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Study to assess the welfare of ducks housed in systems currently used in the UK - AW0233

Description
There is currently little information available on the welfare of ducks kept in intensive systems1. The Council of Europe2 stated that some commercial systems result in poor welfare through their failure to meet the essential ‘needs’ of ducks, particularly the need to bathe in water, but there is no reliable documentation of the extent of welfare problems in practice. Defra3 and the RSPCA4 have specified welfare codes of recommendation and standards for ducks but there is no information either on the extent to which these standards are achieved on commercial farms or, where they are not met, the extent of the welfare problem that results. There is consequently a major need for research into the welfare of intensively housed ducks. This proposal directly addresses Defra’s requirement for information on the welfare of ducks by means of a comprehensive assessment of different commercial systems currently in use in the UK. In addition, however, we aim to answer an additional question. This is to ascertain the importance of bathing water to ducks by quantifying their motivation to gain access to water in which they can bathe. Our overall objective is to involve the duck industry at all stages of the planning and execution of the project and to work with them towards commercially viable improvements that will enhance rather than jeopardise the competitiveness of the UK duck industry. The results will be of direct relevance to the formulation of EU policy on duck welfare. The focus of the study will be on meat breeds of domestic duck (e.g. Pekin). The major UK duck producers and the British Poultry Council have given their support.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Study to assess the welfare of ducks housed in systems currently used in the UK   (342k)
• Final Report - Annex : Study to assess the welfare of ducks housed in systems currently used in the UK   (349k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2007

Cost: £294,027
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Oxford
Keywords
Animal Welfare              
Plants and Animals              
Poultry              
Fields of Study
Animal Welfare