Translation  of text brought in ”Politiken” Denmark, Sunday 12.12.2010

Head scipt: DANISH DUCKS HAS BEST LIVE OF ALL  on page 8 and 9

Danish duckfarmers doesn’t advertise with it: But a common danish duck has a clearly better live than the French Barbary-duck, that has both clipped mouth and nails and are only allowed the half space. Allthough the Danish producers have a hard time selling their ducks.

Written by Lars Dahlager

Text under photo:  Clothed in duck – feather. Martin Daasbjergs landgrownducks are as the most of the or Danish ducks of the specie Pekin. The 6.800 ducks has 13 hectares of land to enjoy, also in the winter. Privatephoto.

Total 6.800 ducks are “vralter” around on a big, deep-frozen field I Vinderup, tree to four fields south of Venoe-bay in the western part og Limfjord. It is with frost-degrees. The field are stonehard and covered with several centimeters of snow, which the white ducks has to pull through to get to the white-cleewer and gras. It must be hard to be a duck here this winter. “Doesn´t they freeze?” is asked by the Politiken-towninhabitant journalist, when we talk to the duckfarmer Martin Daasbjerg on the phone. “Ha, Ha. Look once. When you are placed in your bed and are cold, what do you then cover your ears with then? Well you cover yourself with bedclothings filled with duckfeathers and dunes! The duck has themselves a real good time and lots of fun”. On the field at Martin Daasbjergs organic farm theres it also shields to protect, where the ducks are alloved to seek protection against for instance rain, the ducks don´t use them. “Rainy weather are nice weather, when you are a duck”, said by Martin Daasbjerg. Other of Daasbjergs ducks – those, that’s are planned produced at 8 weeks of age, and therefore don´t have the whole grown ducks thick feathers, are not in the fields around the clock, they deside themselves whether they want to be inside the barm or outside. “When we arise every morning at 5 o´clock to have a look at eventual foxes, the ducks are almost all outside. When we have refreshed the floor inside the growerhouses in the morning round 7-to 8, they come inside and have good time for some hours. Then they walk outside again” he add.

If this occur too ideel, then don´t take Martin Daasbjergs words for it: the Animal Protection organization has been visiting the farm and they also think his ducks are very well kept. And not only Daasbjergs organic ducks by the Lim-fjord also the Danish, conventional ducks.

Frensch Kannibals

The largest growers in Denmark has organized in the cooperation Danish Duck, and have designed special rules on animal velfare. The conventional ducks doesn´t get in the fileds, but are kept in barns with spaceopen sides with walls partly with steelnets and become plenty of fresh air. They are well kept with plenty of new straw every day allover, and you don´t  recognize the inclosed smell and stinking of litter as for example in a conventional henfarm. And, not the least, they have the dobbel space to move around on, as the classical frensch barberiduck, which most Danish knows from the cooling areas in the supermarkets. “If you will be sure to have good animal welfare, then you have to buy a Danish duck”, says animalvelfarechief Mrs. Pernille Fraas Johnsen from the Danish animal protection organization. This animal organization only seldom has anything good to say about conventional agriculture. But the ducks has clearly better conditions as per. Example Hen and turkeys. They have, due to scientific surveys also better conditions as per example ordinary French barberyducks, that lives on half space with problems as spalted-floors and have their teeth and toes cut, caused they under these circumstances become enormous aggressive and may come out as cannibals. The Danish countryside ducks are calm and social and have surroundings corresponding to the natural. “the Danish duck I the primary production are well kept”, says Pernille Fraas Johnsen.

Page 9: text to the picture: Daasbjerg has two types of ducks, those who are processed after 8 weeks, are living in barns with 14 exit to a veranda outside. Those who are processed after 14 weeks, are located in the fields. Privatephoto.

Allthrough there I a mayor problem – a clear reason that the ducks hasn´t got the official certificate from the welfare organization, “recommended by the animal protection”, the ducks are not slaughtered in Denmark. They are move into transport boxes, set on a truck and driven the whole way to a slaughterplant outside Berlin in Germany. The reason is, that no duck slaughterplant any longer exist in Denmark, that can handle a big produktion near to 1 million ducks a year. The last duckslaughter plant in Denmark, owned by Danpo and Rose Poultry,  went broke in 2006 after a couple of years with horror with falling sale, a costful moving of the plant, fire, birds flu and tremendous prizecompetition brought in from abroad.

Its not expected that there again will be a big duckprocessing unit in Denmark again, so where the ducks previous were driven 125 kilometres to the neigbourhood of Horsens, they now are taken 700 kilometres to a hypermodern slaughterplant outside Berlin. The whole process takes more than 8 hours, and therefore the production can´t be equipped with the welfaresign. “We are sorry, that we can´t give it to them.  But we can´t compromise our rules. If we compromise the rules, what then with other animals? Could they then also just be slaughtered in Berlin?”, says Pernille Fraas Johnsen.  But, it harms Martin Daasbjerg, who beside producing ducks himself, runs the association Danish Duck Aps., the united company of the Danish producers. Caused – the transportation hours – on that nothing can be done. And as a matter of fact the catching of the birds and the treating of them at the processing plant in Germany are much more efficient and caretaking, than in the time were the Danish plant were in charge, says Daasbjerg. “ At that time it happened with great shouting and noise, and the ducks were very stressed. Arriving to Horsens, they stood I the boxes and waited until next morning. We had a sad experience with this. Today its running much better and smooth, and without stress” says he.

Exstreme bad prizes.

It would be a good thing too have the appointment and blue chip, from the animal protection organization. While the Danish ducks obviously has a good life, then the producers has a bad economy. When the plant in Horsend went broke, the most of the Danish producers went broke too. The organitions of Danish duck producers now only consist of 4 farmers + the breeder situated on Island Funen, who produces the dayold ducklings for the production. The production of ducks are reduced to the half from 1,7 million in 2005 to 800.000 – 900.000 today, and this development can easily continue. The reason you find in the supermarkets, that flows with cheap ducks fron France and Germany. An example In the stores “ Spar-market”, where a continous offer are “Julius Traditional Duck” are the discount offer to d.kr 49,95 (€6,50) per duck.

 

Picture on page 10: walking like Geese: thousands of ducks on their way to the take in, where they are cought and send to processing in Germany. The ducks on this photo taken in autumn has been eaten, the x-mas ducks will be taken together during the next coming days. Privatephoto.

“It can´t be done to that prize. The duckling has a prize of 5,- d.kr each, the feed costs 17,- d.kr, it must be reared, you shall use electricity, straw and heating, it must be processed, driven to a distributor, filled in the bask, and the supermarket must have their earning too. It make no sence” says heine Hyldahl, who produce 250.000 ducks pr. Annum on his farm in Give. Hyldahl bought his farm 6 years ago, with production og chickens in mind, but where forced to finish the duckproduction of that  year. He never became his chickenfarm. It showed up that the duck production was a production of great animal welfare. Its is calm social animals, that has lots of fesh air, he says. “If you clap to times with your hands in a chicken barm, you stand alone with chickens in long distance away. Duck, instead, comes along stepping up on your toes, to have a look and find out who you are. Hyldahls ducks are sold for 89,95 d.kr., the same amount as for the german duck, and he therefore become no extras for producing the Danish, be small, or having better animal welfare. Last year (2009) he produced with losses, this year (2010) with nil. “It’s a sad story, that we lost so many duckproducers, men the case is, that if the low down prizes continues, we will loose the last 4 too,” Says Hein Hyldahl. More of his colleges are near to pensionage, and who wants to take over on a farm with no income?, he says.

Bad Marketing

Martin Daasbjerg, the organic duckfarmer, are as manager in Danish Duck not that pessimistic. He believes that the Danish duck production can be assured on doing new products based on ducks. “It has been a tough and hush turnaround. Our survival are based with the knife to our throats, and we have to come up with some products, that fits housewife Mrs. Jensen. This having her to cook in 3 hours on doing the whole duck – we might do that twice a year to x-mas and the night before Sct. Martins-day. Mrs. Jensen spending normal 35 minutes on bringing the cooking to the table. If our products cant be ready during these minutes we will be taken of the menu automatically” he says. Danish duck depends on having products that’s precooked or made “confit”, so they just have to be warmed to be ready. Or special products as duckcappaccio, that as easy to served for dinners and starters. Or perhaps ducklegs of special good quality for special demanding customers. As an example Danish Duck tries to be acknowledged as producer to a top English supermarket group, and “then we are based with a major selling many years ahead” says Martin Daasbjerg. A major problem is, that it´s not clear for the Danish consumers that they become animal welfare together with the the Danish duck, compared to the German. You can´t see on the packaging, and it is´n´t announced clearly. This stand crystal clear to the people behind the Danish duck, and they know it is a problem. “As poultryman for  good we believe that people in common know about our high standards of animal welfare, but you are completely right, most people don´t have the slightest idea” says Martin Daasbjerg.  Heine Hyldahl agrees, that the most people don´t mention this or give it a thought. “When a customer takes a look upon the goods in the store and there are 6 different ducks to those amoung, it’s only a coincident if the customer choose a Danish duck. We are on marketing real bad”, he says. Rose Poultry, who are in charge of packaging and marketing the Danish ducks to the supermarkets, face the facts that the Danish ducks not has the right touch. For the time being the supermarkets are markets foreign ducks under their own names such as –ducks from the noble house, per an example, and then it becomes harder to see the difference between the real Danish and foreign in the coolingareas in the stores. “We try marketing Danish duck as Danish. But we could do better”, says salesmanager Arne Jensen, Rose Poultry.

On Martin Daasbjergs field the 14 weeks old ducks are now ready for the last tour. The next two days the flock will be taken together, catched by hand and transported to the processing plant outside Berlin. Short time after, the consumers can find these in the stores and at the butchers. If any problems occurs with every single product from Daasbjergs farm og the ducks from other farms in Danish Duck, his mobilphone number are to be read on each package. The costumers only have to give a call, but it only seldom that we have complaints, he says.

Ducks are not just ducks.

“Danish countryduck” its often mentioned in the packaging from Danish farmers. In somehow it´s now quite right. The duck are named pekin-duck and are used in a great part of the world. The dayold ducklings are reared by a hatschery based on island Funen, but originally the eggs are from big English duckproducer Cherry Valley. Theres is around in Denmark small flocks of the original Danish land-duck.

The common French duck are the type Moscus or Barbery and are on a whole other sort and origin. Their “tooth” are ending in sharp nail, and with long sharp  nails. Booth parts are cut or burned in conventional production. Science people declare that there are very great problems with the animal welfare in this production. Comparing Pekin and barbery duck gives a moulard. Moulardducks are sterile and are typical used for production of “Foie Gras” where ducks are feeded way ahead as what they wants to the natural way, with the target to grow a big liver.

How to prepare the Danish duck for dinner:

Duckproducer Martin Daasbjerg reare organic ducks and are manager for the unity of Danish Duck. His favorite way of making the duck ready for dinner:

Take the frozen duck into your cooler in the kitchen and have it brought to fresh over a period of 4 to 7 days with 0-5 degrees plus. Preparing the duck start salting the skin of the duck, fill the inner of the duck with “boats” of apple and orange, add a bit of pepper on booths sites. Cook the duck in a Weber grill, use charcoal af good quality. In the grill under the duck place a alu tray, and place the inlets + extra legs therein, add salt and pepper to the goods in the tray. The extra ducklegs become a long time cooking here which makes the legs to the best part of the duck. Cooking period for a duck 2.600 to 3.000 are 3 hours to 3,5 hour. The last 15 minutes give extra heat to the bird to crisp the skin. Take out the inlets and legs from the tray, cool it a bit and split the fat and the fond. Make a splendid sauce of the fond. The fat part are very usable for ather dishes.