks.

In addition to their calm temperament, Rouen ducks are also known for their intelligence. They can be trained to follow simple commands and can even learn to come when called. This makes them a fun and interactive pet for owners who enjoy spending time with their animals.

Another interesting aspect of Rouen duck behavior is their love for water. They enjoy swimming and bathing, and it’s important to provide them with a shallow pool or pond to keep them happy and healthy. Watching them splash around in the water can be a delightful sight for owners and visitors alike.

Housing Requirements for Rouen Ducks

The housing requirements for the Rouen duck are relatively simple. They need a dry and sturdy shelter that is well ventilated. It is recommended that you have one square foot of space per bird for indoor housing and two square feet of space per bird for outdoor housing.

In addition to providing adequate space and shelter, it is important to keep the housing area clean and dry. Rouen ducks are susceptible to respiratory infections, so it is crucial to maintain good air quality by regularly cleaning out bedding and ensuring proper ventilation. Additionally, providing a source of fresh water for swimming and drinking is essential for their health and well-being.

Feeding Rouen Ducks: Diet and Nutrition

The Rouen duck is omnivorous, which means they eat both meat and vegetables. They need a balanced diet that contains protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins, and you can feed them a mix of duck pellets, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and insects. Make sure that their food is not moldy or contaminated with bacteria, as this can cause harm or even death. It’s also essential to give them access to clean water for hydration and to help with digestion.

When feeding Rouen ducks, it’s important to consider their age and activity level. Young ducks require more protein for growth, while adult ducks need more carbohydrates for energy. If your ducks are active and spend a lot of time swimming or foraging, they may need more food than sedentary ducks. It’s also important to monitor their weight and adjust their diet accordingly to prevent obesity or malnutrition.

In addition to their regular diet, Rouen ducks can benefit from occasional treats such as mealworms, crickets, or small fish. These treats provide extra protein and can also serve as enrichment, keeping the ducks mentally stimulated and engaged. However, treats should be given in moderation and should not make up a significant portion of their diet.

Health Concerns for Rouen Ducks

Like all animals, Rouen ducks are susceptible to illnesses that can affect their health and lifespan. Some of the health problems that they may face are respiratory infections, feather mites, and bumblefoot. It’s essential to keep their environment clean and well-maintained to minimize the risk of diseases. Regular vet check-ups and keeping an eye on their behavior and appearance can also help to detect any issues early on.

In addition to the common health concerns mentioned above, Rouen ducks are also prone to certain genetic disorders. One such disorder is angel wing, which causes the wings to twist outwards and prevents the bird from flying. This condition can be prevented by providing a balanced diet and limiting the intake of high-calorie foods.

Rouen ducks are also at risk of developing egg-laying problems, such as egg binding and prolapse. These conditions can be caused by a lack of calcium in their diet or by stress. Providing a calcium supplement and ensuring that their nesting boxes are clean and comfortable can help to prevent these issues.

Breeding Rouen Ducks: Incubation and Hatching

If you’re interested in breeding Rouen ducks, there are a few things you need to know. Rouen ducks have a long reproductive season, which runs from fall to spring. The incubation period for their eggs is around 28 days, and the hatchlings are usually ready to leave the nest within a day or two. Keep in mind that breeding requires some specific and careful conditions to avoid any complications that may result in chick fatality and harm.

One important factor to consider when breeding Rouen ducks is the temperature and humidity levels during incubation. The ideal temperature for incubating Rouen duck eggs is between 99 and 101 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity level of around 55%. It’s also important to turn the eggs regularly to ensure proper development.

After the eggs hatch, it’s important to provide the ducklings with a warm and safe environment. A brooder box with a heat lamp is recommended, with the temperature gradually decreasing over time. It’s also important to provide them with clean water and a balanced diet to ensure healthy growth and development.

Raising Rouen Ducks: Care, Maintenance, and Training

Raising Rouen ducks requires care, time, and patience. You need to provide them with the right nutrition, a clean and spacious environment, and regular checkups to ensure they remain healthy. Some minimal maintenance of feathers, checking for lice and ticks, is necessary, however, and training is not required except when necessary. Training might come in handy if you want to show your duck in exhibitions, as you need to train and transport the bird to the exhibition’s location.

It is important to note that Rouen ducks are social animals and thrive in groups. If you plan on raising Rouen ducks, it is recommended to have at least two or more ducks to keep each other company. Additionally, Rouen ducks are known for their calm and friendly temperament, making them great pets for families with children. However, it is important to supervise children around the ducks to ensure they are not accidentally harmed or stressed.

Uses of Rouen Ducks in Today’s World

The uses of Rouen ducks in today’s world may vary. They’re still raised for meat and eggs production, but they’re also increasingly being kept as pets for their calm nature and beauty. Additionally, their feathers are used for ornamental purposes, and their manure can be used as fertilizer. Rouen ducks are also used for showing in poultry exhibitions, a practice that has grown more popular in recent years.

Another use of Rouen ducks is in conservation efforts. Due to their hardiness and adaptability, they have been introduced to areas where native waterfowl populations have declined. Rouen ducks have been successful in restoring wetland habitats and improving water quality in these areas. They also serve as a food source for predators, helping to maintain a balanced ecosystem.

Comparison of Rouen Ducks with other Duck Breeds

While there are many duck breeds out there, the Rouen duck distinguishes itself with its beauty, calm temperament, and excellent meat and egg production. It shares similarities with other domestic duck breeds like the Pekin duck, which is known for its meat production and docile nature, and the Muscovy duck, which is also raised for meat production and often kept for its ornamental qualities. Overall, if you’re looking for a large and beautiful domestic duck breed, the Rouen duck is an excellent choice.

One notable difference between the Rouen duck and other domestic duck breeds is its coloring. While Pekin ducks are typically all white and Muscovy ducks have a unique feather pattern, Rouen ducks have a striking iridescent green head, a deep chestnut brown body, and a white ring around their necks. This makes them a popular choice for ornamental purposes as well as for meat and egg production.


In conclusion, the Rouen duck is a striking bird that has lasted for centuries due to its beauty and utility beyond just ornamental purposes. It is straightforward to maintain, calm and gentle in nature, and offers a variety of uses from meat and eggs production to exhibition and ornamental purposes. If you’re considering raising poultry and want a larger breed that’s beautiful, docile, and will impress your visitors, the Rouen duck may just be the ideal choice for you.

Furthermore, the Rouen duck is known for its adaptability to different environments and climates. They can thrive in both cold and warm weather conditions, making them a suitable choice for poultry farmers in various regions. Additionally, Rouen ducks are excellent foragers and can find their food in the wild, reducing the cost of feeding them.

However, it’s important to note that Rouen ducks require adequate space to roam and access to water for swimming. They also need protection from predators such as foxes and raccoons. Therefore, it’s essential to provide them with a secure and spacious enclosure to ensure their safety and well-being.

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