Rouen Duck

Rouen duck is a very old breed of domestic duck originating in France sometime before the 19th century. It is a heavy weight duck breed and not prolific egg layer.

The breed has similarity with the Mallard duck. And the Mallard ducks are the ancestor of the Rouen duck, like most other duck breeds. Rouen ducks are mainly raised for decoration or as general purpose ducks. The breed was named after the ‘Rouen’, a twon in north central France.

The Rouen ducks reached England around 1800, where they were called by various names. They were called ‘Rhone‘, for an area in southwest France, ‘Roan‘, for a mixture of colors, ‘Rohan‘, for a Catholic Cardinal, and finally ‘Rouen’, for the town ‘Rouen’ in the north central France.

However, if you go to France for finding a pair of this breed, you will find them called the Rouen Fonce. Breeders began to redesign the Rouen duck breed once it arrived in England, through selective breeding. The breeders doubled the size of the Rouen duck, transformed it’s sleek body into a thickset boat shape. And they also improved the colors of this breed.

The Rouen duck made it’s way to the United States in 1850. Mr. D.W. Lincoln of Worcester imported the duck, and the breed soon become popular as a colorful, general purpose duck breed which is suitable for raising in farms.

The Rouen duck was admitted into the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1874. Today the Rouens are probably the second most popular meat duck breed in North America. They are mainly popular for their beauty, size and personality.

Rouen Duck full Information

The Rouen ducks are classed as a heavy weight general purpose duck breed. The plumage coloring of both Rouen duck and drake are nearly identical to that of the Mallard duck and drake. Rouen drakes have a gray body, white collars, black tail feathers, green heads and a deep claret breast.

While the female Rouens are of mottled light and dark brown with a black crown and eye-stripes. Female Rouens can be much darker brown in color than the female Mallards. Both drakes and ducks also have blue speculum feathers.

But compared to the Mallard, the speculum feathers of the Rouen duck are brighter in color and larger in size. And a fully grown Rouen duck is typically significantly heavier in size than the Mallard ducks.

The plumage coloring of the Rouen ducklings and Mallard ducklings are also different. So the Mallard ducklings are identical to the Rouen ducklings in terms of plumage coloring.

The Rouen ducklings can also be distinguished from wild Mallard ducklings by the presence of a second stripe which runs across their face, just under their eyes. Whereas the Mallard ducklings have only one stripe which runs across their eyes.

Two distinct types of Rouen duck are bred in North America. Which are common or production bred and the standard bred variety. Common or production bred variety is larger than the Mallard ducks but has a typical duck conformation.

On the other hand the standard bred variety is much larger and squarer. The average body weight of the standard bred variety is about 4.1 to 5.4 kg. And the common or production variety usually weights about 2.7 to 3.6 kg.

The standard Rouen duck variety is a massive duck and has a horizontal carriage. They have a large, blocky body with a deep, level keel and their back arches from shoulders to tail. The head of the standard variety is round with a medium size bill.

And the bill is concave along the top line. While the common or production variety of Rouen ducks have a trimmer body and more upright carriage. The drake has a dark yellow bill, bright orange shanks and feet, and their eyes are black.

The number of Rouen duck Standard variety is less than the common or production variety.


The Rouen duck is named after the city of Rouen in Normandy, France, where it was originally developed. It is thought to have been created by breeding together domesticated ducks with wild mallards in the early 19th century.

The objective was to create a breed of duck that was larger and meatier than existing domesticated breeds.

The Rouen duck quickly became popular in France and was exported to other countries, including England and the United States. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was one of the most widely kept duck breeds in America.

However, the popularity of the Rouen duck declined during the mid-20th century as commercial duck farming shifted towards breeds that matured faster and produced more eggs. Today, the breed is considered rare, and conservation efforts are underway to preserve it.

Physical Characteristics

One of the most distinctive features of the Rouen duck is its size. Adult males can weigh up to ten pounds, while females typically weigh between seven and eight pounds.

Both male and female Rouen ducks have a broad, flat head with a prominent green or blue-black iridescent patch on the crown. They also have a long, thick neck, a broad chest, and a plump body with a slightly curved back.

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The plumage of the Rouen duck is another striking characteristic. The feathers are predominantly gray with a greenish sheen, although some birds may have brown or buff-colored feathers mixed in.

The breast is a rich mahogany color with a hint of purple, and the tail is black with white feathers on the underside. The bill is yellow with black markings, and the feet and legs are orange.


Rouen ducks are known for their docile and friendly temperament. They are sociable birds that enjoy interacting with humans and other animals. Because of their calm demeanor, they make great pets, particularly for families with children. They are also easy to handle and are often used in shows and exhibitions.

Rouen ducks are excellent foragers and will happily spend hours grazing on grass, weeds, and insects. They are also good swimmers and enjoy spending time in the water. However, they are not as active as some other breeds of duck and may be content to spend much of their day lazing around.

Breeding and Care

Breeding Rouen ducks is relatively straightforward. They reach sexual maturity at around six months of age and can lay up to 100 eggs per year. Incubation takes around 28 days, and the ducklings hatch with dark brown feathers that gradually lighten as they mature.

To care for Rouen ducks, it’s important to provide them with plenty of space to move around and access to water for swimming.

They should also be fed a balanced diet that includes grains, greens, and protein sources such as mealworms or fish. Housing should be dry, draft-free, and well-ventilated, with nesting boxes provided for egg-laying.


Rouen ducks are mainly kept as a general purpose breed. Their larger size is suitable for raising them as a meat duck. And they are also very suitable for exhibition or ornamental purpose.

Special Notes

The Rouen ducks are docile, beautiful heavy weight breed valued for their meat production. They are not among the best egg laying duck breeds, producing about 150 large white eggs per year.

They are pretty slow maturing birds and can take a year for achieving full size. That’s why they are not suitable for commercial duck farming business. But hey have great demand in the market for quality meat. They produce leaner meat then the Pekin duck.

They have a reputation as high quality roasting bird due to their large size. Rouen duck is quite a plump, imposing but stately bird. The breed is relatively quiet and very easy to tame.

The Rouen ducks are considered as an excellent water fowl for the ranch pond. They are also very good as backyard ducks. They are good foragers and good for insect control.

If you are thinking about raising duck as pets, then the Rouen duck can be a good choice Because it is calm, sociable and very entertaining as pets. However, review full breed profile of the Rouen duck in the chart below.

Breed NameRouen
Other NameRhone, Roan, Rohan, Rouen Fonce
Breed PurposeMeat, General Purpose
Special NotesCalm, Excellent Foragers, Good as pets
Breed ClassHeavy
Production2.7-3.6 kg
Climate ToleranceAll Climates
Egg ColorWhite
Egg SizeLarge
Egg Weight80-95 grams
Egg ProductivityMedium
Flying AbilityPoor
VarietiesGrey is the standard color. There are also Black, Blue and Wild colored Rouen duck.
Country of OriginFrance

Interesting Facts about Rouen Ducks

These ducks are known for their large size, beautiful plumage, and delicious meat. While they are not as common as some other duck breeds, they have a loyal following among duck enthusiasts. Here are some of the interesting facts about Rouen ducks:

  1. Rouen ducks were first bred in France in the mid-19th century. They were developed by crossing wild Mallard ducks with domesticated ducks.
  2. They are named after the city of Rouen in Normandy, France, where they were first bred.
  3. These ducks are larger than most other domesticated duck breeds, with males weighing up to 10 pounds and females weighing up to 8 pounds.
  4. The plumage of a Rouen duck is strikingly beautiful, with iridescent green and blue feathers on the head and neck, and brownish-grey feathers on the body.
  5. These ducks are primarily raised for their meat, which is dark and flavorful. The meat is often compared to that of a game bird such as pheasant or quail.
  6. Rouen ducks are also kept as ornamental birds because of their beautiful plumage.
  7. Unlike some other duck breeds, Rouen ducks are not prolific egg layers. They typically lay between 50 and 100 eggs per year.
  8. Rouen ducks are cold hardy and can thrive in cooler climates. They are well-suited for free-range or pasture-based farming systems.
  9. Rouen ducks are docile and friendly, making them good pets. However, they can be messy and require a lot of space.
  10. Rouen ducks are excellent foragers and can find much of their own food if given access to grass, weeds, and insects.
  11. Rouen ducks are sometimes used as an alternative to turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner, as they have a similar taste and texture to turkey.
  12. In addition to their meat, Rouen ducks are also valued for their down feathers, which are used in pillows, comforters, and other bedding products.
  13. Rouen ducks are sometimes confused with Mallard ducks, which they resemble in appearance. However, Rouen ducks are much larger than Mallards.
  14. Rouen ducks were first introduced to the United States in the late 1800s, where they quickly became popular among farmers and homesteaders.
  15. Today, Rouen ducks can be found on farms and homesteads throughout North America, Europe, and other parts of the world.
  16. Rouen ducks are a threatened breed, according to the Livestock Conservancy. This means that their populations are low and they are at risk of extinction.
  17. The Livestock Conservancy recommends that people consider raising Rouen ducks to help preserve the breed.
  18. Rouen ducks are very adaptable and can thrive in a variety of environments, including urban and suburban areas.
  19. Rouen ducks are often used in crossbreeding programs to create new breeds of domesticated ducks.
  20. Rouen ducks are relatively easy to care for, but require a clean living environment and access to fresh water.
  21. Rouen ducks are susceptible to some common duck diseases, such as avian influenza and botulism. It is important to take appropriate measures to prevent these diseases.
  22. Rouen ducks are social animals and should be kept in groups of at least two or three.
  23. Rouen ducks are a fascinating and beautiful breed of duck that can be a valuable addition to any farm or homestead.

Tips for Raising Rouen Ducks

Raising these ducks is relatively easy and simple. You can easily raise them even if you are a beginner. Here are some tips for raising these ducks:

1. Choose the right breed

The first step in raising Rouen ducks is to choose the right breed. Rouen ducks are larger than most other breeds, but they are also more docile and friendly. They are good layers and make excellent pets. Make sure you do your research before purchasing any ducks to ensure that they are the right breed for you.

2. Provide shelter

Rouen ducks need a safe and comfortable place to live, especially during cold or wet weather. A small coop or house with enough space for them to move around in is ideal. This will also help protect them from predators like raccoons or foxes.

3. Secure your enclosure

Make sure your enclosure is secure and predator-proof. Install wire mesh on all sides of the enclosure, including the roof, to prevent predators from getting inside. You should also consider using motion-activated lights or alarms to scare off any unwanted visitors.

4. Provide access to water

Ducks need access to water to swim and clean themselves. A small pond or kiddie pool is ideal for Rouen ducks. Make sure the water is deep enough for them to swim in, but not so deep that they can’t touch the bottom.

5. Provide access to food

Ducks need access to food and water at all times. Make sure their food and water containers are filled daily and cleaned regularly. Rouen ducks eat a variety of foods, including grains, vegetables, and insects.

6. Use a feeder to prevent waste

To prevent wasting food, use a feeder that only allows the ducks to access a small amount of food at a time. This will also help keep their food clean and dry.

7. Provide a nesting box

If you plan on breeding Rouen ducks, provide a nesting box for the females to lay their eggs in. The box should be filled with soft bedding material like straw or hay.

8. Keep the nesting box clean

Clean the nesting box regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and parasites. Remove any old bedding material and replace it with fresh material.

9. Provide adequate lighting

Ducks need about 16 hours of daylight per day to lay eggs. If your enclosure doesn’t receive enough natural light, consider using artificial lighting to simulate daylight.

10. Monitor their health

Keep an eye on your ducks’ health and behavior. Signs of illness include lethargy, loss of appetite, and unusual behavior. Consult with a veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness.

11. Vaccinate your ducks

Make sure your ducks are vaccinated against common diseases like avian influenza and duck viral enteritis. Consult with a veterinarian to determine which vaccines are necessary for your ducks.

12. Provide access to grit

Ducks need access to grit to help them digest their food. Grit is small rocks that they swallow to help grind up their food in their gizzards. Provide a small container of grit for your ducks to access as needed.

13. Keep their water clean

Change your ducks’ water regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and other contaminants. Provide a clean source of water at all times.

14. Provide shade

Rouen ducks are susceptible to heat stroke during hot weather. Make sure they have access to shade during the hottest parts of the day.

15. Provide a dust bath

Ducks like to take dust baths to help keep themselves clean. Provide a small area filled with dry dirt or sand for your ducks to access.

16. Socialize your ducks

Rouen ducks are social animals and thrive when they have company. Consider keeping at least two ducks together to prevent loneliness.

17. Keep them safe from dogs and other pets

Make sure your ducks are protected from any dogs or other pets in the area. Keep them in a secure enclosure that is out of reach of any potential predators.

18. Train them to come when called

You can train your ducks to come when called by using treats or other rewards. This will make it easier to get them back into their enclosure at night or in case of bad weather.

19. Provide plenty of space

Make sure your ducks have enough space to move around in comfortably. Overcrowding can lead to stress and illness.

20. Avoid overfeeding

Overfeeding can lead to obesity and health problems. Make sure you’re feeding your ducks the appropriate amount based on their size and age.

21. Provide a balanced diet

Rouen ducks require a balanced diet to maintain their health and productivity. Their diet should include a variety of foods, including grains, vegetables, and protein sources like insects or meat scraps.

22. Practice good hygiene

Maintain good hygiene practices when handling your ducks. Wash your hands before and after handling them, and avoid touching your face or mouth in their presence.

23. Be patient

Raising ducks requires patience and dedication. It may take some time for them to become comfortable with you and their environment. Allow them to adjust at their own pace and provide plenty of positive reinforcement.

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