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Duck farm focuses on stewardship

A feed mill is operated by Maple Leaf Farms.
A feed mill is operated by Maple Leaf Farms.

LEESBURG, Ind. — In an effort to raise the healthiest ducks in the most humane way, Maple Leaf Farms created its Trident Stewardship Program.

“The Trident Stewardship Program is third-party certified by the Professional Animal Auditors Certification Organization yearly,” said Olivia Tucker, marketing manager at Maple Leaf Farms.

“We don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. We developed this program in coordination with veterinarians, poultry scientists and universities through the U.S. and the world. It started in the 1990s and we’ve been working on it tirelessly ever since.”

Each barn also is internally audited.

“We check everything from dust particles on up,” Tucker said. “Our contract farmers have to abide by all of our rules. We give them the ducks and the feed, but they own the barns themselves. We work with so many great contract farmers.”

Strict guidelines are in place to make sure ducks are treated well at every step of the journey.

The stewardship program has three pillars: biosecurity, environment and animal welfare.

Biosecurity measures include booth baths and sanitizers, pest control and bird netting. Bird nets ensure that birds do not carry in disease.

Environmental measures include air quality standards, dust and cleanliness standards, and resource usage and disposal guidelines.

Animal welfare includes normal behavior checks, water and feed meters, and humidity and temperature checks. Flocks also go on walks twice a day.

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