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Guerilla chicken husbandry....

SteelSteel Member
edited June 2009 in "Off Your Chest"
Just realised the thread title is not quite right, this is about ducks not chickens! However, something happened the other day that I thought I'd share and ask for opinions.

A local garden centre (I'm not going to say which at the moment) has started keeping chickens and ducks for sale and a few times over the last few months we've been in there, the state of the duck cages is appalling. Too many ducks all shoved in, a couple of centimetres of muddy brown water in boiling hot weather, and the ducks are filthy with mud (and I assume faeces) right up to their chins and over their backs. The ground has had minute amounts of straw on it which has been buried under the mud and faeces.

I've complained before, to be told "we know, it's being done today" and I know a lady at a local rescue centre who had called the RSPCA and they did nothing.

So, I was in there again recently (looking at a beast of a bronze turkey I want to rescue and bring home) when I spotted a new shed tucked away for the chicken staff with a notice board with "to do" lists on there. Unsurprisingly there was nothing written on it, so I nipped in and wrote "clean the aylesburys out"

Twenty minutes later, a junior member of staff is cleaning out the aylesbury ducks.

Do I approach the manager and have a word, which I don't think will do anything, or simply continue to monitor the duck pen on each visit and sneakily write things on their notice board? Or do I offer to go in and help with the chickens and ducks just for my own enjoyment and peace of mind? I'm self-employed so could spare the time to help out.....and I do intend to get ducks one day so it could be handy experience...

Any thoughts and views?

Are ducks naturally this messy when penned and I'm making a mistake?


  • blondeblonde Senior Member
    edited June 2009
    They are messy anyway.
    For your own experience I think it is a good idea, but how much does the garden centre know about Ducks? do you become the resident expert and gain a part time job although you are already self employed? It is not impossible. If you decide to keep ducks then as long as you dont take any diseases home to what you already have then I would say it is fine. A pair of wellies left at work and your house shoes worn to go home, but not worn in the garden centre. Washed when You get home to stop disease transfer.
  • from field to forkfrom field to fork Senior Member
    edited June 2009
    I kep several hundred ducks and it all depends on the conditons you keep them in. Yes they are messy because they love slopping water around. I had some young ones recently in the brooder and could only stop themlooking like you described by remodelling their section of the brooder so that the water and play section was lower than their bedding area. They cleaned up within days. Happily they are now out free ranging on our duck pond.

    You are right to take every action you can to improve their condition, including pushing the RSPCA to take action if you can not find another way. It is appalling to think that the general public, looking at these ducks, will think that tahtis the way to keep them. Good work.
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