Ducks (England): Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock (PB0079)

Housing

Ventilation and temperature

24. Ventilation rates and house conditions should at all times be adequate to provide sufficient fresh air for the ducks. In particular, accumulations of ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and dust should be avoided. (3)
25. Excessive heat loss or gain in buildings should be avoided.
26. Care should be taken to protect confined birds from draughts in cold conditions.
27. Ducks should not be exposed to strong direct sunlight or hot surroundings long enough to cause heat stress as indicated by prolonged panting.
28. A newly-hatched duckling has poor control of its body temperature. Environmental conditions during the early part of its life should therefore allow it to maintain its normal body temperature without difficulty. Whatever method of heating is used, the behaviour of the duckling should be regarded as the best indicator of the adequacy of the environment. Young ducklings should not be subjected to conditions which cause either panting due to overheating or prolonged huddling and feather-ruffling due to under-heating. After about one to two weeks birds can tolerate a fairly wide range of temperatures, but every effort should be made to avoid creating conditions which will lead to chilling, huddling and subsequent smothering.
29. A high stocking rate affects the birds' ability to maintain their normal body temperature, but under any management system ambient temperatures hot enough to cause prolonged panting may occur, particularly when humidity is relatively high. All accommodation should therefore be so designed that even when fully stocked its ventilation is adequate to protect the birds from overheating under any weather conditions that can reasonably be foreseen.

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