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

Housing

Stocking rates

34. Irrespective of the type of enclosure or system of management used, all ducks should have sufficient room to be able to move about freely and to spread their wings at will.
35. It cannot be too strongly emphasised that birds kept under any system can be prone to stress, injury and disease if management and husbandry are not of a high standard. Within the present limits of scientific knowledge it is not possible to relate stocking rate to welfare in any simple manner. Stocking rate is only one aspect of a complex situation involving such things as breed, strain and type of bird, group size, temperature, ventilation, lighting and quality of housing. The observance of any particular rate cannot, by itself, ensure the welfare of the birds.
36. The following figures are a guide to the minimum available floor area per bird which is acceptable in most circumstances:

(a) DUCKLINGS

SYSTEM MAXIMUM STOCKING RATES QUALIFICATIONS
On slatted, perforated or metal mesh floors:

Day-old to 10 days

10 days to 3 weeks

3 weeks to 8 weeks

50 ducklings per m2

25 ducklings per m2

8 ducklings per m2

Floor area to include any area occupied by feeding and watering equipment
On solid floors (littered):

Day-old to 10 days

10 days to 3 weeks

3 weeks to 8 weeks

36 ducklings per m2

14 ducklings per m2

7 ducklings per m2

Floor area to include any slatted, perforated or metal mesh area and any area occupied by feeding and watering equipment
In grass runs:

3 weeks to 8 weeks

2,500 ducklings per hectare In well-grassed runs this stocking rate could be increased to a maximum of 5,000 ducklings per hectare

(b) BREEDING DUCKS

SYSTEM MAXIMUM
STOCKING
RATES
QUALIFICATIONS
On slatted, perforated or metal mesh floors 5 ducks per m2 Floor area to include any area occupied by feeding and watering equipment and nest boxes
On solid floors (littered) 3 ducks per m2 Floor area to include any slatted, perforated or metal mesh area and any area occupied by feeding and watering equipment and nest boxes
In grass runs associated with housing on floors 4,000 ducks per hectare  

37. If disease or vice becomes evident, expert qualified advice should be sought to deal with the problem. Stocking and ventilation rates should also be checked and variations in stocking and ventilation should be considered in order to minimise the likelihood of recurrence of the problem

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