Improving the production efficiency, welfare and processing of commercial ducks
The University of Sydney
Project code: PRJ-003776
Project stage: Closed
Project start date: Thursday, October 1, 2009
Project completion date: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
National Priority: NAP-Enhance industry success through targeted industry-specific RD&E
The proposed project will provide the Australian duck industry with practical information to improve the efficiency of duck production, including maximizing carcass quality and issues related to feather removal during processing.
While husbandry know-how is seen as vital to maximize production efficiency and welfare of farmed livestock, the procedures used for the production of meat ducks in Australia have been predominantly developed overseas by organisations responsible for the generation of the genotypes used. These organizations have commercial interests and are often not open to providing background information to many of the production issues facing Australian producers. The lack of direct information is also confounded by the fact that production under local conditions is very different to that in Europe, the source of the genotypes used in Australia. Therefore, to facilitate growth and efficiency in the duck industry, key husbandry and processing factors potentially limiting bird growth, welfare and processing efficiency under Australian conditions need to be better understood. This is only possible if relevant research is undertaken.
New and Emerging Animal Industries
The University of Sydney
The proposed project will provide the Australian duck industry with practical information to improve the efficiency of duck production, including maximizing carcass quality and feather removal during processing.
Specific objectives are:
1. To describe and quantify the behaviour of growing ducks, with a specific focus on identifying the main factors associated with the occurrence of feather pecking and then to investigate strategies that might limit feather pecking under commercial conditions.
2. Determine the optimal stocking density for commercial strains of growing ducks under Australian conditions.
3. Investigate the on-farm (eg. feed withdrawal and bird hydration) and transport factors that influence feather removal during processing.
4. Investigate strategies that will help alleviate the depressed growth rate of ducks under summer conditions in Australia.
5. Develop a growth model for commercial strains of ducks grown to 7 weeks of age to meet the requirements of the ‘cut-up’ market.