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