Food and water
RSPCA welfare standards
for domestic/common ducks
8 February 2015
* indicates an amendment
FW 2.19 * The height of open water facilities that permit full body access (i.e. the distance between the top of the
facility and the surface the birds are standing on) must not hinder the ability of the birds to freely and
easily enter the water and, in any case, for ducks from 4 weeks of age, must not be more than 22cm.
FW 2.20 * Where ramps are used to help ducks access the open water facilities, there must be a level surface of at
least 1m that extends between the edge of the resource and the top of the ramp.
Providing an area of sufficient width around the facility allows ducks to stand around the outside
of the facility to use the water and comfortably pass each other.
If ramps are used they should be at an angle of no more than 20 degrees, as ducks may struggle
to walk up them if they are too steep.
FW 2.21 * Where the depth of the water is greater than 10cm:
a) there must be an area where the water is 10cm deep, and
b) the area referred to in a) must extend out by at least 25cm from along the entire length of one side of
the facility where the birds can enter the facility (see Appendix 3, Fig. 2).
Having a 10cm deep area aids ease of access into and out of the facility and provides an area
of shallower water that ducks appear to prefer when carrying out certain behaviours.
FW 2.22 * When ducks are provided with open water facilities that permit full body access (see FW 2.17.1), bell
drinkers and/or nipple drinkers must also be provided to supply a separate source of drinking water.
Although nipple drinkers are currently permitted to provide ducks with drinking water, it is
strongly recommended that wide-channel bell drinkers are used.
FW 2.23 * Where bell drinkers are used to satisfy FW 2.22:
a) the water channel must be at least 7cm wide and 7cm deep, and
b) at least 50cm of drinking space must be provided per 100 birds.
FW 2.24 * Where nipple drinkers are used to satisfy FW 2.22:
a) they must be designed and suitable for use by ducks
b) they must be of the 360 degree design
c) they must have a high flow rate
d) there must be 1 drinker per 12 ducks where cups are used or per 15 ducks where cups are not used.