The popular Rouen duck breed is a small, beautiful bird. The Rouen duck may occasionally be confused with the Mallard duck due to the two duck breeds’ similarities in appearance and plumage. Rouen ducks are direct descendants of the Mallard duck breed, much like many other popular duck breeds.
The Rouen duck was originally bred in France and was officially recognized by the American Standard over 30 years ago. Rouen ducks are great duck layers, laying up to 150 duck eggs every year. However, some Rouen duck strains are bred more for meat, causing egg production to drop. Ask the breeder for the specific qualities of the Rouen ducks you are buying.
Adult Rouens weight 8 pounds (male drakes) and 7 pounds (female ducks). Unlike some duck breeds, Rouen ducks rarely fly.
Rouen ducks are very self-sufficient and hardy when raised on pasture. The Rouen breed make excellent foragers, though their diet should still be supplemented with duck feed.
G. M. T. Johnson (Practical Poultry Keeping As I Understand It, 1885: Public Domain) states: “The Rouin closely resembles the Wild Mallard, excepting that it is larger, which is supposed to have been brought about by domestication. The drake is much handsomer than the duck. Its head and neck are of a lustrous green, with a ring of white round the lower part of the neck. The breast is a rich purplish brown. The under part of body and sides, a beautiful soft gray color. The tail dark brown or black ; wings brown and gray, with a greenish-purple bar across them. It is a handsome fowl. The duck is of a roan color. Each feather is penciled with gray and brown. They are very hardy ; do not care much for water ; are easily reared in the home yards, same as chickens, and are good layers of large eggs In size they are about the same as Pekins, weighing from twelve to eighteen pounds.”
Raising and Caring for Rouen Ducks: Rouen ducks are calm and not flight-prone. Rouen ducks can fed standard duck feed, though they also do well foraging on free-ranged pasture. If you wish to start brooding and hatching Rouen ducks, it takes 27 to 29 full days to hatch the average clutch of Rouen eggs. Rouen ducks are primarily raised for meat, and it is one of the most popular duck breeds raised for consumption.
Lewis Wright (The Practical Poultry Keeper: Public Domain) says:
“Rouen Ducks,” Mr. Fowler states, ” are reared much the same as Aylesbury, but are not nearly so forward, rarely laying till February or March. They are very handsome, and will weigh eight or nine pounds each ; and, as a rude, do much better in most parts of England than the Aylesburys. Their flesh is excellent, and at Michaelmas is, I think, superior to the other.
“The best general description of the Rouens in plumage is to be precisely like the wild mallard, but larger. The drake should have a commanding appearance, with a rich green and purple head, and a fine long bill, formed and set on the head as I have described for the Aylesburys. The bill should look clean, of a yellow ground, with a very pale wash of green over it, and the ‘ bean’ at the end of it jet black. His neck should have a sharp, clearly-marked white ring round it, not quite meeting at the back. Breast a deep rich claret-brown to well below the water-line, then passing into the under body-colour, which is a beautiful French grey, shading into white near the tail
The back ought to be a rich greenish black quite up to the tail feathers, the curls in which are a rich dark green. Wings a greyish brown, with distinct purple and white ribbon-mark well developed. The flight-feathers must be grey and brown any approach to white in them is a fatal disqualification, not to be compensated by any other beauty or merit. Legs a rich orange. Nothing can exceed the beauty of a drake possessing the above colours in perfection.
“The bill of the duck should not be so long as in the drake, and orange brown as a ground colour, shading off at the edges to yellow, and on the top a distinct splash or mark of a dark colour approaching black, two-thirds down from the top j it should there be rounded off, and on no account reach the sides. I may also remark that any approach to slate colour in the bills of either sex would be a fatal blemish. The head of the duck is dark brown, with two distinct light brown lines running along each side of the face, and shading away to the upper part of the neck. Breast a pale brown, delicately pencilled with dark brown ; the back is exquisitely pencilled with black upon a moderately dark brown ground. The shoulder of the wing is also beautifully pencilled with black and grey; flight-feathers dark grey, any approach to white being instant disqualification ; and ribbon-mark as in the drake. Belly, up to the tail, light brown, with every feather delicately pencilled to the tip. Legs orange, often, however, with a brown tinge. The duck sometimes shows an approach to a white ring round the neck, as in the drake j such a good judge would instantly disqualify.”