RSPCA welfare standards
for domestic/common ducks
33 February 2015
* indicates an amendment
The environment in which livestock are housed needs to be conducive to good health.
H 1.1 A written Veterinary Health and Welfare Plan (VHWP) must be drawn up, reviewed and updated at least
annually with the attending veterinary surgeon.
The Veterinary Health and Welfare Plan (VHWP) takes into account specific health and welfare
issues that are known to affect ducks, for example pododermatitis, and health concerns that
have been identified on-farm on an individual basis.
H 1.2 The VHWP must include targets set for health aspects and records kept to identify whether targets have
been met every year and at each assessment made by the veterinary surgeon.
* Managers must:
a) have access to a copy of the Defra Code of Practice for the Control of Salmonella during the
Production, Storage and Transport of Compound Feeds, Premixtures, Feed Materials and Feed
b) be familiar with its content, and
c) adopt its recommendations.
H 1.4 There must be no recurring injuries of a similar nature seen on a number of birds attributable to physical
features of their environment or handling procedures.
H 1.5 If injuries are found, a programme of preventative action must be specified in the VHWP (see H 1.1).
H 1.6 If the mortality level within a house is in excess of 0.5% in any 24-hour period, a veterinary investigation
must be made and the outcome recorded.
Investigation of lower mortality levels is at the discretion of the attending veterinary surgeon.
H 1.7 Flock performance data must be continuously monitored for signs of disease and production disorders.
H 1.8 For each condition listed in S 3.1 ('health monitoring' in Slaughter/killing section), a plan must be developed
which is designed to prevent any increase in and/or reduce the average level of that condition existing on
H 1.9 The plans referred to in H 1.8 must be incorporated into the VHWP (see H 1.1).
H 1.10 If any flock performance parameters fall below the tolerance limits identified in the VHWP (see H 1.1):
a) the veterinary surgeon must be informed
b) the VHWP must be revised to include a programme of action that will remedy the problem.
The use of multi-vitamins is recommended as good practice during the early stages of
rearing, in the event of suspected disease challenge and also prior to and following periods
of possible stress.