MallardDucksOne of the great things about working in the poultry sector is that you learn something new every day.

And today was no exception, as Poultry World attended an avian influenza workshop in East Anglia.

A huge amount of information was put out there, covering the nature of the disease, the way government responds to an outbreak and the need for producers to make detailed contingency plans. It was important, if somewhat familiar stuff.

But there was one particular piece of new learning that stuck in the mind, delivered by respected poultry vet Stephen Lister. Apparently migrating waterfowl don’t defecate “on the wing”, but prefer to seek out water to “do their business”.

More than this, wild ducks are also known to go in for “anal drinking” – sucking water up their back passage and squirting it out again to clean themselves up,  ejecting any virus that might be lurking up there in the process.

Not surprising then that poultry farmers are being encouraged to fill in their ponds and make their sites as uninviting as possible to passing duck traffic.