RSPCA welfare standards
for domestic/common ducks
49 February 2015
* indicates an amendment
S 3.2 The method used to score each condition outlined in S 3.1 must be objective and:
a) differentiate between minor, mild and severe conditions
b) provide consistent results within and between observers
c) provide reliable and accurate data for the level of a condition within a flock.
The following scoring system should be used to classify pododermatitis:
0 (None): No lesion/s present
1 (Minor): Very small and superficial lesion/s, slight discolouration on a limited area,
2 (Mild): Substantial discolouration, superficial lesion/s, dark papillae
3 (Severe): Ulcers or scabs of significant size, signs of haemorrhages or swollen foot
If there is an absence of severe foot pad burns, but a lot of class 1 lesions are observed in a
flock, then this should be seen as not necessarily a major welfare problem in itself, but as an
indication that things can rapidly get worse and that remedial action should be taken.
A minimum of 200 feet per flock should be assessed to estimate the average level of
pododermatitis for that flock. The number of feet in each category should be recorded. The feet
should be clean prior to assessment and should be individually examined under good light.
The following scoring system should be used to classify dirty feathers:
0 (None): clean - not significantly dirty
1 (Minor): lightly soiled
2 (Mild): medium soiling
3 (Severe): heavily soiled
Assessing birds for dirty feathers should take place on the farm during catching. This will avoid
scoring birds that may have become dirty during transport and therefore provide a better picture
of on-farm conditions. The stock-keeper and/or catching foreman should assess the birds.
S 3.3 Data relating to S 3.1 must be reported back to the producing farm.
S 4.1 All birds must be killed as soon as possible on arrival at the processing plant and in any case within
S 4.2 The lairage must be designed to minimise any distress caused to the birds.
The design of the lairage includes aspects such as the flooring. Uneven flooring can cause
physical discomfort to birds when moving them through the lairage in transport containers.