This fall, French breeders will mainly force-feed canes, for lack of ducks. An unprecedented technique. What are the consequences for farmers? And what is the difference in the consumers’ plate? Two specialists explain to us.
For lack of anything better, the breeders of the Lot, like everywhere in France, are turning to cans this season. Avian flu has put a damper on the production of ducklings. So farmers don’t really have a choice: this year, they will have to give canes rather than ducks. Almost unheard of. In the Lot, since August 15, there are almost no more male ducks: only 10%. “There are no more male ducks so we try to compensate by force-feeding the female, some producers produced them ten years ago, after a terrible episode of avian flu, but that’s all. a truly exceptional decision which aims above all to turn the tools of the producers and to have liver despite everything for the holidays”, summarizes Gérard Lavinal, the president of the cooperative of Capel. And as much to say that it will be necessary to adapt. Because according to the first force-feedings carried out by the producers of the cooperative, the technique is more “sharp”.
” LThe rods react differently in force-feeding and also in rearing. In breeding, they broadcast more presence and attention, especially since they see less well than the males. In force-feeding, you have to be extremely careful because a cane does not warn, if you overfeed it, in the evening it is dead, it can go very quickly”, explains the president of the cooperative. Poultry adviser at the Lot Chamber of Agriculture , Macarena Sirejol confirms: “The canes are more fragile, they require more time to breed, it’s more demanding.” The force-feeding period remains identical to that of the males: between ten and fourteen days.
Livers of 600 grams max against 700 for males
Another problem: according to Gérard Lavinal, cane does not produce as much meat as duck. “It is a little smaller so the distribution of lean fat is not the same. Superficial veins that cannot be classified and marketed as ‘extra'”, adds the specialist. To put it another way, the liver is of poorer quality and risks ending up in “everything”, that is to say melting, mixed with pâté or terrine. According to the cooperative, the batches are more random in terms of quality. And therefore, the yields are less good. “There will be a significant shortfall for producers even if we have not yet gone far enough to quantify it”, adds Gérard Lavinal. The carcass of the rods, which is smaller, is therefore also sold at a lower price. Finally, no impact according to the manager of the cooperative in terms of taste.
Macarena Sirejol sees the glass half full: “Certainly, the livers produced are less important than those of the males but all the same, we have already been able to reach up to 550 grams or 600 grams of liver, against 700 grams maximum for a duck. Breeders are pleasantly surprised, even reassured. The shortage is so great this year that it’s better than nothing”. The first slaughters are in progress. The preserves could start in a week. Surely the promise of a new adventure for breeders.