Investigation: Field Farm Duck Eggs

Duck egg farming exposed

Appalling conditions filmed at Lincolnshire Duck Farm supplying major egg suppliers

Over two decades after we first exposed duck factory farming, comes the release of disturbing new footage from inside a filthy Lincolnshire duck egg farm – producers of Quack! Duck Eggs. At the time of our investigation Quack! Duck Eggs were sold at Lincolnshire Co-ops and suppliers of egg giants Stonegate and Noble Foods, who stock their products at major supermarkets Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose and Ocado.

Following a tip-off from an ex-worker, who reported extreme acts of animal cruelty and horrendous living conditions, Viva! Campaigns took immediate action and launched an investigation of Field Farm. Undercover footage, collected between February and April 2022, reveals shocking scenes from inside the farm of lame birds dragging themselves over excreta-ridden barn floors using their wings and workers brutally killing ducks by dislocating their necks – a shockingly legal practice – and leaving lame, sick and blind birds to suffer in pain.

More images from the investigation can also be publicly viewed on Flickr.

Following the investigation, Lincolnshire Co-op suspended Quack! Duck Eggs and has since made the decision to discontinue all further sales. A Viva! victory for ducks!

Read our press release

Viva! Campaigns investigation reveals sick and injured ducks

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No water, no life

Ducks are semi-aquatic birds who would naturally spend a huge amount of time in the water. It’s fundamental to their mental and physical well-being as they use open water for head-dipping, swimming, bathing and feeding.

However, our investigation found the farm has no water baths for the ducks, their only access to water is through dirty bell drinkers, robbing these captive waterbirds of their natural behaviours. Thousands of birds are forced to live on layer-upon-layer of decayed excreta with nowhere to clean themselves.

Dirty bell drinkers
Field Farm Barn with thousands of ducks
Field Farm Barn with thousands of ducks
lame duck on the floor

Sick, Lame and Dying Birds

Our footage shows multiple ducks struggling to walk, using their wings to helplessly drag their bodies along the sodden floor of the filthy barns. Many of the lame birds were victims of feather-pecking (a behaviour ducks would not show in the wild), whilst other dead and dying ducks were found with painful hock burns as a result of living in their own excrement 24/7.

Workers at Field Farm carry out two ‘welfare checks’ each day. However, our hidden cameras revealed that the ducks are left for more than 15 hours at a time without checks between the afternoon and the following morning. No care or attention is given during these checks either, as injured birds are still left to suffer. A lame duck is completely ignored by workers as she struggles to move out of their way so they can collect the eggs.

Ducks that are eventually culled, due to poor health, have their necks brutally dislocated. This is an approved method for killing poultry up to three kilograms in weight – unlike the distressing and ineffective method shown in our footage of one worker spinning a duck round by her head.

We also found numerous male ducks (drakes) mixed in with the females, who repetitively mate with lame ducks found in prone positions. Unable to stand, these ducks are incapable of getting away.

drake mating with lame duck
feather-pecking on the wing
lame duck using her wing to move
A lame duck using her wing to move
blind duck credit Amy Jones
Photo credit: Amy Jones
painful hock burns on ducks foot

Serious Health Risks

Hidden cameras captured workers dumping eggs that are unfit for human consumption on surrounding land. Eggs are classed as a Category 3 animal byproduct, meaning they are a potential risk to human health and are legally required to be incinerated. By failing to adhere to this government requirement, Field Farm is illegally dumping dangerous waste, creating a significant risk to both humans and wildlife.

Pigeons were filmed nesting in the barns, while mice were filmed in the ducks’ feeders. This highlights the poor biosecurity at the farm. Environments in factory farms are perfect breeding grounds for disease, as they can easily spread between animals, which can result in outbreaks of illnesses such as bird flu.

This behaviour is particularly shocking as this winter the UK announced the highest number of Avian Influenza cases on record, which resulted in a mandatory housing order for all poultry birds and millions of birds were culled.

discarded ducks and eggs in giant bin
rotten eggs in bin
overflowing eggs in the bin credit Amy Jones
Photo credit: Amy Jones
quack eggs logo

Quack! Duck Eggs have featured on the BBC’s The Great British Menu, presenting themselves as producers of good-quality eggs. Their website states they put lots of “time, energy & care into our layer ducks” and it’s important that “our birds are as happy as can be.”

noble foods logo

Noble Foods website proudly boasts that “each and every one of our producers is among the finest in the country” and that their “audit teams carry out assessments of these farms” to ensure they meet their “high standards.”

stonegate logo

Stonegate’s website states “the care and welfare” of their birds is “of the utmost importance to us” misleadingly adding that their “customers can enjoy peace of mind in the knowledge that our farming partners apply best practice” regarding the wellbeing of their birds.

Duck eggs are branded as a ‘luxury’ product. The image portrayed by these brands are in stark contrast to the squalid and unsanitary conditions Viva! Campaigns discovered at Field Farm, where sick birds are left to suffer in filthy barns with no water and no life.

Take action now

On 18 June we protested outside the Lincolnshire Co-op

On Saturday, 18 June, Viva! organised a protest outside the Lincolnshire Co-op in the city centre of Lincoln. The aim of the protest was two-fold. Firstly, it’s about increasing the pressure on Lincolnshire Co-op to permanently drop Quack! Duck Eggs as a supplier. Secondly, the aim is to show locals what is happening on factory farms on their doorstep. The general public often thinks that the UK has the highest animal welfare standards in the world so it’s very poignant to show them what is happening on farms merely miles away from their home.  

The public reacted very strongly to the footage and conversations with our campaigners. They were shocked and disgusted to learn about the appalling animal cruelty, lack of animal welfare, and unsanitary conditions on this farm.

Following the investigation, Lincolnshire Co-op suspended Quack! Duck Eggs and has since made the decision to discontinue all further sales. A Viva! victory for ducks!

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