Animals in need


In their natural environment, ducks are social, playful creatures who enjoy swimming, diving for food, foraging and bathing. Ducks in the wild can live for up to 15 years and will choose a new mate each year (some ducks mate for life). Mother ducks can sit on their eggs and raise their young in the way nature intended.  Sadly, ducks bred for meat are denied the simple pleasures that make their life worth living, and wild ducks face gunshot every bird shooting season.

Duck farming in New Zealand

Ducks are farmed for both their meat and eggs in New Zealand.
There are presently four commercial duck farms in New Zealand. One of these, in Warkworth, north of Auckland, produces 10,000 eggs and kills up to 2,000 ducks a week for meat.
As with turkeys and chickens bred for meat, ducks bred for meat are specially bred to grow unnaturally fast, and intensively farmed, leading to serious welfare concerns.

Welfare concerns

Once hatched, ducklings raised for meat double in weight each week and are fed an unnatural diet of pellets. Lameness is common among such fast-growing breeds, due to the overloading of their underdeveloped bones and ammonia burns on their feet from the soiled litter on the barn floor. Ducks suffer pain and stress in overcrowded barns for around six to eight weeks before most are slaughtered. Some ducks are kept as parent birds (breeders) and ‘layers.’

Ducks without water

As ducks are waterfowl, they must have access to water, where they would naturally spend 80% of their time. Ducks have evolved to eat, swim, groom and play in the water. Without water, ducks can’t keep themselves clean, free of parasites or regulate their body temperature efficiently. They may also develop eye diseases that can cause blindness if they cannot fully submerge their heads in clean water regularly.
Ducks on intensive farms are rarely given access to enough water to keep them happy and healthy.

Duck hunting

Every year during bird shooting season, our peaceful wetlands and lakes are disturbed by the sound of gunfire, resulting in the deaths and injury of countless birds. Ducks, geese, swans and pukeko are among the species considered ‘fair game’ by shooters. Native species, such as paradise shelduck and the grey duck are also shot.

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As a charity, SAFE is reliant on the support of caring people like you to carry out our valuable work. Every gift goes towards providing education, undertaking research and campaigning for the benefit of all animals. SAFE is a registered charity in New Zealand (CC 40428). Contributions of $5 or more are tax-deductible.