The Poultry Code

Last updated 17 September 2020

If it Walks Like a Duck, Quacks Like a Duck, Looks Like a Duck, it Must be a Chicken

Sounds ridiculous, but ducks are only mentioned in an appendix of a larger poultry code which refers primarily to chickens throughout the document. Dr Roger Meischke, an expert veterinarian stated in a recent report of duck farming in Australia(15) that changes to the Australian duck industry "have brought with them a need to review the animal welfare provisions in the Australian Code (7)."

Further, Roger states, "The Australian Code of Animal Welfare Practice, Domestic Poultry 4th Edition provides for duck welfare at Appendix 4. This barely covers a single page and deals with stocking densities, bill trimming and bird handling. It states the page should be read in conjunction with the main body of the Code. It is clear that the main body of the Code deals with poultry which have needs for husbandry which are quite different to that of ducks. From time to time the needs are diametrically opposed. There is no discussion, for example, of the need for ducks to have access to water for purposes other than drinking. This is a critical defect which should be addressed without delay. This glaring deficiency should be addressed probably by preparing a stand-alone Code for the Welfare of Ducks."