Innovative Pekino cup drinker for duck production
Big Dutchman has recently included in their product range an innovative cup drinker for Pekin ducks. Pekino is the name of the animal-friendly innovation and it allows the ducks to drink water as well as to show their characteristic poultry behaviour thanks to the deep-drawn shape of the cup drinker. In contrast to conventional drinkers, the birds can submerge their entire head and preen extensively with the water consumed. The result is a flock of healthy and satisfied birds and thus ideal growing results. The drinker premiered on the occasion of this year's VIV Europe in Utrecht/Netherlands, the major European trade show.
„Our line of industry was enormously interested“, said Jörg Hurlin looking back to the successful launch. "We struck the right chord with this drinker. Since then, we have already received requests from Australia, Great Britain, France and Taiwan," said the Big Dutchman product manager.
The line's interest occurs with good reason. Duck meat is a very popular food in many countries of the world. In China, Pekin ducks are one of the favourite dishes. But also in Germany it is eaten quite frequently. Duck meat used to be prepared mostly for Christmas or Easter, but today it is on demand all year long.
Council of Europe recommendations for duck production
In Germany, ducks are either kept in open or solid houses. For reasons of drinking water and litter quality, nipple drinkers have established themselves as a supply of water. However, they go against the birds' behavioural requirements.
If access to water for bathing is not possible, the European recommendation of 22 June 1999 (article 11, paragraph 2) prescribes that the ducks must be provided with water facilities sufficient in number and so designed to allow water to cover the head and be taken up by the beak so that the Pekin duck can shake water over the body without difficulty. Thus ducks should be allowed to dip their heads under water completely.
Ducks all in blue
This recommendation inspired the development of Pekino. The ducks themselves have provided evidence to meet European requirements. In order to determine how deep the birds submerge their heads and how much they spread the water over their plumage it was mixed with food colouring. Result: Pekin ducks coloured bright blue from head to uropygial gland.
Hygiene is also taken care of: "We have equipped Pekino with a special rim to return water and an overflow protection. This significantly reduces water losses which improves litter quality," Jörg Hurlin explains another advantage of the drinker. A mobile pendulum ensures the cup is constantly replenished with fresh water, so that the duck itself ensures that the cup is kept full.
Pekino is fit for successful every-day use, as it is the result of an ongoing joint project of experts involving theory and practice for two years now. Besides Big Dutchman, contributions come from Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, two duck managers with many years of experience in the field, a veterinarian, a producer of drinking systems and a genetics company.
Plastic flooring for duck production
A further result of this cooperation is a plastic flooring for duck production, which Big Dutchman has launched together with Pekino. It has been designed specifically for the requirements of ducks and improves hygiene in the house.