Give farmed ducks bathing water!

Ducks are water birds!

Watching ducks in the wild, you will often see them standing at the waters edge cleaning their beautiful feathers, preening and splashing water on to their bodies. Yet, as the UKs third most farmed animal for meat – millions are denied the opportunity to bathe in water and sadly the situation is getting worse.

And it’s not just common sense that shouts ducks need water – there is a wealth of animal welfare studies that highlight the health and behaviour benefits of providing ducks with full body access to water. Having access to suitable open water is one of their most basic requirements – yet millions are denied water to bathe in on UK farms.

We, like many, believe this is unacceptable and its time to take action for Britain’s forgotten farm animal.

Bathing water – the debate

Bell drinkerThe campaign has ruffled a few feathers since its launch – with the British Poultry Council claiming the newly establish Duck Assurance Scheme provides bathing water. Some supermarkets have also wrongly been making this claim too.

Duck Assurance Scheme standards , which are the farming standards used for most supermarket duck meat and Gressingham branded duck, only insist that wide channel bell drinkers (pictured right) are provided on their farms. These open water facilities only allow ducks to dip their heads in the water and most definitely do not provide water to bathe in.

Can you imagine trying to bathe in a hand basin!

We believe ducks are entitled to water that they can get into, to be able to stand in and be surrounded by water so they can easily throw it over their bodies. This is not only important for meeting their behavioural needs but it also helps keep their eyes and nostrils clean and healthy too.

Misleading supermarket replies

If you are one of the 4000 people who have already taken action – thank you for your support. You have probably received replies from some the supermarkets that may contain one of the following statements:

  • “All ducks supplied to us are given access to open water for water-related behavioural activities such as cleaning and preening.”
  • “All our farmed ducks already enjoy access to fresh bathing water around the clock.”
  • “All fresh duck is reared in the UK and is provided with bathing water and natural light.”

To date, these supermarkets have failed to confirm with the RSPCA the exact details of any open water facilities that go above and beyond allowing ducks to dip their heads in water and I can assure you we are taking this up these misleading responses with them. The support of the thousands of people who have taken action has already shown supermarkets that this is an issue not to be ignored and we will be campaigning on this issue until change for ducks succeeds!

Taking action

The policies of supermarkets have a significant impact on animal welfare and we need your support today! Join us in telling supermarkets ‘Don’t duck the issue’ and share the campaign action with friends and family.

Help us persuade five of the UKs major supermarkets to provide a higher welfare duck meat option for its customers and to follow in the footsteps of Sainsbury’s and M&S which are the only two supermarkets which sell duck meat from farms which allow ducks full body access to water.

Eloise Shavelar, RSPCA


Thank you for your action on this important issue.

Together we can improve the lives of millions of ducks.

Find out more about our Like a duck to water campaign.

Eloise Shavelar, RSPCA Campaigner




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