Today, our Québec farmers have domesticated this natural phenomenon year-long. After 12 weeks of free-range growing, our ducks are individually hand-fed 2 meals a day for 10 to 11 days. The feed is Québec-grown corn, without hormone or antibiotics allowing us to offer the tastiest and healthiest mulard duck products to high-end restaurants.
Each step of the growing and hand-feeding process is closely supervised. Rougié offers superior products all year long thanks to our attention to details and great concern for the welfare of our ducks. Moderation and fostering a stressless environment are the cornerstones of our process .
With ducks, nothing goes to waste: magrets, legs, fat, hearts, bones... are all delicious ingredients! Our duck are air-chilled for a superior flavour and texture.
UNDERSTANDING THE HAND-FEEDING OF FOIE GRAS
Mulard ducks are predisposed to hand-feeding. The oesophagus and crop sac are expandable in order to store food. Ducks regulate the progressive ingestion of each meal. By observing and feeling the crop sac, the farmer determines the ingestion potential of each duck.
Hand-feeding: a short step in the life cycle of our ducks
During the first ten weeks, our duck have permanent access to nutritious feed and water, to favour optimal growth. The next phase, also known as “pre-gavage”, lasts for two weeks and consists of fixed meal times to help develop the elasticity of the crop sac. Finally, the hand-feeding with a 100% corn diet lasting 10 to 11 days, develops the weight and fat content of the liver, a key factor for high quality foie gras.
Stress levels are fully monitored
Hand-feeding is performed twice a day. Meals are deposited in the crop sac, an expandable pouch connected to the oesophagus, through a soft tube. There is no gagging reflex and no pain or stress when performed by trained farmers: by developing an intimate relationship with each duck, observing and feeling the crop sac, the caretaker determines the optimal meal size for each duck. Each meal lasts 5 seconds.
A fully reversible state
During the hand-feeding stage, livers reach “hepatic steatosis” or “lipidosis”, a reversible and non-pathological condition resulting from the ducks’ ability to store energy. If the hand-feeding process is stopped, the liver will revert to its pre-migratory size by feeding off the liver’s energy.
Healthy ducks for a sustainable future
Quality foie gras comes from healthy ducks. The welfare of our animals is a promise of a sustainable future for our farmers!