This breed of ducks came to be called Rouen after going through several transformations. They were called "Rhone," for an area in southwest France, "Rohan," for a Catholic Cardinal, "Roan," a mixture of colors, and then finally "Rouen," for a town in north central France". In appearance Rouen ducks closely resemble the Mallard breed. It is the size and certain colorations that set the Rouen apart from the Mallard. Rouen ducks are larger than Mallards. The plumage of both Rouen and Mallard are identical. . Rouen hens have a darker brown hue than Mallard hens.
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The Rouen ducks are more suited for meat. They lack the qualities of a good egg layer. They lay only 35-125 eggs per year. They are good for roasting as they are fleshy and delicately flavored. The production variety normally weighs 6–8 lbs and the standard-bred weighs 9–12 lbs. Ducks have serrations on their bills that allow them to filter food out of the water. They feed on larvae and pupae usually found under rocks, aquatic animals, plant material, seeds, small fish, snails, and crabs.
The Rouen was first included in the American Poultry Association (APA) Standard of Perfection in 1874. As an exhibition duck, the Rouen Duck is a prime choice due to its beauty and size. Their plumage described as almond or chestnut in color is brilliant in sunlight. There are sometimes double or triple lines on the larger feathers.