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Welfare of ducks in European duck husbandry systems

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2007

T.B. Rodenburg*
Affiliation:
Applied Research, Animal Sciences Group, Wageningen UR, Lelystad, The Netherlands;
M.B.M. Bracke
Affiliation:
Animal Resources Development Division, Animal Sciences Group, Wageningen UR, Lelystad, The Netherlands;
J. Berk
Affiliation:
Institute for Animal Welfare and Animal Husbandry, Celle, Germany;
J. Cooper
Affiliation:
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, United Kingdom;
J.M. Faure
Affiliation:
Station de Recherches Avicoles, INRA de Tours, Nouzilly, France;
D. Guémené
Affiliation:
Station de Recherches Avicoles, INRA de Tours, Nouzilly, France;
G. Guy
Affiliation:
Station Experimentale des Palmipedes a Foie Gras, INRA Artigueres, Benquet, France;
A. Harlander
Affiliation:
Department of Farm Animal Ethology and Poultry Science, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany;
T. Jones
Affiliation:
Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom;
U. Knierim
Affiliation:
Department of Farm Animal Behaviour and Husbandry, University of Kassel, Witzenhausen, Germany;
K. Kuhnt
Affiliation:
Institute of Animal Hygiene, Animal Welfare and Behaviour of Farm Animals, School of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany;
H. Pingel
Affiliation:
Institute of Animal Breeding and Husbandry, Martin-Luther-University, Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany;
K. Reiter
Affiliation:
Institute of Animal Husbandry and Welfare, Bavarian Research Centre of Agriculture, Poing-Grub, Germany;
J. Serviére
Affiliation:
Department of Animal Sciences INRAINAPG, Paris, France
M.A.W. Ruis
Affiliation:
Applied Research, Animal Sciences Group, Wageningen UR, Lelystad, The Netherlands;
*Corresponding
*Corresponding author: b.rodenburg@clo.fgov.be
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Abstract

European duck meat production is based on the use of Pekin, Muscovy and Mule duck genotypes that vary in their behavioural and physiological characteristics. Furthermore, large differences exist in their housing and management conditions. The aim of this review is to discuss the welfare of these different genotypes in typical husbandry systems, focusing on ducks kept for meat production. Firstly, factors that can affect duck welfare, such as stocking density and group size, access to straw, an outdoor run, or open water, are described. Secondly, welfare problems such as feather pecking, fear and stress, and health problems are assessed. Thirdly, the various systems used in Europe are described for these aspects. Giving ducks access to straw, an outdoor run, or open water increases the behavioural opportunities of the ducks (foraging, preening, bathing, and swimming), but can also lead to poor hygiene and increased health- and food safety risks. Therefore, practical solutions that allow expression of natural behaviour, but do not lead to hygiene or health problems have to be found and some practical suggestions are provided.

Type
Reviews
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2005

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