Its region of origin is the Bourbonnais and its ancestor is, probably, the Aylesbury English duck
though it carries itself less horizontally. It is of nice size (male : 4 kg ; female : 3. kg),
very hardy, massive, stocky, but also lively and jaunty with white plumage devoid of spots or sulphurous
reflections. It grows fast. The female lays early in life, white eggs weighing 80 g.
Tracing its origins like the fowl bearing the same name to the town of Bourbourg, this duck has never known any real development in France except in the area of Bourbourg it where it was the object of active trade. Having the Mertchem duck (Belgium) and Aylesbury (England) duck for ancestors, it first appeared around the end of the 19th century and nearly disappeared towards the middle of the 20th. Nowadays, several breeders are still selecting this breed. One should be careful not to confuse it with other white ducks.
Its standard was established in 1924.
Its main characteristics are the following ones : a large, massive body, almost horizontal, well fleshed out, pinkish-white bill ; orangy-yellow tarsus, dark eyes, white plumage.
Under the reign of king Phillip IV of Spain (1621 - 1665), many Spaniards choosing to live in exile settled in the marshy regions of Vendée and Brittany ; they transformed the old gulf after draining it into a sort of polder.It is in this manner that the breeding of the duck of Challans began and that the supply of table ducks to Nantes was ensured as it was in the early 18th century.
The traditional method of breeding leaves the ducks free to go from the farmyard to the canals where
conical rush nests are disposed on the banks. The females mate not only with the ducks of the farm but
also with wild ducks passing by in the course of migrations. The ducklings are either left to the female
or given to the care of a dwarf hen. As they are growing older, the duckling will be fed by farmers
provides but will also eat caterpillars, insects, larvae, slugs, snails and tadpoles. At about 8 weeks
(of age) they are kept in a pen for purposes of intensive fattening.
This breed arose as the result of a mutation which occured in Pierre Delambre's poultry farm in Clamart. It was then selected by Jean-Claude Périquet of Gincrey in the Meuse.
Here is what Pierre Delambre wrote : "In 1992 in a brood of Colverts, I was surprised to find 3 ducklings
which differed from the rest. Indeed, these appeared to express a gene uncommon in palmipeds,
given that it was the "naked neck" factor. The ducklings grew with no problem and I found myself at the head of a beautiful trio of naked-neck ducks which included a female with isabelle (light tan) livery..."
The following year, Mr. Delambre tried to breed these but in vain : "I tried everything, moved them to
different pens and changed their feed several times to no avail ". He then entrusted the ducks to
Jean-Claude Périquet said : "I left the animals together, but the resulting eggs weren't fertile,
I then placed the naked-neck females with a male Colvert and the naked-neck male with female Colverts.
The ducklings that resulted were all normal Colverts, there wasn't a single naked-neck, this led me
to suppose that the naked-neck gene was recessive. It is from these first generation ducks that I
got my first naked-neck ducks. In 1998 my breeding stock consisted of 8 males and 7 females which
A draft for the naked-neck duck was set out by Jean-Claude Périquet and 4 subjects (in accordance with regulations in the matter) were presented for the first time at the Metz international exhibition in November 1997 for ratification purposes.
This breed presents many characteristics which among ducks are unique : partially bare neck,
head and abdominal areas, no scales on tarsus and fingers, atrophy of the large wing feathers and rump.
The male weighs around 1.2 kg and the female 1.1 kg ; the eggs of 50 to 60 g have a greenish shell, the Whitish shell being a extremely rare.
The Naked-neck ducklings had to be reared apart from others since they seemed a bit delicate. Yet they did not appear to suffer from cold having endured a temperature of -22.5 °C under shelter in Gincrey (Meuse),on the morning of January 1st 1997 (it was a low record in France) !
Having originated from the Normandy, this duck bears the name of a Norman town. The standard of
the descendant of regional ducks, was established on November 23, 1923. However, in many European
countries, similar breeds are recognized under different names such as the Termonde duck (Belgium),
the Swedish ducks and the Pomeranian (Germany) ones. It is easy to get black ducks with a white dewlap by crossing Rouen type ducks with black or white breeds. It is then necessary to select the ducks obtained to get subjects which will conform to the standard.
The male should weigh 3 kg, the female 2.5 kg and the eggs 70 g : they have a regular shell color, sort of blueish green.
Le canard d'Estaires (Estaires duck)
The Northern area has also the Estaires duck on the top of the Bourbourg hen and duck. Probably
developed from the Pekin, this duck lived on the banks of the Lys river, which passes through Estaires. Little known outside of its native region it has become a rare nowadays.
Having the same shape than the Bourbourg duck, it is smaller (2 to 2.5 kg), it is also rustic and it grows fast.It is also a good egg layer but of less fine flesh than the Bourbourg.