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The following message about Avian Influenza prevention measures comes from our Farm Manager, Tom Davis.

You may have seen or heard in the media recently that DEFRA (the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs) have implemented a bird flu prevention zone calling for captive birds to be housed where practical. Here at Mudchute, we have immediately housed as many birds as we can accommodate within the current penning we have here at the farm whilst not wanting to compromise the birds welfare in a negative way too much.

Other measures we have put in place are as follows:

  • Minimising direct and indirect contact between poultry and wild birds, by shutting all bird housing during the day.
  • Making sure that feed and water cannot be accessed by wild birds. All of our birds water is now covered, with feed only being offered in the birds evening housing once shut in.
  • To avoid the transfer of contamination between premises,we are cleansing and disinfecting all of the equipment used to feed, clean and water the poultry, staff footwear being cleansed before and after entering poultry housing.
  • Reducing the number of people entering areas where poultry or captive birds are kept.
  • Carrying on with an effective vermin control programme around buildings where poultry or captive birds are kept. We ask for your help with this by not feeding the squirrels and/pigeons any peanuts or other treats.
  • Thoroughly cleansing and disinfecting housing and equipment at the end of its occupation.

This is why a large majority of our birds are housed. We are in regular contact with our local enrionmental health department as well DEFRA who are happy that we are working within the regulations laid out.

Local and national risk is low and the above actions are only preventative measures.

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If you have any further questions please contact Tom Davis, Farm Manager at farm@mudchute.org.

Thank you for your continued support.


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In addition to our striking white Aylesbury ducks, we’ve also welcomed new waterfowl on our duck pond. One breed are rather large and the other rather small!

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The large, heavy set ducks with mallard-like markings are our Rouen ducks. This is a very large imposing breed which looks like an oversized mallard. Female ducks are brown with black lacing on the outside of the feathers and males (drakes) have a green head, claret bib and grey body.

The Rouen originate in from France where they were used as a meat bird and crossed with the Muscovy to produce the Barbary duck. They take 2 yrs to reach their full size of 12 lbs, and because of this they are now kept more for showing. Exhibition females only lay between 100-150 eggs per year. They are a docile breed and tame reasonably easily and due to their size they cannot fly.

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The other duck breed now on the ponds are diminutive, particularly in comparison to the weight Rouen. These are call ducks. A call duck drake weighs only about half a kilogram! Despite their small size, they have a very loud, high-pitched call. These birds were originally bred to lure wild ducks into traps during hunts. The call duck has been in Britain since the 1850s and in addition to their small size have a distinctively round forehead and broad, short bill. Find out more about the breed from the Call Duck Association UK.

To find out more about any of our animals, visit the animal pages of our website.

In the video below, you can see the new ducks on their pond and enjoying the falling leaves. You’ll also hear the unmistakable sound of the call ducks. They are extremely loud, especially considering their small size!


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There have been many new arrivals to meet in Pets Corner, including a flock of large, handsome white ducks. These are our new Aylesbury ducks. The Aylesbury duck derives its name from the town of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, where the breed was developed as a table duck to supply the London market in the eighteenth century.

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The Aylesbury duck was a leading waterfowl exhibit in the first national poultry show held at the London Zoological Gardens in June 1845. This was the beginning of live poultry exhibitions, and it was the Victorian stress on size that led to the development of the modern Aylesbury duck with its pronounced keel and long pink beak.

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The Aylesbury is a heavy duck with the drakes weighing 4.5-5.4kg (10-12lbs) and the ducks weighing 4.1-5.0kg (9-11lbs). The females are not very good layers only producing 80-100 eggs per year.

Here’s farmer Tom moving them to their daytime quarters in Pets Corner.