Since the publication of Poultry Standards and Guidelines, there has been an emphasis on the outcome of egg-laying chickens and meat chickens. The industry of ducks in Australia isn’t that big in comparison to chicken and egg meat production. Moreover, the majority of Australians don’t know how domestic ducks are raised here and what they require.

Although they are animals with particular requirements, the majority of legal requirements for farm-raised ducks can be categorized into general standards that apply to a variety of types of poultry. We will explore the needs of ducks to be healthy and happy, as well as the most common welfare concerns that are present in the farming of domestic ducks.

What do ducks require and want

Ducks are waterfowl that spend their time sitting, preening, and bathing near and in the water. Access to a water source does not just provide an enriching environment and encourages positive health for ducks living on farms and in the wild. Still, it also promotes activity and helps the ducks’ noses and eyes look clear while also helping prevent infection of the eyes and other parasites. To bathe and for enrichment, drinking water for ducks must be big and deep enough to allow several ducks to take a dip simultaneously. Alongside the water needed for bathing, ducks also require access to separate drinking water and enough space to move about and flail their wings, sit together, and socialize.

In addition to adequate space and a suitable source of drinking water, the natural light can benefit the welfare of ducks. People who have access to natural light have been observed to show less fear-related responses and lower stress levels. Additionally, natural light can boost activity levels and help ducks engage in more enthusiastic and enjoyable behaviors. This is essential to keep ducks healthy.

Ducks also like playing and foraging; therefore, having dry, brittle, and clean litter is crucial to encourage these activities while providing ducks with a safe area to rest. The best quality litter offers the additional benefit of absorbing excessive moisture, which is crucial for the leg and foot health of ducks.

Concerns about the welfare of ducks raised in farmed farms

One of the major issues with the welfare of Australian-raised ducks is the fact that they are typically raised without a water source that can be used for bathing, as well as other water-related activities. Bathing, dabbling, and preening are all activities that ducks are attracted to, and if they’re incapable of performing these actions, they can become annoyed and experience health problems. The ducks who are frustrated are in danger of developing bizarre behavior such as head shaking, repeated feather preening, or self-mutilation through feather pecking.

Water sources aren’t just important for their mental well-being but also for their health. In the absence of a distinct source of water, the ducks aren’t able to cleanse their feathers, eyes, and bills. This could lead to health problems like eye parasites and parasites. Infections. Bathing is essential to maintain body temperature. If a duck can’t do it, they’re in danger of suffering from excessive heat.

In the past Model Code, ducks were not required to have the water they needed to bathe in, denying them the chance to participate in nature-based water-related activities and also the ability to maintain their feathers, eyes, and bills in good condition. Although there is a change in the Standards as well as the Guidelines to Poultry currently require breeding ducks to be able to bathe and bathing facilities, the RSPCA is keen to see all domestically raised ducks having access to bathing water to show off their behavior.

RSPCA’s View

The RSPCA believes that all domestic ducks need to be given mobility and the capacity to meet their social, behavioral, and physiological preferences and requirements. Ducks require adequate space, good dry litter, and proper lighting, as well as ventilation and, if access to outdoor space is offered, adequate shade and shelter to allow them to take advantage of the outdoor space.

If you are considering purchasing duck products, inquire with the manufacturer for additional information about the way ducks are raised, and then compare the information on their website.


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