RSPCA welfare standards
for domestic/common ducks
34 February 2015
* indicates an amendment
H 1.11 Ailing ducks and any ducks suffering from injury, such as open wounds or fractures, must without delay be:
a) segregated, but within sight and sound of other ducks,
b) treated, or
c) if necessary, humanely killed (see H 3.3).
The RSPCA is aware that a number of different factors such as genetics, nutrition and
management can all have an effect on the health, especially the leg health, of ducks. When
considering the choice of stock, selection of the strain of bird should be made with the aim
of reducing welfare problems associated with rapid weight gain, such as leg problems.
H 1.12 Management plans must aim to prevent ducks from suffering chronic joint disease or leg deformation.
H 1.13 There must not be any lame birds.
Lame is defined as a bird that has an obvious gait defect that affects its ability to move. The
bird may have a limp, jerky or unsteady strut, or may splay one leg as it moves. The bird is
likely to prefer to sit when not coerced to move, and is likely to be unable to run.
H 1.14 Any bird that is:
a) in uncontrollable pain,
b) found not to be recovering from illness or injury, or
c) is lame
must be humanely killed without delay.
H 1.15 Where used, facilities to segregate sick or injured birds must:
a) be within the main house
b) provide birds with food and water, which is accessible without undue effort or discomfort, as specified
in the Food and water section
c) be stocked at a density lower than the rest of the house to allow birds to rest quietly
d) be well littered, as specified in the Environment section
e) be inspected at least 3 times daily and an assessment made of each bird - this must be recorded.
H 1.16 Stock-keepers must:
a) take care when placing a duck into the segregation pen
b) not, under any circumstances, drop it over the surround.
H 1.17 Following depopulation, all houses must be thoroughly cleansed, disinfected and tested free from infectious
agents as specified in the VHWP.
H 2.1 Bill trimming, claw trimming, wing clipping and any other forms of mutilation are not permitted.