Barbu de Watermael: The Belgian Bearded Bantam

The Barbu de Watermael is a bantam chicken developed in Belgium and named after the town of Watermael-Boitsfort. In French the name means "bearded chicken from Watermael". Belgian Bantams are “true bantams” having no large counterparts; the Belgians love their bantams.

The Facts:

Class: Light Bantam

Size: Bantam (only) Male: 22 oz. / Bantam Female: 18 oz.

Comb, Wattles & Earlobes: Rose

Color: over 30

Place of Origin: Belgium or Netherlands

Conservation Status: not in danger


It’s considered a purely ornamental fowl, available in over 30 color varieties, including Mille Fleur (1000 flowers-due to the speckled coloration), Quail, White, Blue and Cuckoo. As with all bantams, the eggs are small and much less frequent than standard laying breeds. And, as is common with bantams, when they go broody they are steadfast setters and diligent mothers.

This little chicken from Watermael or Watermaal, is related to another Belgian breed: Bearded d'Anvers but sports a crest of feathers, small rose comb, clean legs and a lower tail carriage. It’s the smallest of the three prominent breeds: D’uccle, D’anvers & Watermael.

Barbu d'Uccles, also known as Booted Bantams, are more placid and easy going. They always have a single comb and feathered legs and are slightly larger than the d'Anvers, but otherwise very similar in characteristics.

Bantam chicken fanciers are busy in this part of the world, producing new breeds and color varieties quite often. This is one of the reasons that this little bird is so well liked and special.

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