Key Characteristics

They are a docile breed and tame reasonably easily. Because of their size they cannot fly. Like all heavy ducks, it is a challenge to produce good quality birds and keep them in show condition, but is very rewarding for those prepared to take it on.


  • Originally produced in Normandy, from the area of Rouen, it was imported into southern England some time in the eighteenth century. 
  • Here its size, shape and colouring were further developed to such an extent that it was distinguished from the commercial French ducks by referring to it as the Rouen foncé (dark Rouen) or even ‘English Rouen’.
  • It was one of the first duck breeds standardized in Great Britain (in the original Standards of 1865).
  • It has also been used as basic stock for breeding many of the duck breeds developed in the twentieth century.


  • The Rouen is a very large domestic duck with plumage colour and markings that resemble those of the wild mallard.
  • The drake can weigh over 5kg, the duck is only slightly smaller.
  • Carriage is horizontal, the keel being deep and parallel to and touching the ground when the bird is standing at rest. The head is massive, the skull rising slightly from the base of the bill.
  • There is also a blue form, but as with other blue ducks, this does not breed true.


Exhibition females lay between 100-150 eggs per year, and the breed is now valued more for its size and plumage markings in the exhibition pen than as a commercial meat bird as it is slow growing, taking two years to reach its full weight of 5kg. 

Did you know?

Being so large, this breed is mostly too heavy to fly so can be contained by slow fences. 

Breed Societies

For more information visit the British Waterfowl Association.