Rougié breeds Moulard ducks. We produce the highest quality Foie Gras by domesticating the natural ability of waterfowls to gorge and store energy in their livers before embarking on their long journeys. 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 caretaking of our ducks. Moderation and fostering a stressless environment are the cornerstones of our process. Moulard ducks' oesophagus and crop sac are expandable in order to store food. They regulate the progressive ingestion of each meal. By observing and feeling the crop sac, caretakers determine 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 12 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 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 about 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 its stored energy.
Healthy ducks for a sustainable future
Quality Foie Gras comes from healthy ducks. Our caretaking standards is a promise of a sustainable future for our farmers!
Are the animals hand-fed throughout their life?
No, the hand-feeding period only begins 10 to 12 days from harvest. After 12 weeks of free-range living, they are fully grown and ready to produce foie gras. Ducks are fed twice a day, each meal lasts no more than 5 seconds, which comes to a total of 2 minutes in the life of a duck.
The anatomy of ducks cannot be compared to humans:
Duck anatomy is completely different from that of humans. There is no possible comparison. Humans can only ingest small quantities of food at a time because the human esophagus is hardly expandable. Unlike humans, the duck esophagus not only is flexible, but also has no direct link with the stomach. The duck esophagus is not linked to the trachea: hand-fed ducks cannot suffocate during the process. As the opening of the trachea is located under the tongue, ducks breathe normally during hand-feeding. It is therefore irrelevant to try to picturing the hand-feeding process as applied to humans. Such thinking is commonly known as anthropomorphism.