Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Do your ducks have water at night?  (Read 17023 times)

Clansman

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Ayrshire
Re: Do your ducks have water at night?
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2014, 10:43:30 am »
Yes but we're not talking wild birds here, we're talking domestic animals which are shut in by us at night which makes us legally and morally responsible for their well being.

they no longer have the same ability and freedom of the wild bird nor should they be subjected to the same struggles for survival that the wild bird faces.

Lets put the welfare hat on for a second and look at this.

There are no rules as such within the UK for keeping poultry, there are welfare codes which are only recommendations, not laws although these would be referred to for advice in cases of cruelty etc.

One of the points in the welfare codes states that all poultry should have :

Freedom from hunger and thirst by ready access to fresh water

Now this is all open to interpretation but once a bird is shut in a shed without water (or food) then to my mind it does not have Freedom from hunger and thirst by ready access to fresh water (whether light is available or not.) therefore the welfare code is being broken.

The welfare code also states:

Where the natural light available in a building is insufficient to meet the physiological needs of the livestock then you must provide appropriate artificial lighting.

Again this is open to interpretation, however, having worked with most types of commercial poultry I would like to point out here that no commercial birds are ever kept in darkness for more than 8 hours per day (with the exception of laying flocks approaching the start of lay which have their lighting increased weekly up until the point of lay to prevent them maturing too quickly and laying too soon.)

Now most people that keep poultry domestically will not use artificial lighting so in winter time these birds are managing (and possibly still laying) on just 6-8 hours of natural light per day at times.

They can do this by filling their crop before dark and digesting the food in the dark period BUT they will be hungry and thirsty again by morning.

So just because we see they are still alive and laying through the winter it doesn't mean they are thriving and happy, in reality it is probably quite the opposite, they are just surviving in the same way wild birds do.

Another point on the welfare codes mentions :

do not withhold feed and water, eg to induce moulting - it is acceptable to withhold feed (but not water) for up to 12 hours before slaughter

So according to that, withholding feed for 12 hours is acceptable, withholding water for any period is not.

shutting birds in a shed for 16 hours with no food, light or water effectively means you are withholding both water and feed for 16 hours and therefore breaking a whole host of the welfare codes.

Ok, welfare hat off…. ;D

As far as i am aware no one has ever been prosecuted for any of the above with domestic birds and I seriously doubt it would ever happen in the domestic setting.

People have been keeping poultry like this on farms, smallholdings and domestic gardens for eons.

I just wanted to point out how the UK welfare codes apply to this subject and that although we may think we're looking after our animals sufficiently, sometimes we might need to put a bit more thought into it and use a bit more insight into how and what we are doing for them.

https://www.gov.uk/poultry-welfare-guidance-on-the-farm

« Last Edit: August 19, 2014, 02:10:24 pm by Clansman »

NicandChic

  • Joined Oct 2013
Re: Do your ducks have water at night?
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2014, 11:12:28 am »
I agree whole heartedly with clansman, our ducks & chickens have access to water 24/7
I imagine poultry kept in smaller enclosures would heat up much quicker also, I'm sure given the choice all birds would choose to have the option of available water day & night, if your letting the birds out and they are visibly desperate for a drink/water access you are obviously withholding it from them for too long.

Edited to add, our children don't have free access to food during the night but always have fresh water available  :) :-J

lord flynn

  • Joined Mar 2012
Re: Do your ducks have water at night?
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2014, 11:16:00 am »
definitely something to think about Clansman. I know lots of people get up in arms about the welfare of animals used in science, but they have to have their basic needs met by law-and it's enforced.

Keeping poultry this far north I guess is a particular question. As poultry naturally not active when dark, you could argue that even on the equator, they would spend more than 8 hours without food/water? and presumably, jungle fowl would be the same.

obviously so new to ducks that I dont actually have one yet :) but given they are (more) active at night and given their need to dunk, then giving them at least water overnight when we chose to shut them in would seem fair-if a bit more labour intensive.

Clansman

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Ayrshire
Re: Do your ducks have water at night?
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2014, 11:52:51 am »
I'm sure given the choice all birds would choose to have the option of available water day & night, if your letting the birds out and they are visibly desperate for a drink/water access you are obviously withholding it from them for too long.

I'd agree with that, in respect to birds being in darkness for 16 hours but even birds which have been in the dark for just an hour, such as commercial table birds (broilers) will actively seek food and water when the light comes on, although they will not be as hungry or thirsty as birds who have been in the dark for 16 hours.

its all about finding the right balance.

Keeping poultry this far north I guess is a particular question. As poultry naturally not active when dark, you could argue that even on the equator, they would spend more than 8 hours without food/water? and presumably, jungle fowl would be the same.

obviously so new to ducks that I dont actually have one yet :) but given they are (more) active at night and given their need to dunk, then giving them at least water overnight when we chose to shut them in would seem fair-if a bit more labour intensive.

Yep, its the wild vs domestic thing again, they can survive on short natural daylight but if given the choice they would prefer a longer day length.




lord flynn

  • Joined Mar 2012
Re: Do your ducks have water at night?
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2014, 01:10:38 pm »

Yep, its the wild vs domestic thing again, they can survive on short natural daylight but if given the choice they would prefer a longer day length.

wouldnt we all :D

waddy

  • Joined May 2012
Re: Do your ducks have water at night?
« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2014, 02:07:53 pm »
My hens have their food and water put into the shed at night. Anything left in the run is likely to be eaten by the mice but they would take their lives in their hands venturing into the shed.


I do feel my geese need to have their food and especially water in with them at night. On the occasion they managed to tip their water up they were extremely thirsty when let out. The house is concrete floored. We only bed half. The feeder and drinker is on the unbedded half. We find the vast majority of the mess is on the unbedded half (they seem to prefer to stand on this half) leaving it easy to muck out in the morning.


Helen

hughesy

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Anglesey
Re: Do your ducks have water at night?
« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2014, 04:32:47 pm »
I should also add that I put my children into bed for twelve hours a night (all year round) with neither food nor water and they're all healthy and happy (and enormous) too  ;D
But if they woke up and wanted a drink they could go and get one. Unless you lock them in at night like the ducks of course ;D

HesterF

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Do your ducks have water at night?
« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2014, 06:28:00 pm »
Quote
But if they woke up and wanted a drink they could go and get one. Unless you lock them in at night like the ducks of course ;D

But they don't. Since they were beyond the age of a night feed, they have never woken up in the night hungry or thirsty. They sometimes have a drink just before they go to bed but that's it - they fill their crops and that gets them through.

Same goes for the birds. They may be domestic but they have been bred from wildfowl who naturally will sleep in the hours of darkness. If I shut them up at nightfall and let them out shortly after dawn, they are not suffering. However, they would be suffering if they were in damp bedding with mucky food. As for lighting, commercial birds are lit for the purposes of forcing laying in seasons when they wouldn't naturally. None of mine lay in the heart of winter and I have no wish to force that.

I don't believe I'm in breach of the welfare code. They come out in the morning, have a quick drink and get on with their waddling day. They don't stand by the drinker downing water for minutes at a time - it's literally seconds - and they don't even make a beeline for the food although the chickens do.

Clansman

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Ayrshire
Re: Do your ducks have water at night?
« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2014, 09:00:42 pm »
As for lighting, commercial birds are lit for the purposes of forcing laying in seasons when they wouldn't naturally. None of mine lay in the heart of winter and I have no wish to force that.

I don't believe I'm in breach of the welfare code.

Need to stand up for the commercial poultry industry here, they get a bad press, especially from the smallholder community, most of the time unfairly  ;D

The Commercial laying flocks you mention are hatched every week of the year, there will be chicks hatching, point of lay pullets being moved into laying farms and flocks reaching the end of their laying period around the UK today just as there is every day.

If this weren't the case, eggs would be seasonal, we would have a glut in the summer and none in the winter.

For us to do this artificial lighting is necessary, it's not some evil voodoo magic, all it does is provide the bird with the optimum amount of light for the bird at a particular age.

This means we can regulate flocks to come into lay year round, most laying flocks are only laying for around 40 weeks per year.

Yes it's unnatural but it's no more unnatural than growing plants in a greenhouse.

As for the welfare codes, you are most definitely breaking them, I posted the link above, did you read them?

Had I deliberately restricted food and water for 16 hours on a commercial poultry farm I would fully expect to be dismissed and prosecuted for animal cruelty.

These same welfare standards apply to domestic birds just as much as they do commercials but as I said in my previous post I would doubt anyone would be prosecuted in a domestic setting.

I suspect the great majority of domestic poultry keepers will be doing what you are doing, it's how it's always been done.

Yes, it works but it falls foul of our very high UK welfare standards.

Have a look at the RSPCA welfare recommendations, ducks, geese and turkeys MUST have access to water and ad lib feed at all times unless it is either being withdrawn prior to slaughter or under veterinary treatment.

http://science.rspca.org.uk/sciencegroup/farmanimals/standards

bigchicken

  • Joined Nov 2008
  • Fife Scotland
Re: Do your ducks have water at night?
« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2014, 10:41:07 pm »
Couple of points my chickens sleep at night they are shut away as near dusk as possible and opened up as early as possible. They may get up during the night for a midnight snack lol. No such organisation as this RSPCA in Scotland. I to have worked and been connected with the commercial poultry industry and don't think you can compare  there methods with proper free range chickens, night and day my friend night and day. In answer to your question Bionic if you feel that you ducks need water at night then try it out and see how it goes and the best of luck.
Shetland sheep, Castlemilk Moorits sheep, Hebridean sheep, Scots Grey Bantams, Scots Dumpy Bantams. Shetland Ducks.

HesterF

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Do your ducks have water at night?
« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2014, 11:08:40 pm »
Quote
This means we can regulate flocks to come into lay year round, most laying flocks are only laying for around 40 weeks per year.

Urrrh, yes, that's exactly what I said:

Quote
As for lighting, commercial birds are lit for the purposes of forcing laying in seasons when they wouldn't naturally

No claims you were performing voodoo magic, just that that's why commercial flocks use artificial lighting. No judgement on you - you have to make money. I don't.

I've read the welfare code and would welcome any visit from an RSPCA inspector. I am 100% sure that my birds are happier and healthier in their environment than any commercial flock - in part at least because I don't have to make huge profits from mine so I can stock them and house them at much lower levels than any commercial flocks. Feel free to visit. You are focussing on 16 hours when it really is only a few days every year - and days when the outside is not hugely inviting either and none of the birds are in lay. Most of the year they have access to food and water for more time than my children do (for over six months of the year I put the birds away after my children are in bed, and let them out before my children wake up) - so I shall shortly be expecting a visit from the NSPCC too.

Clansman

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Ayrshire
Re: Do your ducks have water at night?
« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2014, 12:56:33 am »
No such organisation as this RSPCA in Scotland. I to have worked and been connected with the commercial poultry industry and don't think you can compare  there methods with proper free range chickens, night and day my friend night and day.

Yes, it is of course the SSPCA in Scotland but as most of the people who have posted in the thread are covered by the RSPCA and to save posting up the equivalent national body of every country represented on TAS I used the RSPCA,

its irrelevant anyway, the welfare codes are the same, can we agree that the government welfare codes on the DEFRA site cover the entire UK then?

We're not talking about commercial vs domestic methods here, we're talking about welfare codes and these apply to all poultry.

I'm only pointing out the welfare requirements for poultry here in the UK for people to have a look at and a think about.

I'm not condemning people for not following them, I bet a lot of people reading this never even realised they existed so at least it is getting the word out there.

Step back and look at it from a neutral perspective for a minute.

We have codes of welfare for all animals in the UK, so if you were reading a thread about pigs for example and people were saying ”yeah,  DEFRA have welfare codes for keeping pigs but I don't agree with them so I don't do what they say” I'm quite sure most of you reading this would be up in arms about it.

Its exactly the same with chickens, my chickens are penned in large runs unless I'm there and let them out with me, I have a lady nearby in the village who keeps hers free range and likes to have a go at me for keeping mine enclosed, her favourite world is ”cruelty” when she talks about it.

This weekend past she has lost her small flock to a fox for the third time in under two years.

Now the free range idea is the one we all aspire to but we also have a duty of care to protect our birds from predators and keep them safe according to DEFRA.

So who is being cruel to their birds? Is it me for keeping them enclosed in a run or is it her for allowing the fox to kill them?

« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 01:01:32 am by Clansman »

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Do your ducks have water at night?
« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2014, 07:59:53 am »



I think maybe it is time to agree that

1)welfare codes are to give guidance (you cannot be prosecuted for breach of a welfare code .... has to be the Act that backs it).

2) Agree that welfare of ducks (and children) is at the heart of all we do.

3) That ducks are OK without water at night but better if access 24hrs a day ....  ( I will continue to leave mine without over night (as most duck books will suggest) due to the wet bedding that results... which is definitely against Welfare Codes too)
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

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Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Do your ducks have water at night?
« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2014, 08:12:58 am »
I have tried mine with water the last 2 nights. They have definitely made use of their water overnight but everything else is covered too.
I am now of the same mind as Linda, sitting in the wet overnight is probably worse than them not having any water until I let them out in the morning.
I will be drying it out today and then having one last chance at a modified version of their water container (ice cream container). I am going to put the lid on and make a hole In the top.  I was going to do this initially but OH didn't think it would work.
I will let you know tomorrow if it has worked.
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

lord flynn

  • Joined Mar 2012
Re: Do your ducks have water at night?
« Reply #29 on: August 20, 2014, 09:18:05 am »
I love debates like these, its always worth asking ourselves if there's anything we can do to improve how we keep our animals and no point in getting defensive about it.

I did a search on here (as am in process of making a duck house) and someone used a dog kennel as a house plus a large dog cage bolted onto that-so water/food could be left in the cage but ducks still safe overnight. I am going to try and build something like that.

As for the hens, I don't know-I couldn't run electric out there.

Over the past few years I've bought poultry off a variety of people (noone on here!). I've sometimes been very shocked at how they are kept-very shocked. Overstocking is rife, dirty shed/coops/water, birds noticeably suffering from myco and scaly leg and not being treated. People insistent that garlic and ACV will treat anything and therefore letting their animals get riddled with worms etc. The poultry FB pages show a whole new level of ignorance.

Last winter was hellish-I am in a very exposed spot (ask Bloomer!) and we weren't prepared. If anyone had seen how my pens were in January I'd have been embarassed. I sold a load of poultry because I couldnt keep them to the standard I wanted to.




 

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