B is for Barbu d’uccle: a friendly bantam

BI have kept theses lovely bantam chickens for many years, although sadly, the last of those that I hatched in the incubator died just a month ago – she was about 4 years old and died of a natural death, and maybe from the sadness of having lost her her hatched companions last year – there were a little group of them that hatched out together, and, slowly nature in one way or another intervened.  It’s not something I want to dwell on, but if you keep chickens, you have to get used to the idea of death, as they have short lives.

IMG_2379This is Missy, just a few weeks before, in the garden. She was so small that she could fit comfortably on my shoulder, and often used to perch there when I sat in my favourite sunny spot.  She was the ‘millefleure’ version of this breed – literally meaning a thousand flowers – or multicoloured.

bbd's 08Here is another grouping of them, the cockerel is in the foreground.  Even the cockerels are friendly, and easily handled. They are the ideal bantam breed to keep when you have small children and they are useful in the garden, eating the slugs  and other insects, without making too much of a mess of the flower beds you have lovingly planted – but you need to keep them away from the young shoots in spring, as they are tender and juicy – and favourite food for chickens!

And yes, why do they have such a strange name – its pronounced a bit like the barbie doll.  They were originally bred in Belgium.

painting showing the breed and variations in colours

painting showing the breed and variations in colours

“Breeder Michel van Gelder cross bred existing feather legged European bantams with the Barbu d’Anvers to eventually create the Barbu d’Uccle. The barbu d’Uccle was first recorded to have been exhibited in 1905.” If you want to know a bit more about them I copied that from this blog.  And the painting too!

The breed is not very well known, and you may have trouble finding some.  I bought my first ones from a wonderfully eccentric lady in Carmarthen, who had set up a cardboard circle in her living room, because she had so many chicks, she couldn’t grown them on anywhere else – smile!