Animal Care

Ducks & Geese

duck

LEGISLATION

Anyone who has poultry, either on external premises like a farm, petting zoo or at home, has to register the animals with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.  There are strict regulations on how the animal will be housed, fed, cared for, transported, etc.  As the owner it is your responsibility to ensure that you are registered and follow all the legislation.

Department of Agriculture Website - http://www.agriculture.gov.ie

http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/avian_influenza/informationonthepoultryindustry/ - click to view the regulations for poultry

Water
It is important ducks and geese have plenty of fresh drinking water. Often this is forgotten about when the birds have access to water for other reasons - such as preening, but this water can become dirty. Ideally, there should be a source of running water, but where this is not possible water containers need to be provided and cleaned at least once every day before refilling with clean water.

Both ducks and geese are waterfowl and, in the wild, spend a certain amount of their time in and around water. Geese will spend more time on land compared to ducks, as geese are grazers and should therefore be provided with a good sized grassy area. Both ducks and geese will spend time during the day performing water-related activities, such as preening. If you want to keep ducks or geese as pets you must therefore take into consideration their need for water, and decide if you have appropriate water facilities.

Shallow water troughs should be provided for the first couple of weeks of a ducklings' life, as young ducklings should not be allowed to get wet until they have developed sufficient waterproofing on their feathers to avoid chilling.

Food
Ducks will spend much of their time feeding in and around water, whereas geese will spend far more time grazing and need to be provided with plenty of grass for this reason. However, both ducks and geese need a balanced diet that satisfies their requirements for protein, vitamins and minerals.

Shelter
Ducks and geese both require protection from direct sunshine, strong winds and weather extremes. An overhead shelter should be provided and there must be a dry, draught-free place for them to retreat to during severe weather conditions. If you give your birds access to a shed, it is important to ensure that they can enter and leave without difficulty, and that it is bedded with clean straw.

The DSPCA recommends that you should allow at least 1 square metre of floor area in the shed for every 5 ducks, preferably lower to avoid over-crowding. Geese should be provided with at least 1 square metre of floor area per bird. Owners must ensure that there is plenty of room for the birds to move around easily.

Nest boxes
Female ducks and geese may seek an isolated position for a nest box and prefer somewhere away from their pen mates. The nest box should be draught-free, lined with a suitable substrate such as clean straw and must be kept clean at all times.

Pasture
It is very important that the outdoor area is well managed. Due to the amount of water that is used and often spilt by the ducks and geese, the ground is likely to become very muddy, especially around the water facilities. This can be overcome by moving the water facilities on a regular basis to allow the surrounding area to recover, or by placing the water facilities over a well-drained area which removes any excess water. It is also important to rotate the area of land, to allow the ground to recover and for the grass to re-grow.

Fencing
Fences should be well maintained and provide appropriate protection against predators. The design should ensure that the birds cannot escape or become trapped.

 

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