THE BELGIAN BANTAM CLUB OF AUSTRALIA INC


The Barbu d'Uccle



The Barbu d'Uccle as a separate distinct breed has only been traced to the beginning of this century in Belgium although there had been various types of small feather legged bantams found throughout Europe and Asia for several centuries. In some countries they were known as Booted Bantams, with many having whiskers, but not beards. The Dutch Sabelpoot is a related breed but without the "bull" neck and beard.

During the 17th century several Dutch artists, such as Albert Cuyp and Peter Casteels painted the Booted Bantams and Chabos (Japanese Bantams) which were already in the country. These paintings show an imperfect Millefleur colour pattern with yellow shanks, but birds of good type.

The emergence of the d'Uccle has been accredited to Michel van Gelder who combined existing feather legged European bantams with the Barbu d'Anvers to create what was to be named the Barbu d'Uccle. These were first exhibited in 1905. He bought all the Booted bantams he could from Mr Entwistle and Messrs E. and 0. Binns, so English blood actually went into the first Barbu d'Uccle.

In 1911 Belgian fanciers staged a magnificent show of d'Uccle at the Crystal Palace in England and this led to the breeding of them in the United Kingdom. The Belgian fanciers returned the following year, but by that time the breed was already established in England. Early English breeders were Kenneth Ward, John Sears and W. Entwistle. The two main colours found in these early d'Uccle were Millefleur and Porcelaine, followed by Black and White.

As with the Barbu d'Anvers, both World Wars had a bad effect on the breed and they did not regain prominence until the 1960's, mainly due to Charles and veronica Mayhew, who began breeding them in ernest. During the 1970's d'Uccle increased in show entries to record levels. Today they are still very popular in England.


 This is a colour plate from the book "Poules Naines de Races Belgique"

It is taken from an original painting by Rene Delin




Ukkel (Uccle) - Municipality
Region of Brussels, Belgium

 

The municipality of Uccle (French) / Ukkel (Dutch) is one of the 19 municipalities constituting the region of Brussels-Capital. It had 75,059 inhabitants on 31 December 2003, including 1,677 employees of the European Union of foreign nationality and 1,323 members of foreign diplomatic staff. Uccle is one of the largest municipalities in Brussels-Capital and the fourth largest by its number of inhabitants.  It is mostly a residential, if not posh, municipality, with several green areas and more than 500 ha of the forest of Soignes, which attracted several artists. The French poet Charles Baudelaire stayed in Uccle in 1864.

The municipality was incorporated in 1795 under the French rule by the merging of the former feudal domains of Uccle, Carloo and Stalle. Several other noble families had their manor in Uccle. The place called Boetendal (lit., the Penitents' Valley) recalls a Franciscan convent founded by Isabel of Portugal in 1467.

Beforehand, the chef-banc or échevinage (municipal court) of Uccle exercized its jurisdiction over the whole ammanie (medieval municipality) of Brussels. The court was reorganized by a chart granted by Duke of Burgundy Philip the Handsome in 1454. The historian L. Vanderkindere believes that Uccle was once the seat of the judicial power in Brussels. A legend says that the St. Peter's church in Uccle was consecrated around 803 by Pope Leon III in the presence of Gerbaldus, Bishop of Liège, and Emperor Charlemagne.

The city of Brussels dramatically increased in the XIXth century because of the industrial revolution. Uccle, located in the south of Brussels, developed along two main roads, Chaussée de Waterloo (used by Wellington's troops on the eve of the battle of Waterloo in 1815), heading to the (former) coal-mining basin of Charleroi, and Chaussée d'Alsemberg (built in 1712), heading to Walloon Brabant. Population of Uccle / Ukkel was 3,091 in 1815, 19,967 in 1903 and is more than 75,000 today.

Around 1904, Michel Van Gelder bred the bearded and booted bantam (dwarf hen) called Barbu d'Uccle (in English, "Belgian d'Uccle Bantam" or "Booted Bantam"), probably by crossing "Barbu of Antwerp" and "Dutch Sabelpoots". "Barbu d'Uccle" is often refered to as "Mille Fleur" or "Millies", in spite of the fact that Mille Fleur is only one of their colour variants and it also appears in other breeds.

Fowl fans seem to love "Barbu d'Uccle" since there are breed clubs in the USA (Belgian d'Uccle & Booted Bantam Club), the United Kingdom (The British Belgian Bantam Club), Australia (The Belgian Bantam Club of Australia) and the Netherlands (Breeders Club for Rare True Belgium Bantams).  Ivan Sache, 5 May 2005.






d'UCCLE ARE DISTINCTIVE AND ATTRACTIVE BANTAMS

by H Easom Smith 


Reprinted from a 1961 edition of "Poultry"  (but the comments are just as relevant today)

 

A genuine and small bantam, the Belgian d'Uccle is a provocative challenge to breeders.  A feature common to several sorts of Belgian bantams is the beard and this has caused two breeds of Belgians to be lumped together in England.  This is unfortunate as there are points in which d'Uccle vary considerable from d'Anvers.  Sensibly though, both breeds can be, and for the most part are, catered for by one Club.

Degree of pride

When championship prizes are being allotted, they fall rarely indeed to the d'Uccle and this has perhaps been a stumbling block preventing some otherwise ardent fanciers from making them their number one breed.  If the specimens concerned are really good and near to Standard requirements, I can see no reason whey they should not measure up to many of the more popular breeds.  Certainly they take as much producing and maintaining for show.  I was rather surprised to find, in an American book on bantams published in 1925, that Belgians were recommended as utility bantams.  I have not had this point confirmed by any of our own breeders although, like several of the old-time breeds, once they do get into their stride in the natural laying season, reproduction is quite good.

In the Barbu d'Uccle we have a bantam which has no large counterpart, either in form or colour.  It can, therefore, with some degree of pride, claim to be a small bantam and so the Standard calls for birds as dwarf and small as possible.  This is a refreshing point to find emphasised and one which should be carefully followed by breeders and judges alike.  The head should be slender and small, whereas that of the clean-legged d'Anvers, it will be recalled, should appear rather large.  Here, immediately, is a conflicting point likely to upset some experimentalists who like to inter-cross the two breeds to create different colours. 

A small bantam should have a smallish comb, this showing that the original breeders who drew up the Standard were seeking a bantam with all parts in due proportions.  The Standard requires it to be "single, fine, upright, under the average size, regularly serrated, rounded end slightly developed following the line of the neck".  One or two points to note carefully here.  Though small, the comb should have regular serrations, again that insistence on harmony of the parts.  The Standard requires that wattles, also, should be small. 

There is a sharp contrast between the bold head of the d'Anvers and the small, somewhat delicate looking head-piece of the d'Uccle.  There must be no confusion here and it will not do merely to have one sort with a rosecomb and the other with a single comb.  Each must be distinctive.  Facial adornments are many and seen to best advantage in a really well-built cock.  Feathers stand out sideways from the beak and from under the beak.  Neck hackle should be very thick and well furnished, arching in a convex manner towards the shoulders and covering the back.  Too many d'Uccle are, by the Standard, rather to thin in the hackles and show too much back.

While realising that the ideal will never be obtained, there is some room for improvement here and better things might be achieved if there could be more concentration on small bodies with somewhat shorter shanks than are often seen.  With a broad and deep breast and a back to match, this breed should exemplify, as no other, that favourite of the former utility showman, "the little bird that handles big".

Well feathered

Typical Belgian-type tail occurs in the cock, where the two large sickle feathers are just a little curved and hangers occur in tiers as "tail filling".  Leg feather is something of a problem with this breed, both to produce and to preserve.  Breeding stock must be well feathered if their offspring are to be right.  On the hocks there should be a cluster of long, stiff feathers close together.  These start from the bottom of the thigh and point to the ground.  The front and outside of each shank should be covered with feathers which get longer towards the fool.  These foot feathers are stiff and turned outwards.  The outside toe and the outside of the middle tail are also feathered.  This majestic little cock is matched by a thick-set, demure hen of great charm and character. 

Colours there are to suit almost everyone.  From time to time I get enquiries for colourful and distinctive bantams suitable for pets and to run on the lawn, and invariably suggest Millefleurs.  If I were in the happy position of setting up a stud of Belgians I would, undoubtedly, fall for the Porcelaines, in my view the sweetest of them all when well shown.  Lengthy description is out of place here, but orange-red, chamois, black and white all occur in the plumage of the Millefleurs, while the Porcelaines have straw-yellow, bluish-grey, blue and white.  Black and white occur in Mottleds, while self  Blacks and Whites are also bred, as well as other marked varieties.

As noted, this breed rarely gets much consideration for best in show awards.  It wins reasonably well in classes at the larger shows, but must be understood if it is to get awards at the smaller events.




B&W drawing of a pair of d'Anvers and a pair of d'Uccle by SJS Chatterton (1919)





Belgian Bearded d'Uccle in the United States


http://prowant.net/belgian_bearded_duccle.htm

 

The bird is frequently referred to as the Mille Fleur in the U.S. after the most common colour variation (which is French for "thousand flowers").  Most authors believe that the Belgian d’Uccle Bantam is a cross between the Dutch Booted Sabelpoot Bantam and the Antwerp Bearded Bantam, but this fact is not known for sure.  Booted were crossed with Belgian Bearded d’Anvers to produce the d’Uccle. Because there is d’Anvers blood in the d'Uccle bantams the d'Uccle is a shorter bird, has a broader breast, Bull neck, very, very small wattles (or none) and a "V" shape between the Head/neck and Tail.

The Belgian Bearded d'Uccle (pronounced dew-clay) or Barbu d'Uccle in French is a breed of bantam chicken.

The Belgian d’Uccle Bantam was bred for the first time in the small municipality of Uccle at the southeast border of Brussels, Belgium by Michel Van Gelder, sometime between 1890 and 1900.  Mr. Van Gelder travelled to many English and German poultry shows and the chance Dutch Booted Sabelpoot Bantam actually originated from somewhere in Asia and remains that some breeding material could have originated from either country.   

 

The d’Uccle is believed to contain some Japanese Bantam blood. So the d'Uccle has both Asian and Belgian roots. The ‘d’ in front of d’Uccle means from or of (Uccle). If you happen to be in Belgium, the 'd' is dropped, and they are simply referred to as 'Uccle'.  The standard weight of the bird is Cock 1 lb. 10 oz. / 740 grams; Cockerel and Hen, 1 lb. 6 oz./ 625 grams; Pullet 1 lb. 4 oz./570 grams. These are the weights that should be maintained for healthy birds and show weight.

 

Because there is d’Anvers blood in the d'Uccle bantams the d'Uccle is a shorter bird, has a broader breast, Bull neck, very, very small wattles (or none) and a "V" shape between the Head/neck and Tail.  Barbu d’Uccle have a low posture, a short but well developed neck and a rather open tail-feathering.  The d’Uccle have a single comb, different from its rose-combed relative the d'Anvers.  The weight of a cock is around 26 ounces and a hen weighs roughly 22 ounces.

 

The Belgian Bearded d’Uccle comes in many colours such as: Mille Fleur, Porcelain, Black mottled, Buff mottled, Blue mottled, Blue Mille Fleur, Buff Colombian, Brown red, Red, White, Black, Buff, Blue, Colombian, Lavender, Splash, Golden Necked and Lemon.

 

This is how the d’Uccle were entered into the APA Standard of Perfection by year: 1914 Mille Fleur, 1981 White, 1965 Porcelain, 1996 Black, 1996 Golden Neck, 1996 Self Blue, 1996 Mottled. The American Bantam Association recognized these varieties and also Blue, Buff, and Gray as early as 1985.

 

Other varieties that have been showing up in the show rooms are: Quail, Brown Red, Butterscotch, Blue Mille Fleur, Buff Columbian, Columbian, Red, Blue Red, Blue Red Mottled, Blue Mottled, and Silver Mille.  Also Rose Comb d’Uccle have starting to show up in the show rooms in Mille Fleur and Mottled varieties so far, this is a new breed all its own and no standard has been submitted to date.

 

The Belgian Bearded d'Uccle is renowned for being a calm bird.  Bearded d'Uccle eggs are notably small and are coated with creamy or tinted colouring. The breed is known for being very broody, and a typical hen can lay her eggs over a two-week period, though others have taken as long as three weeks (twenty one days).

 

In the US they are frequently referred to as Mille Fleur or Millies, in spite of the fact that Mille Fleur is only one of their colour variants and it also appears in other breeds, such as Leghorns, Dutch Bantams, Old Englishes, Booted Bantams, etc. 

Unlike most breeds, Belgian d’Uccle do have vulture hocks (feathers on the hocks). While vulture hocks are a disqualifier in show birds for most breeds, a lack of feathering is a disqualification for Belgian d’Uccle.

Shape of Male

COMB: Single - medium size, straight and upright, neatly arched, set firmly and evenly on head, smooth, moderately and evenly serrated, having five regular and distinct points, front not to extend beyond point half-way between nostrils and point of beak, but extending well over back of head, blade full but of moderate length.

BEAK: Short, strong, nicely arched.

FACE: Fine in quality, no wrinkles or folds, partially hidden with relatively long muff feathers.

BROW: Heavily furnished with feathers.

EYES: Bold, round, conspicuous.

WATTLES: Rudimentary only, preferably none.

EAR LOBES: Very small, inconspicuous, free from wrinkles or folds, concealed by relatively long muff feathers.

BEARD & MUFFS: Composed of feathers turned horizontally backwards, from both sides of beak; from the centre - vertically downward; the whole forming a collar of three ovals in a triangular group, giving a cuffed effect.

HEAD: Medium size, appearing rather broad due to heavy feathering, round, carried back from front of breast in a proud manner so that the crown of comb is parallel with tip of tail.

NECK: Medium length convexly arched.

HACKLE: Rather thick, moderately long, flowing over shoulders and back almost meeting in front of neck, the whole giving the effect of what is termed bull-necked.

BACK: Broad at shoulders, sloping from shoulders to base of tail, where there is an abrupt angle at the base of the tail.

SADDLE: Abundant, with long saddle feathers which fill in space between wing tips and tail coverts,

TAIL: Main Tail - feathers of medium width, widely spread at all times, carried at an angle so that shaft of top feather is approximately 65° above the horizontal.  Sickles two main sickles very slightly curved, ending slightly beyond main tail feathers.  Lesser Sickles - Medium width and length, slightly curved; rising above each other in uniform fan-like tiers.  Coverts - moderately full, medium length.

WINGS - Large, fitting neatly to body, sloping downward at the same angle as the vulture hock feathers, in-curved towards the abdomen so that a part of the wing tips are covered with the lower saddle feathers.

SHOULDERS & FRONTS - carried well back from front of breast, covered by hackle.  Bows - well rounded. Coverts - well defined with two rows of broad feathers.  Primaries - medium width, strong quills, completely hidden by Secondaries.  Secondaries - wide, forming a neatly and evenly overlapping appearance when folded.

BREAST: Extremely broad and deep, the upper’ part well developed and carried well forward so that breast will extend beyond a line drawn perpendicular with point of beak.

BODY & STERN: Body - deep, broad, short, and stubby. Stern - fluff, short;

LEGS & TOES: Legs - rather widely set, parallel to each other when viewed from front.  Lower Thighs - medium length, feathers starting from lower inside part of thighs, forming a cluster of long stiff feathers close together, known as vulture hocks, inclined toward the ground following the outline of the wings.  Shanks - medium length, the front and outside covered with feathers which are short at top and gradually increasing in length toward the bottom, stiff and turning horizontally outward with their ends curving backward.  Spurs – short, hard, fine, low set.

Toes - four, straight and well and evenly spread; plumage, outside toe and outside of middle toe covered in same manner as shanks.

APPEARANCE: Short, broad, cobby, majestic, heavily developed plumage.

 

Shape of Female

COMB: Single - proportionately smaller than that of the male, set firmly and evenly on Head, moderately and evenly serrated, having five regular and distinct points, slightly Arched, front not to extend beyond point half way between nostrils and point of beak, Extending back over head.

BEAK : Short, nicely curved.

FACE: Fine quality, free from wrinkles or folds, partially hidden with long muff.

BROW: Heavily furnished with feathers.

EYES: Bold, round, conspicuous.

WATTLES: Rudimentary only, but preferably none.

EAR LOBES: Very small, inconspicuous, no wrinkles or folds, hidden by muff.

BEARD & MUFFS: Composed of feathers turned horizontally backwards from both sides of beak, from the centre, vertically downwards, the whole forming three ovals in a triangular group, giving a muffed effect.

HEAD: Small, but appearing rather broad due to heavy feathering, carried well back, above a parallel line which when drawn from tip of tail with bisect muffs.

NECK: Medium length convexly arched.

HACKLE: Heavily feathered, covering shoulders and upper back, not meeting in front of neck.

BACK: Moderately broad, short, slanting from shoulders to base of tail with the whole producing an up-shaped curve with neck and tail.

CUSHION: Abundant, feathers broad.

TAIL: Main tail - feathers medium width, top feathers slightly curved in a convex manner, widely spread at all times, carried at an angle  of 60° above the horizontal Coverts - Abundant, widening as they flow to about two thirds the ways up the tail.

WINGS: Medium length, fitting neatly to the body, sloping downward at the same angle as the vulture hocks, in-curved toward the abdomen. Shoulders & Fronts – Nearly Covered with hackle feathers.  Bows - well rounded. Coverts - well defined with two rows of broad feathers. Primaries - medium width, strong quills, completely hidden by Secondaries. Secondaries - wide, forming a neatly and evenly overlapping appearance when wing is folded.

BREAST: Very broad, deep, upper part well developed and carried well forward.

BODY & STERN: Body - deep, short, and stubby. Stern - fluff, short.

LEGS, TOES & THIGHS well developed, medium length, feathers starting from lower inside part of thighs, forming a cluster of long stiff feathers close together known as vulture hocks, inclined toward the ground, following outline of wings.

SHANKS - medium length, the front and outside covered with feathers which are short at top and gradually increasing in length toward the bottom, stiff and turning horizontally outward, their ends curving backward.

TOES - four, straight, well and evenly spread; plumage, outside toe and outside of middle toe covered in same manner as shanks stately.

 

Disqualifications All Varieties

Absence of Muffs and /or Beard, Severed Wattles, Squirrel Tailed, Absence of Vulture Hocks

 

Defects All Varieties

Large wattles and ear lobes.

Neck unduly long and/or too narrow-Scantiness of feathers in beard and muffs, destroying the full look.

Bare middle toe is a serious defect.

 





PORCELAINE d'UCCLE IN AUSTRALIA

YES! WE DO HAVE THEM


This article was written by Belgian Club member Frank Catt


(From our Australian Belgian Bantam Club August 1986 Newsletter)

 

Upon my return from the United Kingdom in 1985 one thing was fixed in my mind and this, apart from all the sights and other interesting wonders we experienced, stayed with me.  England, of course, is a garden of history, as is Wales, Scotland, and my favourite, Ireland where no one has ever heard of Bob Hawke or Don Bradman, but all know Ned Kelly and any one by that surname claim relationship to him, especially if they come from Kilkenny, from whence Ned's ancestors hail.  

You can see how easy it is to be carried away, so I return to my original vision, which stays with me.  I refer to the Porcelaine d'Uccle Belgian Bantam.  We were privileged to see them at the Three Countries and Royal Cornwall Shows, at Folly Farm in the Cotswolds, at Stratford-upon-Avon. at R. and E. Shaw's of Dewsbury, at Charles Mayhew's home at Sonning Common and at his daughter, Veronica's, at Woodcote.  Veronica is well known for her Belgians and the selling of books and memorabilia on poultry.  She is also our Club Patron.

If any avian species is a sight to behold, it is the Porcelaine d'Uccle.  They are the same pattern as the Millefleur, except the ground colour is straw and the black is replaced by light blue (called lavender or Reynolds's Blue).  You can read it in the Standard, but it is impossible to get a proper image of them without actually seeing one - seeing is believing.  How aptly named they are!  Porcelaine, indeed.  Rarely do they stand still as they are known as the ballerinas of the bantam kingdom, forever dancing on their toes.  Whether or not this is due to the many feathers on their legs and the vulture hocks, one cannot be sure, but you can be sure that when immobile they almost invite you to pick them up and place them on the mantle shelf as a "Porcelaine" objects, such is the sheen on their feathers and general colour makeup.

Back home again I was determined that one day when the import ban is lifted - it does seem likely in 1988 - I would import some of these magnificent creatures.  Then something happened that changed all that.  When breeding Lavender d'Anvers Belgians, often a single comb chick appears.  These are useless, even though they are usually an excellent colour, and are destroyed.  One such chicken was about to be killed when, in addition to the single comb, some feathers were noticed on the legs.  This gave the idea that possibly this bird could be the nucleus for making Porcelain d'Uccles, and thus it proved to be. 

At about seven months the young male not only had a single comb and some feathers on the legs, but also straw colouring in neck and saddle.  This is a feature required in the Porcelaine's pattern.  It was mated to a Millefleur d'Uccle hen with the resulting progeny all being Millefleur, complete with vulture hocks and fair type.  The one exception was a cockerel which had the Black Mottled pattern.  When adulthood was reached this bird was mated back to his mother.  Imagine my joy when ten chickens were hatched:  two Blues, three Millefleurs, one Black, with the remainder a creamy white.  This was the colour, according to the Belgian Handbook, of a Porcelaine day old.

Alas, tragedy struck as two days after they were hatched they were all dead.  Stupid hen!  Or, perhaps, stupid human for carelessness in not removing a perch which the mother decided to roost on, leaving the chickens to perish on the floor.  Ah well, one is never too old to learn and that can be a good lesson to youngster and old hand alike.  Always remove any perching materials when you are raising your chickens.

Undaunted, and very much aware of their potential, the pair were mated again.  This time nine youngsters were hatched with two creamy whites amongst them, one a little darker than the other.  Both birds turned out to be cockerels and very definitely have Porcelaine feather markings.  Feathers have been send to England for comparison and the reply states that they are indeed the Porcelaine pattern.  Keep your fingers crossed that they are reared into cocks.

The next move will be to mate the better of the two back to the original Millefleur hen, which is till alive and laying, in the hope that some females may be hatched.  Porcelaine to Porcelaine would then be the obvious mating, even though they would be closely related.  This is called in-breeding and is often used.

Anyone is welcome to inspect these birds and all being well they could appear at the 1988 Royal Sydney Show, and certainly at our Club shows.  Up the magnificent Porcelaine d'Uccle!





SOME OF OUR MODERN AUSTRALIAN PORCELAINE


A pair of Porcelaine d'Uccle cockerels and a
Porcelaine d'Uccle hen.
 


All three birds were bred by Neville Woods (Australia)











          "WING PATCHES" ON PORCELAINE d'UCCLE

by Gerry Coady    (Originally printed in our June, 1997 Newsletter)

What is a wing patch?  The answer (as defined by Professor Fred Jeffrey) is that it is an area of some 10-15 square millimetres located on each wing bow, in which the feathers never grow beyond the pin feather stage.  The area adjacent to the patch contains feathers of intermediate size which look like silky feathers.  When the bird moults, the pin feathers also moult, but are replaced again with pin feathers.

 

The photo below very clearly show the wing patches on this Porcelaine cockerel.

With more good birds around these days there is no reason to keep a bird like this – better to cull

it as soon as the condition is apparent, because wing patch can be passed on to future generations.

 


 

That the lavender coloured Belgian Bantams carry the gene for wing patches there can be no doubt.  The first Porcelaine were produced in Australia by crossing a Millefleur d'Uccle hen with a Lavender d'Anvers cockerel that had a single comb, and some feathers on the legs.  The resulting progeny was an approximate equal number of both Millefleur and Porcelaine colours and, while a great majority of the Porcelaine carried wing patches, none of the Millefleur did.  This alone is sufficient proof that the lavender colour carries the gene for this wing patch.

 

Furthermore, in Lavender Araucanas, especially in the males, this wing patch presents itself.  This is not so surprising when you consider that a Lavender d'Anvers was used to produce the Lavender colour in Araucanas. 
I do not think any judge when adjudicating on Porcelaine Belgians, especially if he or she is experienced and familiar with the birds' history, should remove too many points for wing patches on an otherwise near perfect
exhibit.






AMERICAN BANTAM ASSOCIATION April/May 1971 

LESSON ON THE BELGIAN BEARDED d'UCCLE BANTAM

 

The Belgian Bearded d'Anvers and the Belgian Bearded d'Uccle are being bred and exhibited in far greater numbers than ever before.  Each of the two breeds is represented with several attractive varieties, any of which would make a grand addition to any bantam yard.  Very often breeds as well as shows list the Millefleur as a breed in itself, but this is wrong as it is only a variety of the d'Anver or the d'Uccle.

The Bantam Standard recognises the following varieties:  Bearded d'Anvers  -  Black, Black Breasted Red, Blue, Buff, Cuckoo, Millefleur, Mottled, Porcelaine, Quail, Self Blue and White.  Bearded d'Uccle  -  Black, Blue, Buff, Millefleur, Mottled, Porcelaine, Self Blue and White.

BEARDED d'UCCLE

The d'Uccle is always single combed and feather legged.  The males head is small, beak short and curved, comb single with small upright and fine, heavily serrated, blade following line of neck.  Eyes bold and round.  Brow heavily furnished with feathers lengthening towards rear and tending to join behind the neck.

The beard is full, with long feathers turning outwards, backwards and downwards and forming a trilobe (three ovals in a triangular group).  Ear lobes should be inconspicuous, wattles as small as possible.

The neck hackle has a tendency to form a thick mane behind the neck covering shoulders, saddle and back.  The body is deep, with very broad breast carried high and forward.  Wings fit tight and close, sloping downwards to the abdomen, but not beyond.  Ends of flights are covered by the abundant, long saddle hackle and the well furnished tail is carried almost perpendicularly, the main sickles slightly curved.

Legs are short and well apart, hooks covered with long stiff feathers inclined downwards.  Front and outside of shanks must be furnished with feathers lengthening towards footings, the foot feather horizontal, curved slightly back, outer and middle toes covered to ends.

Carriage and appearance - a little male with majestic manner, short and broad with heavy plumage development.

The female resembles the male except for usual sex differences, but the beard is formed with softer and more open feathers.  Neck hackles are very thick and composed of broader feathers, the tail short and not carried high, the lower main feathers diminishing evenly in length.  General appearance short and cobby.

Like the d'Anvers there are no particular mating problems.  They are seldom double mated, however if the mating does not produce good quality males and females then a double mating should be used.

It seems that in the d'Uccle more so than in the d'Anvers type is often neglected in the attempt to get perfection in the colour of the Millefleur and the Porcelaine.  In these two varieties the best colour generally comes in the second or third year.  Beginners who do not know this might get disgusted with the colour on the cockerel and pullet.

In addition to the colours listed for this breed there are several other attractive colours produced but very often not seen in the show room.  Until more breeders produce the non-standard colours their popularity will be at a standstill.

Be on the lookout for the lack of beard and muff disqualification and you will also find that there are a good number of defects to take into consideration when setting up the breeding pens.  These are outlined in detail in the Bantam Standard, which no breeder of any breed of bantam should be without.

Both the d'Anvers and d'Uccle make excellent utility bantams  -  well fleshed for meat,  and are also good layers.





Right: Black d'Uccle

hen bred by Kevin

Coombes

(Australia)



Far right: Black

d'Uccle cock bred by

David Simons

(Australia)







I’ve been relaying more questions from Club members to Jeroen
Muys (Belgium)
about breeding various colours and here is some
of the information he has provided.

 

From Jeroen Muys 02-11-2004 – Breeding Citronne Millefleur d’Uccle

Hello Irene, Citronne Millefleur is the same as Millefleur with a gene for the light yellow colour, it is called ig-gene.  This gene changes the brown ground colour of the Millefleur into the light yellow colour of the Citronne Millefleur.  This gene doesn’t change the black parts.  Citronne Millefleur is a very beautiful variety but it isn’t very popular in Europe, certainly not in Belgium.  This variety isn’t recognised by the Belgians in our Standard either. 

When you will breed this variety you need the ig-gene and I guess it’s possible the Australian Belgians don’t possess this gene!  So you need to search it in another breed.  All breeds with a colour of black and light yellow together possess this gene, but I don’t know if there are such varieties or breeds in Australia.

Sometimes it is possible to make this citronne colour when you make a cross between Silver and Gold birds, and then you cross this offspring together or with the Silver parents, but this is only possible when the Silver bird has this ig-gene.  In Belgium we have a breed that we call “Brakel” and when you breed them like I wrote before, you can make the citronne colour.  This ig-gene is a recessive gene, so you need it two times in a bird to see the light yellow colour.  

Maybe you can try it with a cross between Silver Millefleur and Millefleur.  Then you keep some birds of this offspring and you cross them back to Silver Millefleur.  This manner is a possibility but I give you only a very little chance to be lucky!  We have done these crosses with Quail and Silver Quail and we haven’t had any Citronne Quail birds. 

As a conclusion I can write you have to hope this ig-gene is perhaps in the Australian Silver Millefleur d’Uccle, but to be certain of finding it you need to search for another breed! Regards …..Jeroen

 

From Jeroen Muys 03-11-2004 – Breeding Birchen d’Uccle

Hello Irene, There are two sorts of Birchen.  The real one has the genetic form: ER ER.  This is found in a few breeds, like the Modern English Game, Japanese Bantam, Cochin (Pekin).  The birchen Brahma in the Netherlands has genetically other genes.

(1) You can make a cross between Belgian d’Uccle and Japanese bantams.  This is a very good cross to have good shape, low standing, and short back.  Maybe you can use a Columbian or a Buff Columbian d’Uccle with a Birchen Japanese Bantam.

(2) You can make a sort of Birchen when you make a cross between Black and Columbian or Buff Columbian.  Everyone knows this cross gives Black offspring with gold or silver in the neck and sometimes on the breast.  When you breed with these birds and the selection is very good, you can make a sort of Birchen!  That’s how the Birchen Brahma was born in the Netherlands.

Many greetings and I hope this breeder can use something I have written …… Jeroen Muys. 

 

To Jeroen Muys 16-11-2004 – Silver Millefleur d’Uccle male /Black d’Uccle female cross

Hello again Jeroen, I have another breeding question for you.  One of our Queensland members has a Silver Millefleur d'Uccle male, but no female.  He has mated him to two spare Black d'Uccle hens and wanted to know what he might expect to breed from them. I thought probably all Black in the first cross, then maybe some Silver Millefleur if he bred the daughters back to the father.  Is that correct?  The other Club member sends his very best wishes and thanks you for the information…..Irene

Hello Irene, It’s very difficult to prognosticate what such a cross will give.  When the Black hen doesn’t carry any genes other than those that are necessary to be Black, then you are correct to say the offspring will be Black.  But I guess most Black birds do carry a lot of other genes.

If the hen is carrying the mottling gene, some of the offspring will be Black Mottled.  If the hen carries some genes of Millefleurs or Quail, then some of the offspring can be a sort of Silver Quail, a sort of Silver Columbian (I don’t know the correct word for Columbian with black in neck, wings and tail, the other parts are white). 

If the Black hen is carrying the mottling-gene and some genes of Millefleurs or Quail together, then you can expect some of the offspring will be a sort of Mottled Silver Quail, a sort of Silver Millefleurs.  It’s also possible the Silver Millefleurs cock carries the gene for gold, so it is possible some of the birds in the offspring will be Buff Columbian, Millefleurs, a sort of Quail, a sort of Mottled Quail.

So I know it seems I don’t know the answer, but nobody can prognostic what this cross will give.  You have to have luck!  But when everything is normal, then the offspring will only be Black.  But you have to know the males will have some Silver (sometimes some gold, if the father carries the gene for gold) in their neck, shoulders and maybe saddle. 

I agree with you, that if he crosses some daughters back to the father, he can breed some Silver Millefleurs.  Best wishes to you and bye for now ….. Jeroen.





RE-INVENTING COLOURS IN d’UCCLE

By Bill Hyndes

(From our Australian Belgian Bantam Club February 2003 Newsletter)

 

The title of this piece refers to the fact that none of what I’m about to outline is new.  I set out at the start of this breeding season with three projects.  The first was to cross one of my Buff Colombian cockerels with a Blue Buff Colombian and a Buff pullet that appeared from a Blue Quail/Quail cross.  The colour is not even but she is Buff, at least on the surface. The Quail colour is somehow related to Buff Colombian, and a Buff Pekin was in part used to develop Quail.  My Buff Colombian line on the father/daughter and mother/son matings still throw some quail pullets.  That unfortunately is the limit of my observations to date, but demonstrates the challenges in breeding.  Anyway, he Blue Buff Colombian and her Buff sister had different plans.  They have just started to lay.  Too late but there is always next season.

The other two projects have been rather more successful as I had some luck with two roosters acquired from Paul at last year’s Annual Show.  Some members will recall discussion in late 2001 about breeding Silver Porcelaine.  Jeroen Muys from Belgian gave Irene this advice.  The starting point is a cross between a Silver Millefleur male and a Porcelaine female.  In the second season there are two options, the first being a cross of F1 to F1 using only Silver Millefleur offspring.  From this cross a mix of Silver Porcelaine, Porcelaine, Silver Millefleur and Millefleur will result. 25% of the offspring will show lavender.  Of this 25% of the males and half the females will be Silver Porcelaine.

A better option is to take a Silver Millefleur male from the original mating (ie he had a Porcelaine mother) and put him to a Porcelaine hen.  That was my starting point, with a lovely rooster, a few dark feathers hinting at his mother’s colouration.  That was where I had luck as this bird saved a year of breeding.  From such a male crossed with a Porcelaine hen the same mix of colours as the F1/F1 cross will result.  However, half rather than one quarter will show lavender, and of these 50% will be Silver Porcelaine.  Theoretically there should be equal numbers of the four colours.

The Porcelaine hen I used has nice type, but is quite old and didn’t start laying until December.  This, plus a couple of problems such as hens deserting or strangling, chicks meant that I’ve ended up with only half a dozen from the mating. One Silver Millefleur, two very lightly coloured Millefleur and three Silver Porcelaine.  The oldest, a cockerel is seven weeks old.  At this stage it is difficult to say how they will turn out, as the lavender markings on a white background are hard to see.  In photos the chicks look white.  When hatched they are distinctive, looking like a Silver Millefleur but with a lavender stripe rather than black.  The test will be next season, when I hope that by inbreeding it will be clear if the Silver Porcelaine breed true.  The other possibility is using them to improve Silver Millefleur.

The final project was to breed Lavender Cuckoo d’Uccle.  I have a pair of Black that produce some Lavender chicks in their offspring.  Obviously each parent has the gene for lavender, so I thought why not try to do the same with Cuckoo.  A couple of Lavender Cuckoo d’Anvers were shown at Wyong in 2002, but no d’Uccle were evident.  Lavender and Cuckoo are two of the colours related to Black, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to transfer the cuckoo gene to a lavender bird.  I’d originally planned that this would take two seasons.  This season a Cuckoo male was mated to my best two Lavender pullets.  Lavender is recessive so the result would be roughly equal numbers of Black and Cuckoo chicks.  As the cuckoo colour is sex linked, and I wanted cuckoo in both cockerels and pullets, the male was the cuckoo in the mating.  Lavender over cuckoo hens would have resulted in all cuckoo cockerels and all black pullets.

To my surprise the first batch of chicks were Black, Cuckoo and Lavender.  A mix-up?  The same occurred the following batch, and as the chicks developed some of the Lavender turned out to be Lavender Cuckoo.  The white spot on the head with a lavender background is hard to see on a day-old.  Clearly the Cuckoo rooster I’d used had the lavender gene.  This of course is an example of determining the genetic make-up of a bird by examining the offspring.  It is a nice mating as the chicks produced are Black, Cuckoo, Lavender and Lavender Cuckoo.  The latter are quite subtly marked, but beautiful.  Shades of lavender vary quite a bit.  Partly due to the use of a (Black) Cuckoo father, the Lavender Cuckoo tends toward the darker end of the spectrum.  This makes the cuckoo markings more distinctive.  Next season I’ll avoid mating Lavender Cuckoo to Lavender Cuckoo as this may wash-out the colour.  Now, all I need is a few more pens for the new colours!

FOOTNOTE: Since writing (typing?) this my one and only Buff hen has dropped dead!  So much for the ‘always next season’ comment.  Suppose I could set out to re-introduce the colour from Buff Pekins (which I also have) but this is getting into advanced breeder territory.  Besides, another is bound to come out of the Buff Colombian or Quail and I don’t really need another colour anyway (pens!).

The real point of this footnote is to explain my comments on lines in the Buff Colombian.  As I started out with one pair, and there are not a lot about if you want some new blood, some research took place on breeding strategies.  It became clear that brother to sister matings would soon run into problems with fertility.  Sticking with the original pairing for years would not last long as each was already two or three four years old. 

I decided to try line breeding, putting the father to the best two F1 pullets, and the best F1 cockerel to the original hen.  Such a breeding strategy is not unique to poultry although in stock such as horses or cattle the relationships are usually more distant.  Some are squeamish about line breeding but this is misguided.  In one generation I’ve noticed an improvement in the female line.  The male line remains patchy but it is early days.  I’ve just started researching various line breeding strategies and charts and perhaps a sequel is in the making.




















Left and right above: A pair of normal Cuckoo

d'Uccle both bred by Cindy Pretty (Australia)

The male is shown with the Peter Williams

Memorial Trophy for the Best (normal) Cuckoo

at each Belgian Club Annual Show


Left: Kim Vizer's Black Mottled d'Uccle

hen Champion Belgian Overall at our

Club's 2007 Annual Show








The Belgian d’Uccle in Belgium

 

By Jeroen Muys (Belgium) November, 2005


From our Australian Belgian Bantam Club
February 2006 Newsletter


But the photo at left was taken in April 2007

 

History - It is known that for several centuries there have been bantams with foot-feathers.  Strangely these birds mostly showed three colours, brown, black and white, which are the basic colours of the present-day variety of Millefleur.  At the end of the 19th century these birds were bred in a certain direction in some European countries.  In the Netherlands they were called the “Sabelpootkrielen”, in Germany they had the “Federfüßige Zwerghühner” and in the UK these birds became “Booted Bantams”.  Those three breeds showed several resemblances concerning shape, but each breed had its own typical characteristics.  A few years later a bearded form of these breeds originated.

At the beginning of the 20th century Michel van Gelder, a rich person from Brussels, the capital city of Belgium, dreamed of a Belgian d’Anvers with foot-feathers and with a single comb.  It’s self-evident the shape of the new breed “Le Barbu d’Uccle” didn’t show much resemblance to the shape of the foregoing breeds.  Michel van Gelder bred about 1000 youngsters each year, so he could realise his dream in a very short time.  In 1905 this breed was shown for the first time.  The first varieties were Millefleurs and Porcelaine.  In 1906 there were also shown some White, Black and Cuckoo birds.

Seeing that most neighbouring countries had their own similar breeds, it’s clear the Belgian d’Uccle was not very popular outside Belgium.  It was never as popular as its brother the Belgian d’Anvers in our own country.  After both World Wars the quality and quantity wasn’t very good until around 1950.  It was almost impossible to use Belgian d’Uccle from other countries, whereby very strict selection was necessary to bring back the very typical shape.  Around 1970 we could find Millefleur, Porcelaine, White and Black Mottled birds in Belgium.  There are also sources, which say there were some Blue Belgian d’Uccle, but they have disappeared.

In the nineties this breed gained popularity in our country.  Beside the traditional varieties Millefleur and Porcelaine, we also saw Black, White, Black Mottled and Quail at shows.  However, over the last few years the popularity and number of birds at shows seems to have diminished.  Mostly we only see some Millefleur birds shown.  Fortunately there are some breeders like Bolle, family Muys, Smets and Willeghems who create, recreate or breed rare varieties.  I think of the varieties Blue, Blue Quail, Blue Mottled, Silver Quail, Blue Silver Quail, Buff Mottled, Silver Millefleur, Blue Millefleur, etc.  Birds of these varieties frequently also show a nice shape!

Photos at left: Jeroen's Blue Mottled d'Uccle hen

Shape and appearance - The most important thing about the Belgian d’Uccle is their shape.  When the desired shape is not present, a bird may have beautiful colours and other details, but it should never be awarded a First Prize.  The d’Uccle posses a quite proud carriage.  They show themselves from their best side just like the Belgian d’Anvers. 

They throw their heads well back, in such a manner that their breast is thrust forward.  Looking from the side, the back slopes a little and seems shorter than that of birds with a more horizontal posture.  Their wings have carried on the vulture hocks and slope downwards.  The wings of the males slope more towards the ground than the females. 

Typical of the breed is that they are very low.  The shanks and thighs are short.  The front and outside of the shanks must covered with feathers.  The foot feathers turn outwards horizontally.  The ends are curved slightly backwards.  Importantly, the outer toe and the outside of the middle toe are covered with feathers.


The tail of the males is carried rather high, and the sickles are sword-shaped.  The higher the tail, the shorter the bird seems to be.  Most Belgian males carry their tail at an angle of seventy-five to eighty-five degrees above the horizontal.  The main tail feathers are carried quite open.  The side hangers and tail coverts do not hide the main tail feathers.  Close attention must be paid that the tail is not allowed to become too high, as that is what we call "squirrel-tail" and is a major fault.

The quite short tail of the females is carried sloping upwards towards the end, and is slightly spread.  The latest Belgian standard proposes a tail carried at an angle of forty-five degrees above the horizontal.  A tail carried too low, however, makes the birds appear very long, and that also gives a poor image.  Like the Belgian d’Anvers, a typical characteristic of a Belgian d’Uccle is that the front part with the breast, head, mane etc. shows us almost two thirds of the whole bird, while the back part with the tail shows us only about one third.

Without exception, the d'Uccle have to be rather small, yet they are also required to appear broad, especially on the breast and shoulders.  The males posses full and convexly shaped hackles.  The mane of the females forms a ruffle behind the neck, and is more developed than the males. In contrast to the males, the female hackle diminishes in thickness towards the bottom of the neck.  Both males and females show neck feathers that turn backwards.  Close to the largest manes you can see the turning movements of the feathers, and behind the neck you can see the feathers coming together.  The hackles of the males cover their back, the mane becoming fuller with age, the volume of the hackles becoming larger.  This is sometimes called a "bull-neck".

The d’Uccle must have a full tri-lobed beard, which gives the desired owl-headed appearance in the females.  The whiskers are feathers, which turn horizontally backwards from both sides of the beak.  In front, the feathers grow vertically downwards.  Under the whiskers are found the ears and red ear lobes.  Wattles can only be present in rudimentary form, but the best birds will have none.  The rather large head is broad, short and strong, with large, lively eyes.  The d'Uccle has a small single comb.  It’s desirable the comb has five regularly formed spikes.  The blade is little developed and follows the line of the neck.


Photos at right: Jerone Muys Blue Quail d'Uccle pullet

Nature
- Most books state that the d'Uccle are lively, but in compared to the d’Anvers they are less energetic.  It’s self-evident the youngsters are more lively than older birds.  That’s also a reason why it’s easier to obtain better results at shows with older birds than with young birds.  The females of this breed become easily broody and are very good mothers to their youngsters.

Finally - It’s wonderful to know there is at the moment a big interest in the Belgian d’Uccle in some other countries than their country of origin.  I think especially of Australia, America and the UK.  A few years ago there was also a relatively big interest for this breed in the Netherlands, but it seems that the Dutch breeders have lost a bit of their enthusiasm for d’Uccle. 

My friend Christian Miniot has done a wonderful job in France; he has created and recreated many varieties and helped a lot of new breeders.  His site is still one of the nicest sites for Belgians.  I know there are also some d’Uccle in Germany and some enthusiastic breeders like Jörn Clevin will try to make the Belgian d’Uccle a little more popular in Denmark etc. 

It’s just a little bit sad there aren’t many breeders anymore in Belgium, otherwise I have the feeling the Belgian birds are still closest to the original descriptions of shape, which was close to that of the Belgian d’Anvers. 

In spite of that I am very happy several people from other countries from time to time send me pictures of nice birds and year after year these birds become a step closer to the drawings of the Belgian artist Rene Delin!  I hope this article is of value.  With my best wishes, Jeroen Muys
.


Below left: A black d'Uccle cock 

Below right: Two Silver Quail d'Uccle pullets



(all three are Jeroen Muys' birds)













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