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Livestock

Best duck isn't luck: Journey from farm to table

Parent ducks are bred at Maple Leaf Farms.
Parent ducks are bred at Maple Leaf Farms.

LEESBURG, Ind. — Maple Leaf Farms is involved at nearly every stage of raising ducks.

“Every single step of our process is what brings the best duck possible to the plate,” said Olivia Tucker, marketing manager at Maple Leaf Farms.

“We would not, without any of these steps, be able to make the journey to the plate. Everything we do to ensure our ducks are healthy and happy, to ensure our facilities are top of the line and to find a way to get it to your plate are important steps for us.”

The company’s vertical integration allows it to improve quality and efficiency.

Here’s a glance at the steps involved to get ducks from farm to table.

1. White Peking ducks are bred at Maple Leaf Farms.

2. Eggs are collected daily and delivered to the hatchery.

3. Eggs are placed into incubators and hatch 28 days later.

4. Ducklings are transported to nurseries at family farms on the day they hatch. The duck barns are climate-controlled, and cleaned and sanitized between every flock.

5. To make duck feed, the feed mill receives raw ingredients including corn, wheat, vitamins, minerals and soybean meal. Ingredients are weighed and mixed into batches. The mixture is conditioned with live steam to pasteurize it and prepare it for pelleting. The feed mixture is pelleted and cooled. After which, it is loaded onto trucks and delivered to farms.

6. Ducks are raised according to duck management and wellbeing guidelines. They are fed grain-based diet with probiotics and vitamins. This feed is part of a diet formulated by Maple Leaf Farms nutritionists and never contains antibiotics or hormones.

7. Ducks are transported via semi to processing facilities, where they are placed on the processing line.

8. Ducks are rendered unconscious and insensible to pain through a quick stun.

9. Ducks are processed and chilled. During processing, all products are inspected in accordance with Maple Leaf Farms and U.S. Department of Agriculture quality and food safety guidelines.

10. Products are sorted and packaged into boxes, then labeled and weighed.

11. Refrigerated trailers are inspected prior to loading. Products are placed into trailers. Trailers are sealed to ensure product safety.

12. Product then arrives at distribution centers for transport to local stores and markets.

Maple Leaf Farms also offers online ordering to ship directly from the farm to your house.

To learn more about Maple Leaf Farms, visit www.mapleleaffarms.com.

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