Originating from Belgium, the Mille Fleur d’Uccle is a distinctive chicken breed known for its varied color patterns, feathered feet, and small size. However, note that these chickens are more than just their appearance.
Beyond just being ornamental birds, Mille Fleur d’Uccles are reliable in egg farming and effective in chick-rearing. In addition, they are cherished for their docile streak, making them a hit among fans of heritage breeds.
In this article, we will give you a detailed profile of Mille Fleur d’Uccles, including their history, behavior, and noise levels. We will also discuss the pros and cons of raising them, their care requirements, prices, and more!
Mille Fleur d’Uccle Chicken Quick Facts
|Roosters: 1.5–1.7 lbs (0.6–0.7 kg);
Hens: 1–1.4 lbs (0.4–0.6 kg)
|Egg farming, ornamental, and as pets
|150–250 eggs per year
|Cream or tinted
|Alert, friendly, docile, shy, sweet-natured, territorial, and quick-witted
|Medium to high
|Incredibly heat hardy
|Unique feather patterns that look like a thousand flowers, various color patterns, heavily feathered feet, V-shape tail feathers
What Is a Mille Fleur d’Uccle?
Also called Belgian Bearded D’uccle (pronounced like “dew-clay”), Barbu d’Uccle, or Millie, the Mille Fleur d’Uccle is known for its feather patterns that look like a thousand flowers, which is exactly what its French name means. They are popular for egg farming, ornamental purposes, and as pets.
Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens hail from Uccle, a town in Belgium, and stands as one of the oldest pedigreed bantam breeds.
Their creation is attributed to Michael Van Gelder, a Dutch businessman with a passion for poultry. In the late 1800s, he undertook a mission to develop this breed, investing years and significant funds.
In particular, his breeding strategy involved crossing the Barbu d’Anvers, known for its beard, with the Dutch Sabelpoot, recognized for its feathered legs. This explains the unique look of Mille Fleur d’Uccles.
Today, these birds are among the most sought-after bantam chicken breeds, beloved for their distinctive appearance and historical significance.
Fun Fact: People believe Mille Fleur d’Uccle bantams have been around since the 1600s, thanks to Cuyp’s paintings. But one thing we all know for sure is that Van Gelder played a huge role in improving them even further.
Mille Fleur d’Uccle Appearance
Mille Fleur d’Uccles are characterized by muffed feathers that frame their face. Their charm is further enhanced by the full feathering along their legs and feet, which are known as vulture hocks.
Another striking aspect of their appearance includes their very small or nearly non-existent wattles. They also sport a single comb and possess V-shaped tail feathers, which they carry at a high angle.
According to the Belgian d’Uccle & Booted Bantam Club, these chickens also boast an impressive variety of 28 colorations. These include shades like black, blue, millefleur, gray, quail, buff Columbian, and butterscotch.
However, one should note that the American Poultry Association (APA) recognizes only seven colors: black, golden neck, millefleur, mottled, porcelain, self-blue, and white.
Check out this cool video to see what Mille Fleur d’Uccle bantams look like in action:
Fun Fact: The millefleur variety, in particular, stands out as the first and most popular among the Belgian Bearded d’Uccles. This specific type even lent the breed its initial name.
Mille Fleur d’Uccle Size and Weight
Generally speaking, Mille Fleur d’Uccles are among the smallest chicken breeds out there. Roosters of this species typically weigh between 1.5 and 1.7 pounds, while hens are slightly lighter, ranging from 1 to 1.4 pounds.
In terms of height, these birds stand between 9 and 14 inches tall. This short stature is a defining characteristic of the breed, making them ideal for aspiring poultry owners with limited space.
Note: An important aspect of Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens is that they are “true bantams,” meaning they have no standard-sized counterparts. So, if someone offers you a larger one, be cautious.
Mille Fleur d’Uccle Temperament and Behavior
Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens are regarded for their friendly and docile nature, making them ideal for beginners in poultry keeping. Further, their quick-witted and easygoing temperament suits various environments.
My friend chose Mille Fleur d’Uccles for their reputation as beginner-friendly birds. He found them to be incredibly adaptable since they thrived in his small backyard with ease.
He was also pleased with how well they integrated into his family life. Despite their initial shyness, the chickens quickly warmed up to his children, displaying a gentle and affectionate temperament.
During the breeding season, though, he mentioned that the roosters did display some territoriality. He managed this by ensuring a ratio of ten hens per rooster, which effectively minimized any aggressive behavior.
But do not worry about this small hiccup, however. Male Mille Fleur d’Uccles are considered one of the best rooster breeds to own. They are known for being hospitable, kind, and lively when properly cared for.
Egg Production and Broodiness of the Mille Fleur d’Uccle
Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens are reliable egg layers, producing 150 to 250 eggs annually. However, they are not typically favored by large-scale farmers, mainly because their eggs are smaller in size.
In addition, these chickens have a medium to high level of broodiness, often leading them to stop laying eggs to focus on hatching their young.
While this trait can indeed reduce egg production, it is ideal for those interested in raising chicks. In particular, their natural inclination to brood makes them excellent mothers.
Researchers stated that such a behavior can positively impact the overall well-being of a particular flock.
Mille Fleur d’Uccle Lifespan and Health
Mille Fleur d’Uccle bantams typically have a life expectancy ranging from 4 to 8 years. However, this lifespan can be shortened by certain health problems.
For your reference, here are the most common issues these chickens often face:
- Avian Infectious Bronchitis: Avian infectious bronchitis is a highly contagious viral disease affecting Mille Fleur d’Uccles. Symptoms can include respiratory distress, decreased egg production, and, in severe cases, death. Basically, vaccination is the most effective way to prevent this disease.
- Egg Yolk Peritonitis: Common in egg-laying breeds, egg yolk peritonitis occurs when egg yolk gets deposited in a Mille Fleur d’Uccle hen’s abdominal cavity instead of being laid normally. Lethargy, loss of appetite, and swollen abdomen are a few telltale signs of this condition.
- Scaly Leg Mite Infection: Scaly leg infection results from a parasitic mite infesting the leg scales of Mille Fleur d’Uccles. These mites are usually introduced to a flock via wild birds and rodents, serving as carriers for the parasites. Such a condition becomes evident when the affected chicken’s leg scales appear rough, flaky, and crusty.
Providing a clean, safe environment and a nutritious diet, along with regular health checks, can significantly contribute to the overall health and longevity of Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens.
Mille Fleur d’Uccle Chicken Care Guide
If you are really interested in giving your adorable Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens the best care they deserve, here are some essential tips and advice to help you keep them happy and healthy:
Feeding and Nutrition
For Mille Fleur d’Uccle chicks, a high-quality starter feed containing at least 20% protein is essential. This protein-rich diet supports their rapid growth and development during the early stages of life.
As they transition from chicks to cockerels and pullets, a shift to finisher feed is then advised. This feed should contain about 18 to 19% protein, catering to their changing nutritional needs as they continue to grow.
Upon reaching adulthood, Mille Fleur d’Uccles require a layer feed with 15 to 17% protein and added calcium. This diet supports their egg production and overall health.
Regardless of their life stage, however, note that a constant supply of clean water is crucial for their health and well-being.
Pro Tip: Treats like fresh fruits and vegetables, such as peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and beets, can be given as a nutritious supplement.
Housing and Shelter
Each Mille Fleur d’Uccle chicken needs at least four square feet of floor space inside the coop. This ensures they have enough room to move around comfortably, which reduces stress among the flock.
For bedding materials, a colleague of mine who raises Mille Fleur d’Uccle bantams recently shared insights about their coop setup.
Initially, they used only pine shavings, which worked well but required frequent changes to keep the coop clean and arid. Seeking a better solution, they explored different bedding materials.
After some research, they decided to try a combination of sand and pine shavings, taking a cue from fellow chicken lovers. Interestingly, this mix proved to be a game-changer. My colleague’s coop stayed cleaner and drier.
On another note, the ideal size for these chickens’ nesting boxes is 12 inches wide, 10 inches long, and 10 inches deep. This size provides enough space for the hens to lay eggs safely.
Adequate outdoor space is also essential, with a recommended 8 to 10 square feet per chicken in the run area. This space allows for natural behaviors like foraging and dust bathing.
Temperature and Lighting
For newly hatched Mille Fleur d’Uccle chicks, remember that maintaining the right temperature is crucial. Ideally, the temp at the floor level of their brooding box should be around 95°F.
Then, to acclimate them to lower temperatures, decrease the heat by five degrees each week for the first six weeks. This gradual reduction helps them adjust and develop properly.
As adults, though, Mille Fleur d’Uccle bantams are not particularly cold hardy. Specifically, the ideal temperature range in their coop should be between 65°F and 75°F.
Maintaining this range ensures their comfort and health, especially in colder climates where they might be more vulnerable to temp drops.
Lighting plays a vital role in their health as well. To be exact, Mille Fleur d’Uccle hens need 14 to 16 hours of light each day for optimal egg laying.
Pro Tip: Get a 40-watt bulb with a timer and hang it about seven feet high in your chickens’ coop. This will make your female Millies feel like they are getting sunlight, keeping their daily routine in check.
Noise Levels of Mille Fleur d’Uccle Chickens
One of the appealing characteristics of Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens is their relatively quiet nature. Unlike some breeds that are known for loud and frequent vocalizations, these chickens are more subdued.
To be specific, the hens of this species are well-known for making soft chicken sounds, contributing to a peaceful backyard environment.
The roosters of this breed, while possessing the typical crow, are not also excessively loud. As a matter of fact, many owners have noted that the male Mille Fleur d’Uccles’ crow is high-pitched but not overwhelming.
How Much Does a Mille Fleur d’Uccle Cost?
Mille Fleur d’Uccle chicks typically range in price from $3 to $10, with females generally costing more due to their egg-laying capabilities.
However, keep in mind that the cost can also be influenced by other factors such as location and the quality of the chicken itself. Additional shipping fees can increase the overall expense as well.
When considering where to buy Mille Fleur d’Uccles, specialized hatcheries are good starting points. Yet, these chickens are relatively rare outside Belgium, so finding them might require patience and thorough searching.
Pro Tip: To find more sources for Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens, try joining Facebook groups and online forums focused on poultry keeping. You might meet people who know where to get these charming birds.
Pros and Cons of Mille Fleur d’Uccle Chickens
When considering adding Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens to your flock, it is best to balance their pros and cons to ensure they fit your environment and expectations.
To help you decide, the following is a list that features the advantages of owning Mille Fleur d’Uccles:
- Very friendly and docile: Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens are known for their gentle, approachable streak. This makes them excellent pets, particularly for families with children or first-time chicken owners.
- Suitable for small spaces: Due to their bantam size, Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens do not require as much space as larger breeds. This makes them ideal for small backyards or urban settings where space may be an issue.
- Interactive and lively: Mille Fleur d’Uccle bantams are not just pets but interactive companions. They are known to be lively and engaging, often showing curiosity about their surroundings and the people who care for them.
- Good egg layers: Despite their small size, Mille Fleur d’Uccle hens are efficient egg layers. As a matter of fact, they can produce approximately 150 to 250 eggs in a single year.
- Unique appearance: One of the most striking features of Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens is their unusual feather pattern. This “thousand flowers” appearance adds both beauty and uniqueness to their presence among other birds.
In contrast, below are a few disadvantages of Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens:
- Prone to broodiness: Mille Fleur d’Uccle hens have a strong tendency to become broody, often opting to hatch their eggs rather than continue laying. Sadly, this can lead to interruptions in egg production.
- Not cold hardy: Although they may appear fluffy, Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens prefer warmer climates and might struggle in colder temperatures. Extra care and appropriate housing are needed to keep them comfy during winter.
- Vulnerable to predators: Due to their small size and quiet nature, Mille Fleur d’Uccles can be more susceptible to predators like raccoons and wild birds. Hence, secure housing is crucial to protect them from such threats.
- Rare outside Belgium: Being a breed that is uncommon outside its country of origin, Mille Fleur d’Uccle bantams can be challenging to find. This might require patience and persistence in searching for a reputable breeder or hatchery.
- Small-sized eggs: The eggs laid by Mille Fleur d’Uccle hens are smaller than standard chicken eggs. Even though they are perfectly suitable for consumption, their size might not be ideal for those looking for larger-scale farming.
It is clear that while Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens have several appealing traits, they also come with challenges.
So, before you add these lovely birds to your backyard crew, please take a moment to dig a little deeper and learn more about them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Meaning of “Mille Fleur”?
“Mille fleur” in French means “a thousand flowers.” To be specific, this term is used to describe dense, small-flowered patterns.
In the case of Belgian Bearded d’Uccles, it refers to their distinctive feather marks, which are intricate and detailed, resembling a cluster of tiny flowers or plants.
Are Mille Fleur d’Uccles Good Egg Layers?
Mille Fleur d’Uccles can be good egg layers, but their consistency varies. While they have the potential to produce up to 250 small-sized eggs annually, their egg-laying is not as steady as some other chicken breeds.
This is because Mille Fleur d’Uccle hens have a natural tendency to go broody, meaning they often stop laying eggs to incubate and hatch them.
Unfortunately, this instinct can interrupt their regular egg-laying cycle, which in turn makes their overall egg production less predictable.
What Color Eggs Do Mille Fleur d’Uccles Lay?
Mille Fleur d’Uccles lay eggs that are cream or tinted in color. Being bantams, you can anticipate that their eggs are also notably small in size.
Are Mille Fleur d’Uccles Cold Hardy?
Generally, Mille Fleur d’Uccles are not cold hardy. Nonetheless, they have a higher heat tolerance, making them ideal for warmer regions.
Plus, you should bear in mind that these chickens thrive better in a free-range environment, where they can move around and regulate their body temperature more effectively.
We hope this guide has made learning about Mille Fleur d’Uccle bantams fun and easy for you! Do you have thoughts or questions about them? Feel free to share in the comments below and join the conversation!