& slaughtered on Farm
The debate over the need to use the 'Free range' label!
There are strict rules about the space needed per duck for 'Free Range' status, the space our ducks have indoors meet all requirements, and they have acres more room outside than is required by legislation to qualify for free range status.
Our ducks are reared to around 12 weeks old or older (this is the minimum requirement) this produces a much fuller flavour to the meat than an indoor reared duck that is slaughtered at around 8 weeks old.
The main stipulation is that they are required to have continuous daytime access to open-air runs at least from the age of 8 weeks, Our ducks spend virtually all day every day outside from the age of 6 weeks, as anybody who drives passed our farm can see.
The problem we have however, is that the Department would like us to totally segretate each age group with seperate enclosures both indoor and outdoor and they will not accept our tagging system as a way of determining the age of our ducks. When our ducks are old enough to go outside they are sprayed on the back of their necks with stockmarker spray, with each batch having a completely different colour, we find this a very effective way of determining the age of our ducks and means that they are immediately identifiable even if they do manage to get mixed up. It is not in our interests to slaughter a younger duck as this would adversely affect the flavour of the finished product.
So, in conclusion, We are refusing to enclose our ducks into separate paddocks within the field or separate pens within the barns, simply to determine their age, when we have a perfectly effective way of determining this whilst giving them maximum freedom to roam. We believe that a true free range duck should have as much room as possible to roam freely. We have therefore chosen to market our ducks as ' Irish outdoor reared ducks!'