Belgian Bearded dAnvers

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"Muffie" a d'Anvers cock courtesy of CubaKid.
"Muffie" a d'Anvers cock courtesy of CubaKid.

The Bearded d'Anvers is a breed of bantam chicken from Belgium. Also called the Antwerp Belgian, both names refer to the breed's origin in Antwerp (the French version being Anvers). The d'Anvers is a true bantam, having no large counterpart from which it was miniaturized. Males weigh 740 grams (26 ounces), and hens weigh 625 grams (22 ounces).

The Bearded d'Anvers is closely related to, and may the be the predecessor of, the Belgian Bearded d'Uccle. The exact time of origin for the breed is unknown, but it is likely that it has existed since at least the 17th century. By the middle of the 19th century, several color varieties were in development. The early 20th century saw a considerable surge in interest by breeders, and it was exported to the U.S. and other places abroad in the first of that century. It was first accepted in to the Standard of Perfection of the American Poultry Association in 1949. Also accepted by the American Bantam Association, it is classed as one of the Rose Comb, Clean Legged bantams.

The Bearded d'Anvers is a purely ornamental breed, kept either as pets or by poultry fanciers for showing. The hens of the breed are very friendly to humans, however the roosters may be aggressive to people. Most Bearded D'Anvers live longer and healthier if kept free-range or in an open space with no crowding. Its plumage can be one of fourteen varieties recognized in competition, ranging from Porcelain to Quail (one of the more common for the breed). It is a diminutive bird with a large, round breast that juts forward and an arching tail. As its name implies, the d'Anvers has a profuse beard of feathers that covers the ear-lobes. It has a small rose comb and small or nonexistent wattles. Temperamentally, the breed is very amicable, and bears confinement well. Hens lay small white eggs and will go broody.

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