RSPCA welfare standards
for domestic/common ducks
24 February 2015
* indicates an amendment
R 1.10 If birds have access to any commercial arable crop then:
a) the crop may only be planted outside the perimeter of the range, to allow birds uninterrupted access to
all parts of the range,
b) the crop must not be detrimental to bird welfare, and
c) birds must not be exposed to any crop management practice that may cause them harm, e.g. spraying,
pesticide use, sowing, cropping etc.
Commercial arable crops are not regarded as acceptable vegetation and will be excluded from
calculations for range stocking density.
R 1.11 In paddocks, where pasture management practices such as rotation ensure a good grass sward is
maintained throughout the grass period, there must be a minimum of 2.5m2 of range per bird.
R 1.12 Where grass cover is poor, there must be a minimum of 4m2 of range per bird.
It is a legal requirement that free-range ducks have access to a range that is mainly covered by
vegetation, and that each bird be provided with a minimum range area of 2m2.
R 1.13 * Ducks must be provided with areas of shelter as a form of protection against adverse weather conditions,
such as prevailing wind, rain and strong sunlight.
Free range ducks should have access to areas of shelter to not only offer cover from adverse
weather conditions but also offer regions of variation and enrichment. Both natural and artificial
shelter is recommended. Natural shelter should include the planting of trees and shrubs or semipermanent
vegetation that can be easily established and removed, such as artichoke and kale.
Artificial shelter could include the erection of military netting and sun parasols, and the provision
of straw bale 'huts' and trailers.
Shelters should form 'corridors' leading out from the building to encourage birds onto the range.
R 1.14 In summer conditions, free-range ducks must have access to adequate areas of shelter to minimise
crowding (thereby risking further heat stress).