Rouen Duck: Breed Profile, Traits, Pictures & More

Rouen ducks in a group

Rouen ducks are a popular breed known for their adaptability and charming appearance. They look a lot like Mallards with their colorful feathers, but they are bigger and have their own unique qualities.

People mainly raise them for their tasty meat, but they also lay eggs, just not as many as some other ducks. They are seen as one of the most popular heavyweight duck breeds and are also used as show birds.

This guide explores every aspect of Rouen ducks, from their history and appearance to their care and potential challenges. If you’re thinking about raising them or just want to learn more about this breed, keep reading!

Rouen Duck Breed Overview

Scientific Name:Anas platyrhynchos domesticus
Purpose:Ornamental, dual-purpose (meat and eggs)
Weight:Standard Rouen: 9–10 pounds; 
Production Rouen: 7–8 pounds
Lifespan:8–12 years
Diet:Omnivorous, eats grains, insects, aquatic plants, and small invertebrates
Egg Production:Standard Rouen: 35–125 eggs per year; 
Production Rouen: 140–180 eggs per year
Temperament:Docile, calm, easygoing
Price Range:$3 to $18 per duckling

What Is a Rouen Duck?

Rouen duck isolated on an open space

The Rouen duck is a domesticated, heavyweight bird primarily bred for meat. Originating from France, they look a lot like wild Mallard ducks but are larger in size and have brighter colors. They are also kept for exhibitions and as ornamental pets.

These ducks are known for their calm and easygoing nature, which makes them suitable for domestic settings. They are not prolific egg layers, but their meat is highly sought after for its quality and taste.

Because of their adaptability and suitability for both backyard keeping and farm living, Rouen ducks are a popular choice among poultry enthusiasts.

See the following video to learn more about these adorable ducks:

Rouen Ducks Explained

Rouen Duck Origin and History

The history of Rouen ducks traces back to France, specifically in the city of Rouen in Normandy.

They were carefully bred by combining wild Mallard ducks with domestic farm ducks. The goal was to create a larger, meatier duck that would be better suited for farming.

In 1850, Rouen ducks were introduced to the United States, where they quickly became popular farm ducks. They were then officially recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) in 1874.

Today, these ducks remain one of the most beloved heavyweight duck breeds in the world. Many people raise them for exhibition and their meat.

Their meat is a popular choice, especially in Europe, where duck is a common dish.

Rouen Duck Appearance and Size

Rouen duck floating in the water

Rouen ducks are well-known for their impressive size and beautiful appearance. They come in two sizes: the standard variety and the production variety.

Standard Rouens are larger, often weighing up to 10 pounds, while production Rouens are slightly smaller and weigh around 7 to 8 pounds.

Moreover, there is a striking difference between male and female Rouens. Male Rouen ducks are easier to identify with their deep yellow bills and more colorful plumage.

They sport bright green heads, brown chests, and a white ring around their necks. Their bodies are a soft gray with bright blue speculum feathers on their wings.

Female Rouens, on the other hand, are more subtle in appearance but equally charming.

They are covered in mottled brown feathers, which pair beautifully with their brown bills and orange feet. Similar to males, they also have a blue patch on their wings.

Rouen Duck Temperament and Behavior

Rouens are known for their calm and gentle temperament. They are easygoing birds that adapt well to various settings, making them easy to take care of.

These ducks are generally friendly, and they enjoy interacting not only with their kind but also with people and other animals.

Moreover, they are quite laid-back and don’t make a lot of noise. This makes them fit nicely on a farm or in a backyard.

Their behavior is largely influenced by their environment, and they thrive best when given enough space to swim, roam, and forage.

However, it’s worth noting that male Rouens can sometimes become protective, especially when guarding their territory or a nesting female.

But overall, Rouen ducks are gentle and an excellent choice as pets or farm animals.

Rouen Duck Egg Color and Production

Newly hatched Rouen duckling

While Rouen ducks are mostly known for their meat, they also lay pretty interesting eggs.

Their eggs are usually white, but you might find some that have a green or blue tint. This adds a touch of novelty to your typical egg basket.

When it comes to laying eggs, Rouen ducks have a varied output. Standard Rouens can lay up to 125 eggs a year, but many produce only between 35 and 50 eggs annually.

In contrast, production Rouens are more prolific in their egg-laying. They can produce around 140 to 180 eggs per year, which makes them a more reliable source of eggs.

In terms of size, the eggs are usually big, just like the Rouen ducks themselves. So, if you’re thinking of raising ducks for meat and occasional egg production, Rouens could be a good choice.

They give you nice meat, and you get the bonus of having some unique and large eggs as well!

Rouen Duck Care Guide

Taking care of your Rouen duck requires dedication and the right environment. Their health and happiness depend a lot on the way they are raised and cared for.

Providing them with proper housing, nutrition, and enrichment ensures they thrive. Below are some guidelines to help you provide the best care for your Rouen duck.

Lifespan and Health

Rouen ducks are known for their hardiness and typically have a lifespan of 8 to 12 years. They are generally healthy, but due to their large size and inability to fly, they are prone to bumblefoot.

This condition occurs when they cut their feet on rough surfaces, which leads to infections.

A friend of mine who raises Rouen ducks often encountered this issue and shared some valuable tips with me. She emphasized the effectiveness of Epsom salt soaks in treating bumblefoot.

In addition to maintaining clean living conditions and soft bedding, she found that regular foot checks and these soothing soaks were crucial to her ducks’ recovery.

Regular health check-ups and timely vaccinations are also essential to prevent diseases and ensure they live healthy, long lives.

Diet and Nutrition

A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients is essential for Rouen ducks. Including a mix of grains, fresh vegetables, and protein sources like insects and worms helps them thrive.

While it might be tempting to feed them chicken feed, it’s not the best choice because it lacks enough niacin that ducks need.

If you do use chicken feed, make sure it’s unmedicated and add niacin supplements like brewer’s yeast to their feed.

Keeping their meals diverse and full of the right nutrients will help your Rouen ducks grow strong and healthy.

Housing and Enrichment

Rouen ducks need a comfortable and safe place to call home. A well-protected coop that shields them from predators and harsh weather is essential.

Due to their large size, each duck should have at least 4 to 5 square feet of space in the duck house to allow them to rest without crowding each other.

For enrichment, consider adding a pond or kiddie pool. Ducks love water, and this will allow them to swim and clean themselves, which is vital for their well-being.

Providing areas in their enclosure for exploration and foraging also makes a big difference in how healthy and content they are overall. Make sure that each duck has a minimum of 15 square feet of outdoor space.

How Much Does a Rouen Duck Cost?

Rouen duck on the grass

The cost of Rouen ducks varies based on factors like age, gender, quantity, and where you buy them.

Generally, unsexed ducks cost between $4 and $10 each. Males can range from $3 to $8, and females from $5 to $18. Prices decrease as the quantity increases.

You can find Rouen ducks at local farms, hatcheries, or online stores like Metzer Farms, McMurray Hatchery, and Hoover’s Hatchery. Sometimes, people also sell them on online marketplaces or in classified ads.

When buying online, it’s essential to research and select a reputable seller to ensure you are getting healthy, well-bred ducks.

Keep in mind that prices can change based on the season, availability, and whether it’s the standard or production variety you’re after.

Overall, Rouen ducks are an attractive and relatively affordable choice for those interested in raising ducks for meat, eggs, or ornamental purposes.

Pros and Cons of Raising Rouen Ducks

Raising Rouen ducks can be quite enjoyable, thanks to their delicious meat, large eggs, and attractive looks. However, like any endeavor, it comes with its own set of challenges and considerations.

To start off, here are some of the pros of raising these charming ducks:

  • Easy to handle: Because of their calm and friendly nature, Rouen ducks are easy to manage. Their gentle disposition makes them suitable for families and those new to raising ducks.
  • Appearance: Rouen ducks are not only vibrant and attractive, but they also make excellent show birds due to their colorful plumage and impressive size.
  • High meat production: Rouen ducks are primarily raised for meat. They have large bodies and are known for their delicious, tender, and flavorful meat.
  • Cold hardiness: Cold weather doesn’t seem to bother Rouen ducks at all. With their thick layer of fat and feathers that keep them warm, they are able to thrive in a variety of settings.

While Rouen ducks have plenty of positives, there are also a few challenges that come with them. Here are some of the potential drawbacks to raising them:

  • Size: The large size of Rouen ducks can be an issue for some keepers. It makes them more prone to conditions like bumblefoot and limits their ability to escape predators.
  • Late maturity: Rouen ducks take around 6 to 8 months to mature, which is longer than many other duck breeds. This slower maturity rate affects when they start laying eggs and are ready for meat production.
  • Low egg production: Rouen ducks are not prolific egg layers. Their egg production is lower compared to other duck breeds. This makes them less suitable for those raising ducks for eggs.
  • Space requirements: Rouen ducks need ample space, which can be a problem for those without enough room. Ensuring they have sufficient space is crucial for their health and happiness.

By weighing these pros and cons, you’ll be better equipped to decide if Rouen ducks are a good fit for your poultry-raising journey.

Regardless of whether you decide to add Rouen ducks to your flock or explore other duck breeds, doing your due diligence is the first step towards creating a happy and thriving environment for your feathered friends.

Frequently Asked Questions

Rouen duck in a river

What Is the Difference Between a Mallard and a Rouen Duck?

Rouen ducks and Mallards look a lot alike, but there are some differences. Rouens are bigger and heavier than Mallards.

Mallards are wild ducks that can fly really well, while Rouen are domesticated ducks that are more used to living on farms and don’t fly as much.

Furthermore, Rouens have brighter and more colorful feathers compared to Mallards.

Can Rouen Ducks Survive in the Wild?

Because Rouen ducks are domestic birds, they are not really made for living in the wild. Unlike wild ducks, Rouen ducks rely heavily on human care for food and protection.

In the wild, they wouldn’t know how to take care of themselves or stay safe from predators. So, Rouen ducks are best suited for a home where they are cared for and protected.

What Are the Different Types of Rouen Ducks?

There are two main types of Rouen ducks: the standard Rouen and the production Rouen.

The standard Rouen is larger and primarily used for exhibition, while the production Rouen is more common and is mainly raised for meat due to its smaller size and higher egg production.

Both types share similar physical appearances but differ in their primary purposes and physical size.

How Cold Is Too Cold for Rouen Ducks?

Rouen ducks are tough birds that handle cold weather pretty well. Thanks to their thick body fat and soft down under their waterproof feathers, they can keep their bodies warm.

However, if it gets below 20°F, it becomes too cold for them. In such temperatures, they are at risk of frostbite and other cold-related issues.

Hence, it’s best to give them warm shelter and proper care to keep them healthy during colder seasons.

Final Thoughts

Rouen ducks are truly special birds that bring a blend of beauty and utility to the table. They are friendly, adaptable, and a joy to raise, which makes them a great choice for both new and experienced poultry keepers.

However, it’s essential to understand their specific needs, from diet and housing to health and overall care. Armed with the right knowledge, you can ensure that your Rouen ducks thrive and live happy, healthy lives.

We hope this article has been helpful and informative in guiding you on how to care for these amazing ducks. Do you have any thoughts or experiences with Rouen ducks? Please feel free to leave a comment below!

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