Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder),
Farmyard / Feedstore adoption
Missouri, United States
Posted Jan 21, 2011
I fell in love with the d'uccle breed when I purchased a pair of chicks from the bantam bin at our local farm store. I noticed right away that these feather footed fluffy cheeked chicks were calmer than the rest and actually enjoyed being held rather than trying to jump away. I liked them so much I went back for more 2 weeks later. I actually got porcelain d'uccles, which is a pattern like the mille fleurs have but on blonde and greyish feathers with the pretty white speckles. It looks like snowflakes on a fine grey and cream colored surface. I found that if handled gently and carefully as chicks, this breed is quite friendly and sociable and will try to fly up on your shoulder or outstretched arm for a treat. They become skittish though, if squeezed or treated roughly when young- such as when young children try to 'grab' them instead of calmly allowing the chick to come to your outstretched hand. The roosters are easy to tame as well when started young. I have one who will fly up and wait for his treat everytime I open up the feed bin. He allows me to cradle him and carry him around like a cat. As with all roosters, you should not leave your child unsupervised with them, as they do tend to be protective of their hens. So far, mine have been well behaved around my children as I am always present with them in the chicken yard. I have found there are not many d'uccles at shows compared to other breeds, and they are easy to transport for shows because of their small size and docile nature. The hens are especially sweet if handled gently on a daily basis. I have learned that temperment in the breed does vary depending on where you get your stock from. It is a real hoot to watch them run across the yard with their feathered feet- like running in snowshoes. They have stiff feathers on the back of their hocks called 'vulture hocks' which are normal for this breed. Good stock will have nice fluffy cheeks called 'muffs' and beards, and feathering on the outer two toes (includes the middle toe). The hens do tend to go broody and want to hatch their own chicks. Both of mine I've let do so have been good mothers, one very protective and like Bruce Lee to anyone wanting to touch her chicks, and the other laid back with just a verbal cluck of protest. They are not the best for cold climates-- the roosters can get frostbitten combs, and because of the feathering on their feet they do have trouble with snow. Most of my hens lay 3 to 4 eggs per week, but don't start laying until after 6 months of age, which is a long time if you are just wanting egg layers. They are good flyers and can easily clear a 5 foot fence. Some of my hens can clear a 6 feet fence. It's best to keep them in a pen or chicken tractor if you don't want them in the neighbor's yard. They do occasionally fall prey to hawks, so it is good to have a spot for them to hide under if they see the shadow of the hunter above. I've definitely been charmed by this breed, and plan on owning them as my pet chickens for the rest of my chicken owning years.