Barbu d’Uccle Chickens Breed Guide – History, Care, Breeding and More

Do you want to know all about Belgian Barbu d’Uccle chickens? This small bantam breed is known for its friendly temperament, beautiful appearance, and ease of care. 

Whether you are an experienced poultry enthusiast or a first-time chicken owner, the Barbu d’Uccle breed will certainly capture your heart.

This all-inclusive guide covers everything you need to know about raising Barbu d’Uccles, including their history, care, breeding, and where to purchase them.”

By the end of this article, you will have all the information you need to raise and care for these delightful birds successfully.

So, let’s dive in and learn more about the fascinating world of Barbu d’Uccle chickens!

History and Origin of Barbu d’Uccle Chickens

Barbu d’Uccle chickens are a breed of bantam chickens that originated in Belgium in the late 19th century. 

The Barbu d’Uccle means “bearded from Uccle,” a town near Brussels where Michael Van Gelder developed the breed. 

He crossed various bantam breeds, such as Antwerp Belgian, Dutch Booted, and Sabelpoot, to create a small, feather-legged chicken with a full beard and muffs.

The Barbu d’Uccle was first exhibited in 1894 and soon became popular in Europe and America. The American Poultry Association recognized the breed in 1914, followed by the British Poultry Standards in 1915.

There are many color varieties of Barbu d’Uccle, but the most common and original one is the Mille Fleur, which means “a thousand flowers” in French. 

The Mille Fleur has a reddish-brown base color with black and white speckles on each feather, giving it a striking appearance.

The breed rapidly rose to popularity across Europe and made its way to the United States in the early 1900s.

Today, Barbu d’Uccles are a popular choice for backyard flocks due to their friendly nature, attractive appearance, and small size, which makes them ideal for urban and suburban settings.

Lifespan of Barbu d’Uccle Chickens

Lifespan of Barbu d'Uccle Chickens
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The lifespan of Barbu d’Uccle chickens depends on several factors, such as genetics, diet, health, environment, and care. Generally speaking, bantam chickens tend to live longer than standard-sized chickens because they have less stress on their organs and bones. 

However, they are also more vulnerable to predators and diseases, especially if they are kept outdoors. The average lifespan of Barbu d’Uccle chickens is about 8 to 10 years, but some individuals may live longer or shorter depending on their circumstances. 

To ensure a long and healthy life for your Barbu d’Uccle chickens, you should provide them with a balanced diet, fresh water, and clean and spacious housing. 

Additionally, protection from predators and weather extremes, regular veterinary check-ups, and social interaction with other chickens and humans is essential.

Characteristics and Features of Barbu d’Uccle Chickens

The Barbu d’Uccle is a small and compact breed of chicken with a distinct appearance that distinguishes it from other breeds.

They are characterized by their full beard and muffs, which give them a distinctive and charming look. Their short, sturdy legs are covered in feathers, and their small size makes them easy to handle and care for.

Barbu d’Uccles are also known for their beautiful plumage, which comes in various colors and patterns. They have a single comb, which is small and evenly serrated, and their wattles are relatively short. Their eyes are large, bright, and expressive, giving them a curious and alert appearance.

Temperament of Barbu d’Uccle Chickens

Barbu d’Uccles are renowned for their gentle and docile nature, making them a favorite among families and those new to raising poultry. They are generally easy to handle and enjoy being around humans, often seeking attention and affection.

These gentle birds are also known to get along well with other chickens in a mixed flock, making them a great addition to any backyard poultry setup. 

However, due to their small size, monitoring them closely in a mixed flock is essential to ensure larger birds do not bully them.

Color Varieties of Barbu d’Uccle Chickens

Porcelain Barbu d'Uccle
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Barbu d’Uccle chickens, also known as Belgian Bearded d’Uccle, are a breed of bantam chickens known for their beautiful feathered legs and small size. 

While several recognized color varieties exist, the American Poultry Association (APA) officially accepts seven for exhibition purposes. These seven recognized varieties are:

Black: This variety features solid black feathers throughout the body, including the head, neck, back, wings, and tail. The feathered legs are also black.

Golden Neck: The Golden Neck variety showcases a golden or straw-colored neck and hackle feathers, while the rest of the body is black. The feathered legs are typically black.

Mille Fleur: Mille Fleur, which translates to “thousand flowers” in French, is characterized by a base color of reddish-brown with black markings. The body is covered in a pattern of small, intricate black spots, resembling a floral pattern. The feathered legs are usually bluish-gray.

Mottled: Mottled Barbu d’Uccle chickens exhibit a black and white speckled or mottled pattern throughout their plumage. The mottling can be irregular and is often seen as a combination of black and white feathers. The feathered legs are typically bluish-gray.

Porcelain: The Porcelain variety features a light gray or lavender-blue base color, with white or pale blue lacing on the feathers. The feathered legs are usually bluish-gray.

Self Blue: Also known as Lavender, the Self Blue variety has a uniform, soft blue-gray color throughout the body, including the feathers and the feathered legs.

White: The White variety is characterized by pure white feathers covering the entire body, including the head, neck, back, wings, and tail. The feathered legs are typically bluish-gray.

The APA officially accepts these seven recognized color varieties for exhibition purposes. However, it’s worth noting that there may be other non-recognized or rare color varieties of Barbu d’Uccle chickens, which may vary in appearance and availability based on regional or breeder preferences.

Weight and Size of Barbu d’Uccle Rooster and Hen

The Barbu d’Uccle, or Belgian Bearded d’Uccle, is a bantam breed of chicken known for its small size. Here are the average weights and sizes of Barbu d’Uccle roosters, hens, and baby chicks:

Barbu d’Uccle roosters typically weigh between 24 ounces (680 grams) and 28 ounces (794 grams).

They have a compact and rounded body shape with a short back. On average, they reach a height of around 9-10 inches (23-25 cm) from the ground to the top of their comb.

Barbu d’Uccle hens generally weigh between 22 ounces (624 grams) and 26 ounces (737 grams).

Like the roosters, hens have a compact, rounded body shape with a short back. They also have a similar height of around 9-10 inches (23-25 cm) from the ground to the top of their comb.

Barbu d’Uccle chicks are tiny and lightweight compared to other chicken breeds. They typically weigh between 0.5 ounces (14 grams) and 1 ounce (28 grams) at hatching.

Barbu d’Uccle chicks are tiny at hatching, measuring around 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) in height. Consequently, they require special care and attention to ensure they grow and develop properly.

Appearance of Barbu d’Uccle Chickens

Appearance of Barbu d'Uccle Chickens
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The Barbu d’Uccle chickens have distinct characteristics in their appearance, including feather type, body shape, wattles, comb type and color, ear lobe color, and leg and toes details. Here’s a detailed description of these features:

Barbu d’Uccle chickens have soft and fluffy feathers. They have a compact and rounded body shape. They have a short back, with their body tapering towards the tail. Their overall body structure is petite and bantam-sized.

The wattles of Barbu d’Uccle chickens are small and rounded. Wattles are fleshy, lobe-like appendages that hang down on either side of the chicken’s head, below the beak. In Barbu d’Uccles, the wattles are generally small and not particularly prominent.

Barbu d’Uccle chickens have a small, single comb. The single comb is a thin, fleshy ridge on the chicken’s head. It consists of a single row of points or spikes. The color of the comb is typically red, matching the wattles and other fleshy parts of the head.

The ear lobes of Barbu d’Uccle chickens are relatively small and round. The color of the ear lobes can vary depending on the color variety of the chicken. 

For example, the ear lobes are typically red or red-white in the recognized color varieties, such as Black, Golden Neck, Mille Fleur, Mottled, Porcelain, Self Blue, and White.

Barbu d’Uccle chickens have feathered legs, which means their legs are covered with large fluffy feathers. The feathers extend down the feet and toes, giving them a heavily feathered appearance. 

The color of the legs and toes of Barbu d’Uccle chickens can vary depending on the color variety. Standard leg and toe colors in Barbu d’Uccles include bluish-gray or bluish-white. Thus, you can expect to see some variation in leg and toe color among different Barbu d’Uccle chickens.

Barbu d’Uccle Hens Egg Production

Belgian Barbu d’Uccle hens usually begin laying eggs at around 6 to 7 months old, although this can vary slightly among individual hens.

The egg production of Barbu d’Uccle hens is considered moderate, with hens laying an average of 150 to 200 small-sized eggs per year.

The eggs laid by Barbu d’Uccle hens come in a variety of colors. The egg color can vary depending on the individual hen and the color variety.

The most common egg color is cream or tinted, but it can also include light brown, beige, or even pale blue shades.

In terms of size, the eggs of Barbu d’Uccle hens are relatively small due to their bantam size. On average, the eggs are small to medium, weighing around 1 to 1.5 ounces (28 to 42 grams).

Barbu d’Uccle hens tend to go broody, which means they have a strong maternal instinct to incubate eggs and raise chicks. 

This broodiness can interrupt their laying frequency, as broody hens will stop laying eggs for some time. 

When not broody, Barbu d’Uccle hens typically lay eggs regularly, with a laying frequency of around 2 to 3 eggs per week. Therefore, you can expect to collect a few eggs from your Barbu d’Uccle hens each week.

Belgian Barbu d’Uccle Rooster Vs. Hen Chart

Belgian Barbu d'Uccle Rooster Vs. Hen Chart
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CharacteristicRoosterHen
SizeSlightly larger and more upright stanceSlightly smaller and more compact
FeatheringExtravagant and showy featheringFeathers are generally less elaborate
CombLarger, more prominent combSmaller, less pronounced comb
WattlesLarger and more developed wattlesSmaller wattles
Spur developmentProminent spurs on legsNo or smaller spurs
Behavioral traitsCan be more assertive and protectiveGenerally less aggressive or dominant
CrowingLoud and distinctive crowing soundNo crowing
Egg productionDoes not lay eggsLays small to medium-sized eggs
BroodinessNot broodyCan be broody

Raising Barbu d’Uccle Chickens – Housing and Environment

When it comes to housing Belgian Barbu d’Uccle chickens, it’s essential to provide bantams with a safe and comfortable coop and run that meets their needs. 

The coop should provide enough space for the number of Barbu d’Uccle chickens you have. They are bantam-sized and require less space than larger chicken breeds. 

A good starting point for coop space is to provide at least 2-3 square feet per chicken. However, it’s always better to provide more space if possible.

Good ventilation is crucial to maintaining a healthy environment inside the coop. Ensure the coop is equipped with windows or vents that can be adjusted to allow fresh air to circulate while keeping drafts out and protecting the chickens.

Provide nesting boxes inside the coop for the hens to lay their eggs. Each nesting box should be about 12×12 inches and filled with clean bedding material, such as straw or shavings.

Barbu d’Uccle chickens enjoy roosting. Install roosting bars inside the coop for them to perch on. The bars should be about 2-3 feet above the ground and spaced adequately to allow all the chickens to roost comfortably.

The run should provide at least 8-10 square feet per chicken. However, more space is always better to promote exercise and reduce the risk of aggression among the flock.

Secure the run with sturdy fencing to keep predators out and prevent the chickens from escaping. Ensure the fencing extends underground or has a buried wire skirt to deter digging predators.

Including features in the run is important to keep the chickens entertained and stimulated. This can include perches, dust bathing areas, scattered treats, or foraging materials to encourage natural behaviors.

Therefore, providing environmental enrichment can help promote the well-being of your Barbu d’Uccle chickens.

Feeding and Nutrition for Belgian d’Uccle Chickens

Here are a few feeding and nutrition-giving guides:

Provide a starter feed for chicks up to 8 weeks. Afterward, transition to a grower or developer feed until they reach maturity at around 20 weeks. 

Once they reach maturity, switch to a layer feed with higher calcium levels to support egg production in hens.

You can supplement their diet with treats, but offering them in moderation is essential. Treats can include fresh fruits, vegetables, mealworms, or small grains. 

Avoid giving them sugary or salty treats and foods toxic to chickens, such as chocolate or avocado.

Always provide clean and fresh water for your Barbu d’Uccle bantams. Ensure that the water containers are kept clean and free from debris.

Bantam chickens, like Barbu d’Uccles, require grit to aid in the digestion of their food. Provide a separate container with coarse grit or crushed oyster shells for them to consume as needed.

Barbu d’Uccle bantams enjoy foraging and can benefit from free-ranging in a safe and supervised environment.

Allow them access to fresh grass, bugs, and other natural elements, as it can provide additional nutrients and enrichment.

It is important to monitor the body condition of your Barbu d’Uccle chickens to ensure they are neither underweight nor overweight. Consequently, you should adjust the amount of feed based on their needs and consult a poultry nutritionist or veterinarian if necessary.

Care Guide For The Belgian Barbu d’Uccle Bantam Chickens

Caring for Belgian Barbu d’Uccle bantam chickens involves proper housing, nutrition, health care, and attention to their needs. 

Here is a guide to help you care for your Barbu d’Uccle bantams:

Housing: Provide a secure and well-ventilated coop and run. The coop should have enough space for them to move comfortably and roost. Include nesting boxes with clean bedding for egg-laying. 

The run should be fenced to protect them from predators and have adequate space for foraging and exercise.

Feeding and Nutrition: Feed them high-quality commercial poultry feed formulated for bantams or small breeds. Offer age-specific feeds such as starter, grower, and layer feeds at different stages of their life. 

Supplement their diet with treats like fresh fruits, vegetables, and mealworms in moderation. Provide clean water, offer grit and calcium supplements for digestion and eggshell formation.

Health Care: Monitor their health regularly. Watch for signs of illness, parasites, or injuries. Keep their living area clean and maintain good hygiene to prevent diseases. 

Consult a veterinarian specializing in poultry if you notice any health concerns or need advice on vaccinations or deworming.

Socialization: Barbu d’Uccle bantams are social birds and provide companionship by keeping them in small flocks. 

Ensure they have enough space to interact without overcrowding. Spend time with them, handle them gently, and allow them to develop trust and familiarity with humans.

Predator Protection: Protect your Barbu d’Uccle bantams from predators such as dogs, raccoons, and birds of prey. 

Secure their coop, run with sturdy fencing, and bury wire mesh to prevent digging. Close the coop securely at night to keep them safe from nocturnal predators.

Environmental Enrichment: Provide environmental enrichment to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. 

This can include perches, dust-bathing areas, and objects for pecking and scratching. Allow them access to natural elements like grass, shrubs, and bugs for foraging.

Regular Observation: Spend time noticing your Barbu d’Uccle bantams daily. This allows you to notice changes in behavior, appetite, or health. Early detection of issues can help prevent more severe problems.

Remember, each chicken is an individual, and their needs may vary. Pay attention to their behavior and adjust their care accordingly. 

By providing proper housing, nutrition, health care, and attention, you can ensure the well-being and happiness of your Belgian Barbu d’Uccle bantam chickens.

FAQs About The Belgian d’Uccle Bantams

Why Are Barbu d’Uccle Called Belgian D’Uccle?

Barbu d’Uccles are also known as Belgian D’Uccles because they originate from Uccle, a suburb of Brussels in Belgium. The name “Barbu” refers to their characteristic beard and muffs, which are feathers that grow around their face.

What Is the Use of Raising Barbu d’Uccles?

Raising Barbu d’Uccles is popular among backyard flock owners due to several reasons. Firstly, they have a friendly and docile temperament, making them suitable for families and children. 

Secondly, they have a unique and visually appealing appearance with their extravagant feathering, making them desirable as ornamental birds. Lastly, while their eggs are small in size, they are known to be delicious and can contribute to a self-sustaining flock.

How Often Do Barbu d’Uccles Bantams Go Broody?

Barbu d’Uccles, like many other bantam breeds, tend to go broody. Broodiness is the instinct to incubate eggs and raise chicks. The frequency of broodiness can vary between individual flocks.

But Barbu d’Uccles exhibit broody behavior relatively frequently compared to some other chicken breeds. This makes them good candidates for hatching and raising their chicks.

What Is the Difference Between Barbu d’Uccle and D’Uccle Bantams?

There is no actual difference between Barbu d’Uccle and D’Uccle Bantams. Both terms refer to the same breed of chicken. “Barbu” is a French word meaning “bearded,” which describes the breed’s distinctive beard and muffs.

“D’Uccle” refers to the breed’s association with Uccle, Belgium. So, Barbu d’Uccle and D’Uccle Bantams are alternative names for the same breed of chickens.

Conclusion

Raising Barbu d’Uccle chickens can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for poultry enthusiasts of all experience levels. Belgian Barbu d’Uccle Bantam chickens are a captivating breed with a rich history and endearing characteristics. 

While their eggs may be small, they are highly regarded for their delectable taste. Additionally, their inclination towards broodiness presents an opportunity for hatching and raising chicks. 

You can experience the joy of these charming bantams in your backyard by providing appropriate housing, balanced nutrition, and attentive care. The Belgian Barbu d’Uccle Bantams offer poultry enthusiasts a delightful and rewarding experience.

Bijaya Kumar
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