What is force-feeding and fattening?
Fattening consists in filling in the animal’s crop without reaching the digestive system, which starts at the gizzard and not at the bill. This process lasts only 4 to 6 seconds per animal, with the distribution of a perfectly portioned amount of duck feed. It should be noted that a duck’s neck (oesophagus) can triple in size to swallow captured prey.
This practice is also observed among other birds when fledglings literally swallow up the beak of their parents during feeding.
Is force-feeding painful?
Several in-depth studies have been undertaken.
Research demonstrating the legitimacy of foie gras production has revealed that: “fattened geese and duck livers are reversible, without causing physiological after-effects”
If the animal is injured or falls ill during force-feeding, it is removed and treated, since the fattening process can only be carried out in good conditions.
How long do the force-feeding and fattening periods last?
Fattening represents only 10% of the production cycle. It lasts 2 weeks for ducks (90% of production) and 3 weeks for geese. This feeding process is performed by experienced professionals. The main concern for breeders is keeping the animals in excellent physical condition. Force-feeding occurs in week 12 when the duck weighs around 4 kg.
What is the quantity of food needed for force-feeding and fattening?
The fattening phase lasts 12 days on average for ducks, which helps to maintain them in the best possible condition. Fattening is a gradual process, occurring twice a day (for ducks), with animal feed ranging from 250 g at the start of force-feeding to 450 g per meal, consisting of whole-grain, cracked, raw or cooked maize, high in starch. They are fed every 12 hours. Digestion lasts around 6 to 7 hours, followed by a rest period of 4 to 5 hours before the second daily meal.
What are the 3 foie gras appellations?
They are defined by a decree dated 9 August 1993 : Download (PDF)
” FOIE GRAS ENTIER ” (WHOLE FOIE GRAS) :
« Preparations composed of whole Foie Gras or one or more lobes of foie gras plus seasoning ».
This preparation is composed of the whole Foie Gras (fattened liver) of a duck or goose. It has a uniform colour when sliced.
FOIE GRAS (with no other description) :
« Preparations composed of pieces of Foie Gras lobes which are bound together and seasoned ». This preparation consists of pieces of Foie Gras lobes pieced together, which may be sourced from different animals (either geese or duck). It has a marbled appearance, which is highly sought after in sliced foie gras.
” BLOC DE FOIE GRAS ” (BLOCK OF FOIE GRAS) :
« Preparations composed of reconstituted, seasoned Foie Gras ».
This preparation consists of finely cut, seasoned and emulsified Foie Gras from ducks or geese. When pieces of Foie Gras lobes are included, it becomes “Block of Foie Gras with pieces” and creates a visually appealing slice where all the pieces are visible.