Association for Promotion of Belgian Poultry Breeds


Association

Large fowl

Bantams

Waterfowl

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Waterfowl

|Termonde duck    |Forest duck    |Huttegem duck    |Merchtem duck    |Semois duck   
|Flemish goose |Vire and Ton goose

Huttegem duck

Drawing of a a pair of Huttegem ducks by René Delin, 1925

 

Origin : About the origin of the Huttegem or Oudenaarde duck is very little known. Originally it was a laying breed that was kept in large numbers on the banks of the Scheldt River in the Oudenaarde region. The English poultry specialist J.T. Brown described in 1909 he visited this region and how he remembered these remarkable blue ducks. As a possible ancestor of this breed the famous Termonde duck is mentioned again.

Characteristics : Originally the Huttegem was a layer but gradually people started to use it for the production of ducklings. The ducks laid very well during wintertime and so the farmers were able to produce duckling so early that by Easter the first birds were ready for the table. Because the ducks were such good layers they didn’t brood their eggs themselves. This problem was solved by the hens of a local chicken breed, also called the Huttegem. These rather large hens could easily sit on a large number of duck eggs and were also used for rearing the ducklings. Sometimes even fifty ducklings were placed under care of just one hen. The hens were placed in meadows in special cages which they couldn’t leave. The duckling however could leave the cages and could search extra food in the rich soils of the meadows but would never go to far away from their stepmothers.

Appearance : The Huttegem is a medium-sized duck (2 to 2,25 kg) with a rather strongly erected carriage. Originally there were several colors and patterns but the first breed standard, which was drawn up only in 1971, only described a special blue and white pattern of which only the neck, the breast and the primaries were white and the rest of the plumage blue. The best birds had head markings similar to those of the fawn and white Indian runner. The bill was slate and the legs reddish orange with sometimes black flecks.

Varieties : The Huttegem has a typical pied pattern that doesn’t occur in other breeds. It comes in two colors, black and blue.

State : Extremely rare and possibly even extinct. The only hope for this authentic breed is that unexpectedly somewhere a few remaining birds are found from which the breed can be reestablished. A tragic end for a breed that is described in almost every historical book on duck keeping all over the world.