The Rouen Duck is an odd duck. Not so much in the way it looks, but the fact that it is somehow managed to retain popularity for so many years. You see, this is a duck that is simply not productive at all.
The only people who want to own the Rouen Duck, or raise the Rouen ducklings, is because they are looking for something to add a touch of pizzazz to their backyard, or maybe because they are heading to shows.
On this page, we are going to take a little look at this breed. That way you can get a feel for what it brings to the table. You may end up liking it!
Where Did the French Name Come From?
The Rouen duck was likely bred from the Mallard duck at some point in 17th or 18th Century France. However, it wasn’t named the Rouen duck at this point. It likely wasn’t even seen as a distinct breed.
At some point in the 19th Century, the duck made its way over to the United Kingdom where it continued to be bred. The duck actually went through most breed development in the UK, so it is actually more a British breed than a French breed.
Of course, France was all the rage in the UK at the time. So, what did they need? They needed a French name for their new breed of duck.
They went through several different options, before settling on the name Rouen.
This is a French town. It is unlikely that the breed came from anywhere near there, and it is unknown why they settled on this name beyond it simply being a French name, but alas, that is what happened.
The Look of the Rouen Duck and Ducklings
The Rouen Ducks looks pretty much the same as the Mallard duck breed. In fact, the coloring is pretty much the same, although Rouen ducklings do look slightly different.
The only real different between the Rouen and the Mallard is the fact that the Rouen is going to be a lot bigger. The Rouen regularly caps out at 11 lb (5 kg) when fully grown, which is massive for a duck breed. The duck is also unable to fly properly, whereas the Mallard loves to fly.
The Rouen Duck Eggs
If you want a duck for eggs, then the Rouen is absolutely not for you. There is literally no way to guarantee the number of eggs that your duck will lay each year.
Genetics do not seem to play a roll. One year they could lay a ton of eggs, and the next barely anything.
To give you an idea of how unpredictable the egg-laying is for the Rouen Duck, the minimum number of eggs they should be laying each year will be around the 35 egg mark.
This is a small amount. It is under one per week. However, some ducks like of this breed have been known to lay up to 160 of them a year (the Ancona ducks for example can lay up to 280 eggs).
So, a little under one every couple of days. However, because there is no way to guarantee how many eggs you are going to get from the breed, we are struggling to see the benefit of buying this duck if you want eggs.
Rouen Duck For Meat
This is a domestic duck breed that has been raised for meat throughout history. Granted, it is not ideal for meat purposes. This is because it is going to be wildly unproductive, and the low number of eggs that the breed lays means that it is going to be tough to breed too.
So, we wouldn’t really recommend picking up a Rouen duck for meat purposes.
Do bear in mind that if you do raise this duck for meat purposes, you are going to be dealing with a rather weighty duck, which is awesome. It is more than enough to feed a larger family.
However, once again, this is not a duck that we would really recommend if you want a duck that can provide meat. There are other breeds for you. We can’t stress this enough.
Oh, and if this wasn’t enough to convince you not to raise the Rouen ducks for meat, this is a bird that actually takes 8-months before it is ready to be slaughtered.
That being said, this is a meat duck breed that tastes absolutely delicious. If you ever have the pleasure of sinking your teeth into a nicely roasted Rouen Duck, you are going to be feasting on something that is unparalleled.
However, due to the breeding issues and the length of time it takes to mature, the duck is just way too expensive to raise for meat purposes.
It is barely being done on a commercial basis, and the ones that are raising this duck on a commercial basis for meat are just charging a lot of cash for them.
As a Show Duck
This is the real strength of the Rouen Duck. A lot of people are raising Rouen ducklings, simply because this is a duck that actually does look good. There are a lot of shows taking place each year, particularly in the United Kingdom, the United States, and France.
Although, do bear in mind that the competition is high here. This is because only the most-serious of breeders take on the Rouen duck, mostly for the same reasons before; the lower number of eggs that it produces does mean that the duck is not going to be all that easy to breed.
This is a good looking duck, though. So, if you want something that is going to look good roaming around your property, then the Rouen duck is a good bet. Although, we can imagine that you probably still want something that is a bit more on the productive side of things.
As we have said before; this is a duck that you really can’t breed that efficiently. If you want it to happen, you can’t have the Rouen duck raise the bird. You need something that is broody.
Why? Well, it is because the Rouen duck is a larger breed. It has been known to crush the eggs that it sits on. So, on the rare cases it lays a fertilized egg, there is a good chance that the eggs will crack and be ruined before they even have a chance for the Rouen ducklings inside to start growing.
Is the Rouen Duck the Right Breed for You?
The Rouen Duck is a tremendously fun bird to have around. It is quite friendly, which is probably one of the main reasons as to why people see the Rouen duck as an ‘ornament’ for their backyard. It is a duck that does love to interact with people, so it can be a true joy to have around.
They tend to be fairly quiet too.
As we said before; this is a duck that doesn’t fly all that much. It can fly, but it is lazy. Plus, since the breed is a bit on the chunkier side, it probably won’t be able to fly for longer periods of time.
This means that it tends to stay in the same place. So, you probably won’t have to worry about your ducks ‘escaping’.
Obviously, due to the larger size, they do need a good amount of space to roam about. However, this is a lazy bird, so do not expect it to be foraging constantly. It just walks around a little bit before having a rest.
Although, somehow, it still remains as a bird that is decent to watch. Again, another reason why they are ornamental.
As we have said several times on this page; this is a larger breed of duck. This means that it is going to be eating a lot. It should have access to larger portions of food than other ducks.
However, at the same time, you are going to want to be keeping an eye on the weight of the duck. They can get obese since they do not move around as much as other duck breeds and, obviously, obesity is going to lead to health issues.
Some people will also try to avoid mixing the duck with other smaller breeds. Since this is a larger bird, there is a good chance that it could end up bullying the other birds in the area, and that is the last thing you want!
If you can, you may want to do something to prevent the duck from sitting on its eggs. As we said; they only lay a limited number of eggs, and you probably want to keep the egg crushing to the absolute minimum.
Other than this, the only things that you really need to think about would be the same as with any other duck i.e. access to a pond or similar body of water. Do not mix these ducks with chickens etc.
It isn’t a particularly tough duck to raise, it is just a duck that is tough to breed.