A commercial trial evaluating three open water sources for farmed ducks: effects on water usage and water quality.


1. Providing open water to farmed ducks is beneficial for their health and behaviour but, at commercial densities, may also have negative consequences for the health of the ducks, the productivity of the farms and environmental contamination. 2. The current experiment investigated the suitability of three types of open water resources in a commercial setting, assessing their effects on water usage and water quality. The three resources were: narrow troughs (15 cm wide and 8 cm deep), intermediate troughs (20 cm wide and 12 cm deep) and wide troughs (50 cm wide and 8 cm deep). A total of 23 flocks of ducks with a mean size of 4,540 ± 680 individuals and a final stocking density less than 17 kg/m(2) were studied. 3. Intermediate troughs used twice as much water as narrow troughs and wide troughs. Intermediate troughs had the best microbiological water quality, wide troughs had the worst physical and microbiological quality and narrow troughs tended to be intermediate. 4. Open water provision resulted in high water usage, but this might be reduced by further investigating cleaning regimes, ballcock systems and the volumetric capacity of the troughs. It was difficult to maintain good water quality, and more research is needed to investigate the long term effects on productivity and public health.