Food and water
RSPCA welfare standards
for domestic/common ducks
6 February 2015
* indicates an amendment
FW 2.12 * All open water facilities must be:
a) fit for the purpose
b) constructed from a material that is not likely to harm the birds, for example, by breaking or forming
rough or sharp edges
c) designed and managed so as not to cause harm to the birds
d) presented in a good state of repair
e) designed to minimise water spillage
f) managed to minimise water spillage.
An angled lip along the top of the facility can help prevent water overflowing, and wide feet on the
base can help ensure it sits firmly on the floor and does not easily move if knocked by the birds.
It is advisable that the height of the facility is sufficient that, when full with water to the required
depth, there is a gap of approximately 5cm between the surface of the water and the top of the
facility to help prevent water overflowing.
FW 2.13 * Per 100 ducks, there must be a minimum of 50cm of usable open water facility space.
With regards to FW 2.13, the term 'usable' relates to the parts of the facility where the ducks can
freely and fully submerge their heads in the water, and take water up by the bill, when standing
around the outside of the facility.
FW 2.14 * A minimum number of two of the required open water facilities must be provided.
FW 2.15 * All open water facilities must be designed and managed to ensure all ducks can freely and fully submerge
their heads in the water, and take water up by the bill, when standing around the outside of the facility.
Even when provided with full body access to open water, ducks choose to perform a number of
water-related behaviours from around the outside of the facility, such as drinking, head dipping
and preening. Therefore, it is important that the facility enables the ducks to freely and easily
perform these behaviours and that it is not necessary to fully enter the water to perform them.
FW 2.16 * Ducks must have access to open water facilities that allow full body access as early as possible and, in
any case, from no later than 21 days of age.
FW 2.17 * From day old, the open water facilities provided to satisfy FW 2.13 must allow water to cover the head
fully and be taken up by the bill so the duck can shake water over its body without difficulty and, in any
a) a water channel width of at least 4.5cm, and
b) a water depth of at least 4.5cm.
In order to satisfy standard FW 2.15 at all times, the dimensions of the water facilities will need to
be increased as the birds grow. As a guide, by 14 days of age, water facilities should be at least
15cm wide with a water depth of at least 8cm.