Some poultry producers have moved to suspend the sale of ducklings to parties without registered flock numbers in recent days.
It has emerged that some members of the public are purchasing ducklings as part of a TikTok challenge. The DSPCA has urged the public not to purchase ducklings, which are reportedly being offered for sales on the streets of Dublin for as little as €5.
It believes that a trend on the social media platform, where creators post a day in the life of a duckling, is fuelling the practice.
In a social media post, a spokesperson for the society, said: “Ducklings cannot survive in cold water without the oils from their mother’s feathers and can die from hypothermia. They cannot learn to feed and can die.”
“Today was like no other. Astonished and completely unacceptable at the reckless behaviour that went on in the last day or so, involving vulnerable young ducklings.”
“We were inundated all day with calls and emails from very concerned members of the public about young children “buying ducklings” for €5 because of a trend on TikTok.”
“We were taking them into the shelter throughout the day from parents who arrived up with them in shoe boxes and plastic cartons not knowing how to care for them.”
“Many calls that we took the duckling had sadly already died. Please, if your children have bought ducklings, call us, and we will take them into our care. Please also tell your children NOT to buy any ducklings. Our inspectors have been investigating this matter and will continue to do so,” the spokesperson concluded.
Gillian Bird, head of education and media at DSPCA, appeared on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme and revealed that the birds on offer seem to be a mixture of farmyard and wild ducklings.
‘Numerous calls from all over Ireland’
O’Leary’s Poultry, Macroom, is among those who have acted.
In a post on Facebook, it said: “Over the last two days, we have had numerous calls from all over Ireland regarding young people looking for baby ducklings, and we know/presume these are for TikTok videos so will not be selling to anyone without a flock number.”
“We pride ourselves in the care we give all our animals and would hate to see anything mistreated or discarded after the TikTok craze is complete. All animals, including poultry, need proper housing and facilities, and ducklings are not indoor pets.”
Freeway Poultry said: “Due to the recent TikTok craze and the huge animal welfare issue that has arisen, as a result, we have suspended the sale of all ducklings and goslings to the general public since 3:30 pm yesterday,”
“This will not affect our farmers who rely on the ducks as part of their livelihood. This new craze is very concerning as ducklings are social animals and do not do very well on their own.”
“We are aware that there are people throughout the country that have sold and will continue to sell ducklings. If you have purchased ducklings from someone and do not have the facilities to take care of them, please contact your local animal rescue centre or contact us, and we will do our best to put you in contact with the right person.”
“We are being inundated with calls, emails and texts, and it is taking a huge toll on our response times to our regular customers. Please do not turn up at our collection points for ducklings as you will be refused sale.”